This course will survey major texts in the evolution of African American autobiography. We will read these texts as representative of literary and cultural trends in his history of black American autobiography, as well as for their individual significance. In addition to a careful reading of each primary text, each student will be required
1. to participate substantively in seminar meetings,
2. to lead discussion of one primary text during the semester
3. to write a report on a corresponding text from the secondary list,
4. to become acquainted with the critical literature on this genre, and
5. to write a 20-30 page research term paper.
In addition to these requirements, I will expect each student to meet with me to discuss her or his plans for leading discussion and for reporting on the corresponding text from the secondary list. I will also expect each student to meet with me at least once to discuss her or his plans for the term paper. Each student will also be responsible for distributing a copy of her or his report on the secondary text to all members of the seminar.
11 -- Introduction, Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (1789)
18 -- Jarena Lee, Life and Religious Experience (1836) and Zilpha Elaw, Memoirs (1846)
25 -- Frederick Douglass, Narrative (1845)
01 -- Frederick Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom (1855)
08 -- Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861)
15 -- Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery (1901)
22 -- William Pickens, Bursting Bonds (1923)
01 -- Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)
08 -- Richard Wright, Black Boy (1945)
15 -- Richard Wright, American Hunger (1977)
29 -- Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X
05 -- Piri Thomas, Down These Mean Streets (1967)
12 -- Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969)
19 -- Audre Lorde, Zami (1982)
26 -- John Wideman, Brothers and Keepers (1984)
03 -- Summary
SECONDARY TEXTS FOR ORAL REPORTS:
11 -- No report
18 -- No report
25 -- William Wells Brown, Narrative (1847 or 1848 ed.)
01 -- No report
08 -- Elizabeth Keckley, Behind the Scenes (1868)
15 -- W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903)
22 -- Ida B. Wells, Crusade for Justice (1970)
01 -- Mary Church Terrell, A Colored Woman in a White World (1940) OR Ellen Tarry, The Third Door (1955)
08 -- No report
15 -- Angelo Herndon, Let Me Live (1937)
29 -- Claude Brown, Manchild in the Promised Land (1965)
05 -- No report
12 -- Maya Angelou, Gather Together in My Name (1974)
19 -- Samuel R. Delany, The Motion of Light in Water (1988)
26 -- Mamie Garvin Fields, Lemon Swamp and Other Places (1983)
03 -- No report
Andrews, William L., ed. African American Autobiography (Prentice-Hall, 1993).
---------. Critical Essays on Frederick Douglass (G.K. Hall, 1991).
---------. To Tell a Free Story: The First Century of Afro- American Autobiography, 1760-1865 (U of Illinois P, 1986).
Baker, Houston A. Blues, Ideology, and Afro-American Literature (U of Chicago P, 1984).
Blassingame, John. The Slave Community (Oxford UP, 1972).
Braxton, Joanne M. Black Women Writing Autobiography: Tradition within a Tradition (Temple UP, 1989).
Butterfield, Stephen. Black Autobiography in America (U of Massachusetts P, 1974).
Davis, Charles T. and Henry Louis Gates, eds. The Slave's Narrative (Oxford UP, 1985).
Dudley, David L. My Father's Shadow: Intergenerational Conflict in African American Men's Autobiography (U of Pennsylvania P, 1991).
Fabre, Michel. The Unfinished Quest of Richard Wright (Morrow, 1973).
--------. The World of Richard Wright (U of Mississippi P, 1985).
Foster, Frances Smith. Witnessing Slavery (Wisconsin, 1994).
--------. Written by Herself: Literary Production by African American Women, 1746-1892 (Indiana UP, 1993).
Fredrickson, George M. The Black Image in the White Mind (Harper & Row, 1971).
Gates, Henry Louis. Figures in Black (Oxford UP, 1987).
-----. The Signifying Monkey (Oxford UP, 1988).
Harlan, Louis R. Booker T. Washington. 2 vols. (Oxford UP, 1972, 1983).
Hemenway, Robert. Zora Neale Hurston (U of Illinois P, 1977).
Levine, Lawrence. Black Culture and Black Consciousness (Oxford UP, 1977.
Lionnet, Francoise, Autobiographical Voices: Race, Gender, Self- Portraiture (Cornell UP, 1989).
McDowell, Deborah and Arnold Rampersad, eds. Slavery and the Literary Imagination (Johns Hopkins UP, 1989).
Martin, Waldo. The Mind of Frederick Douglass (U of North Carolina P, 1982).
Meier, August. Negro Thought in America, 1880-1915 (U of Michigan P, 1966).
Olney, James. Autobiography: Essays Theoretical and Critical (Princeton UP, 1980).
Sekora, John and Darwin T. Turner, eds. The Art of Slave Narrative (Essays in Literature, 1982).
Smith, Sidonie. A Poetics of Women's Autobiography (Indiana UP, 1987).
--------. Where I'm Bound (Greenwood, 1974).
Stepto, Robert B. From Behind the Veil: A Study of Afro-American Narrative (U of Illinois P, 1979).
Sterling, Dorothy. We Are Your Sisters (Norton, 1984).
Stone, Albert E. Autobiographical Occasions and Original Acts (U of Pennsylvania P, 1982).
Trotman, C. James, ed. Richard Wright: Myths and Realities (Garland, 1988).
Weintraub, Karl J. The Value of the Individual (U of Chicago P, 1978).
Williamson, Joel. The Crucible of Race (Oxford UP, 1984).
Yellin, Jean Fagan. Women and Sisters (Yale, 1990).
Randy Bass, Director