This course studies how twentieth century reconstructions of slavery in American literature and film engage contemporary anxieties regarding race, gender, sexuality, and national identity. These neo-slave narratives often critique modernity; challenge how we think about history, evidence, memory, and trauma; and trouble narrative conventions.
ENGL 398: Slavery in 20th Century Fiction and Film
Instructor: Nicole Waligora-Davis
This course satisfies the requirement (Critical Race, Postcolonial and Gender studies) for English majors (formerly the "noncanonical" requirement)
English Department Areas of Specialization:
Culture & Social Change
Visual & Comparative Media
This course explores twentieth century preoccupations and reconstructions of slavery, examining the ways slavery continues to define and impact sexuality, racial identities and their popular representations, our sense of public and private spaces, legal discourse, and our national identity. What does it mean to be a black or white man or woman in America? Who do law, history, and society concede as legitimate witness? How should we craft our histories? Who is a subject of, and who is subjected to law? How are privacy interests diffused against social interests: what is a (black) woman's reproductive rights? How do desires materialize and how are they materially denied? Our readings will place in close proximity historical writings on slavery (slave history and slave narratives) and these 20th century revisionist slave stories, examining the works of Frederick Douglass, Toni Morrison, William Faulkner, Octavia Butler, Shirley Anne Williams alongside such films as Birth of a Nation, Gone with the Wind, Amistad, Roots, and Middle Passage.
This course satisfies the CRPG requirement (Critical Race, Postcolonial and Gender studies) for English majors (formerly the "noncanonical" requirement)