2017-2018 Catalog

ENGL 142 Joyful Noise! On Black Literature and Musicality

Students will join scholars like Emily Lordi, Shana Redmond, and Brent Edwards, who look at how the literary and musical mutually inform one another in the Black Diaspora, how gender tensions can enrich literary and musical creation, how these creative influences often trespass (or help to change) national boundaries. In this course, blackness is not simply an identity on the census, but a site of contingency, translation, and formal experimentation. This course will look at several literary genres, including short fiction, poetry, novels, and political essays, as well as musical genres, including jazz, gospel, opera, labor movement anthems, and hip-hop. The syllabus will pair works of literature and music in relation to relevant scholarship. Readings will include (but are not limited to) W.E.B. Du Bois' international political essays and their direct references to Wagner; Mahalia Jackson and the writings of Martin Luther King; Richard Wright and Bessie Smith; Kendrick Lamar and the pre- and post-prison writings of Nelson Mandela; and other fascinating encounters between literature and music in Black America and the Black Diaspora.


4 units

Core Requirements Met

  • United States Diversity