New Summer Course – Harlem Renaissance Remembered: Autobiographies of Women of Color

Professor Johnathan Gross will be teaching a new summer course called The Harlem Renaissance Remembered: Autobiographies of Women of Color.  The class, LSP 200, will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays, 4-5:30; July 21-August 18; Summer Session C. Check out the course description below:

“This course explores the intersection between music, performance, and literature in the Harlem Renaissance, with a slight emphasis on the contributions of women artists. We will begin with Bessie Smith and Ethel Waters, viewing an original film that presents the lives of these two important artists. Waters’ autobiography, Eye on the Sparrow, documents her life as a performer who grew up in Philadelphia and appeared as an actress in Cabin in the Sky, Member of the Wedding, and Pinky. She was influenced by the blues singer, Bessie Smith, but added a more sophisticated urban style to her performances, working with the Duke Ellington orchestra at the Cotton Club on such numbers as “Stormy Weather.” We will read Nella Larsen’s Quicksand (in the Norton Anthology), which explores varying attitudes towards women in Denmark and Harlem, touching upon different modes of fetishizing eroticism, exoticism, and racial difference in Europe and the United States (themes highlighted in Elia Kazan’s “Pinky”). We will also read poetry by Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, and Countee Cullen, writers who had different visions about what subjects African-American authors should address and in what manner they should do so. Hughes’ essay in literary criticism, “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” sets forth the terms in which he felt the Harlem Renaissance is best remembered.”

Summer course

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