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Graduate Topics in African American Studies (480-0-20)


Harlem Renaissance


Tracy L Vaughn
1860 Campus Dr Crowe 5-103

Meeting Info

Crowe 5-138 Af Am Studies Sem: Wed 2:00PM - 4:50PM

Overview of class

The end of World War I ushered in an era where many artists and intelligentsia were attempting to emancipate and destroy the ideologies of Victorianism and view their society with the stark and brutal truth. While the United States was attempting to liberate itself from the dominance of European culture during the 1920s, African Americans were also attempting to culturally define themselves. The failure of the Reconstruction coupled with the guise of limitless Northern opportunity and equality, sparked the movement known as the Great Migration--where hundreds of thousands of Southern African Americans relocated to the major cities of the North. In fact, much of New York's cultural dominance in the 1920s was directly linked to Harlem being the chief mecca to the multitudes of emigrating Southern African Americans. Harlem did not become the "Harlem" that we currently recognize it to be until the 1920s when it became the African American metropolis.

This seminar will be an intensive, multi-genre study of the literature, music and visual art produced during the Harlem Renaissance—from 1917 to 1934. We will also explore the philosophical and cultural critiques offered by the African American intelligentsia of the period. This course will introduce all of the major male figures of the Harlem Renaissance; DuBois, Locke, Johnson, Garvey, Hughes, Cullen, McKay, Toomer, Schuyler, Fisher and others. However, this seminar will also focus on the rich tradition of artistic production left by the women of the Harlem Renaissance; Hurston, Larsen, Fauset, and other lesser known, obscure female writers, poets and artists.