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New Undergraduate Course Supplement 2022

WGSS 66.27 Disability and Madness in African American Literature and Film

Disability and madness are often overlooked analytic and lived experience in African American Studies and African American criticism, though recent work in Black disability studies is shifting this. The goal of this course is to pull disability and madness to the center of course readings to understand the complexities of Black life, such as: grief, sexuality and gender identity, geography, and the impact of incarceration and institutionalization. Students will be asked to approach canonical texts (Passing, Beloved, The Color Purple) and less familar texts (A Visitation of Spirits) for messier re-readings, unraveling(s) and ravings that complicate Black life. Likewise, we will watch film adapations that also represent disability and madness on screen (Passing, Beloved, Native Son). Because disability and madness are recurrently represented visually, as is race, this course will trace representation from the page to the screen as part of a deeper understanding of how disability and race become co-constituted in American culture. Lastly, we will ask, again and again: what does disability and madness look like in literature? What images, language, etc., are used to represent disability and madness as it intersects with Blackness? And finally, what things are made possible through a disabled and mad lens? How are freedom, injury (and healing), and salvation better imagined through disability and madness? 

Degree Requirement Attributes

Dist:LIT; WCult:W

The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.