WiSe 16/17: Post-Bellum, Pre-Harlem”: The Literature of the Nadir (1877-1915)
The Post-Reconstruction period, famously termed the “Nadir of Race Relations” by African-American historian Rayford Logan, spans the era from the end of Reconstruction in the 1870s to the early years ... read more
The Post-Reconstruction period, famously termed the “Nadir of Race Relations” by African-American historian Rayford Logan, spans the era from the end of Reconstruction in the 1870s to the early years of the twentieth century. This period was characterized by a severe backlash against the newly-freed African-American population through the institutionalized racism of the “Jim Crow” laws and a significant rise in lynchings in the South of the United States. For writers of color at the time, this climate of repression led to a decidedly political agenda for their literary work. The battle for equality, political enfranchisement and against the ubiquitous racism they experienced, informed their writing significantly. It is the aim of this BA seminar to familiarize students with the literary responses of African-American authors to the pervasive racism and repression they experienced in their everyday lives. We will critically examine texts from the era, both literary and non-fictional, contextualize them historically and unearth the various narrative strategies employed by their authors in their quest to achieve political impact and influence within the African-American community and beyond.
This course will be taught as a partial “Blockseminar”: We will at first meet weekly and then add one or two longer block sessions, depending on students’ preferences and schedules. The class will thus end with the beginning of the winter break.