Course code:



MA - Intermediate/Advanced

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • HS - Human Studies

Typically offered:

Every other year

This intermediate/advanced literature course allows students to explore the rich world of modern and contemporary black writers. The texts will include those from the US and beyond, in an attempt to sample the wide range of fabulous prose authors (primarily novelists and essayists) that speak from and about the experiences of a significant segment of the world’s population. Similarities and differences between prose styles and narrative focus will allow us to probe aesthetic and linguistic as well as cultural and historical phenomena and contexts. While the emphasis will be on works written since 2000, we will begin the term by reading a few 20th century authors who paved the way for the artistry which was to follow — choosing among writers such as Ann Petry, Gwendolyn Brooks, Octavia Butler and James Baldwin from the US and Chinua Achebe, Bessie Head, and Ama Ata Aidoo from the African continent. Earlier selections will set us up with questions about the fiction and prose literary articulation coming from both post-slavery and post-colonial contexts. The remainder of the term we will read 21st century works by authors such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi, Colson Whitehead, Ta-nehisi Coates, Yaa Gyasi, Zadie Smith, Jessmyn Ward, and Nnedi Okorafor. Students will be evaluated on class participation, shared discussion leading responsibilities, and written work. Each student will choose one of three options for written work: four 2-3 page critical analyses; two 5-7 page studies of a particular work or theme; or a 12-15 page extended analysis of one or two works or authors.


A previous literature, history, or post-colonial course and permission of instructor.

Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.