ENG 181: Literature and the Civil Rights Movement
Tuesdays & Thursdays 4:00-5:15pm
Callaway Center N204
Fifty years ago, the American Civil Rights Movement reached one its high water marks with the 1963 March on Washington and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. While we often reference such momentous occasions in our contemporary political discourse, only rarely do we acknowledge the fact that our knowledge of such transformative American events have not come from the laws in which such changes were codified but rather from the stories told about that tumultuous historical period and the multiplicity of cultural texts produced in it. However, in this intensive first-year writing course we will re-examine the Civil Rights Movement with particular attention to such stories and texts, making use of the techniques of literary and cultural studies as we hone our critical writing and reading skills by analyzing stories about the Movement and eventually crafting some of our own. Over the course of the semester you can expect to read a wide variety of texts in a wide range of genres and modes, ranging from oral history, speeches, and poetry from the 1960s to films, graphic novels and short stories written as recently as this past year. Similarly, you can expect to compose texts in a variety of different genres and modes over the course of the semester, ranging from traditional literary analysis to visual presentation and a creative composition based on original archival research.
Baldwin, James. Blues for Mister Charlie: a Play. New York: Vintage, 1995.
Branch, Taylor. The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013.
Lewis, John, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. March, Book One. USA: Top Shelf, 2013.
All other readings will be provided electronically via our course site.