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ENGLISH 113A: African American Ecologies (AFRICAAM 113A)

African American perspectives on the environment have long been suppressed in mainstream ecological discourse, despite the importance of questions of land, labor, and resource to the historical and ongoing experiences of Black people in the United States. Against this exclusion, this course takes up African American literature as a unique site of ecological knowledge and environmental thought. Drawing on texts, art, music, and film from the late nineteenth century to the present, this course considers planetary problems of ecological catastrophe and climatic change in relation to the everyday structures of U.S.-American racial politics. Through close analyses of texts and films set on plantations and steamships, in gardens and coal mines, students will explore the environmental dimensions of African American literature, and gain a deeper understanding of the real-world histories with which these works engage. Texts will include novels by Zora Neale Hurston, Percival Everett, and Toni M more »
African American perspectives on the environment have long been suppressed in mainstream ecological discourse, despite the importance of questions of land, labor, and resource to the historical and ongoing experiences of Black people in the United States. Against this exclusion, this course takes up African American literature as a unique site of ecological knowledge and environmental thought. Drawing on texts, art, music, and film from the late nineteenth century to the present, this course considers planetary problems of ecological catastrophe and climatic change in relation to the everyday structures of U.S.-American racial politics. Through close analyses of texts and films set on plantations and steamships, in gardens and coal mines, students will explore the environmental dimensions of African American literature, and gain a deeper understanding of the real-world histories with which these works engage. Texts will include novels by Zora Neale Hurston, Percival Everett, and Toni Morrison, short stories and essays by Charles Chesnutt, Jamaica Kincaid, Katherine McKittrick, and adrienne marie brown, and films and multimedia works by Julie Dash, Stephanie Dinkins, and Jordan Peele. Important topics will include the ecology of the plantation, black feminist ecological thought, and the significance of water in African American life and culture.
Terms: Spr | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-EDP, WAY-A-II
Instructors: Gordon, W. (PI)
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