The African Atlantic (AFRICAAM 148, AFRICAST 145B, COMPLIT 145B, COMPLIT 345B, CSRE 145B, FRENCH 345B)
This course explores the central place Africa holds in prose writing emerging during early and modern periods of globalization across the Atlantic, including the middle passage, exploration and colonialism, black internationalism, decolonization, immigration, and diasporic return. We will begin with Equiano's Interesting Narrative (1789), a touchstone for the Atlantic prose tradition, and study how writers crossing the Atlantic have continued to depict Africa in later centuries: to dramatize scenes of departure and arrival in stories of self-making or new citizenship, to evoke histories of racial unity or examine psychic and social fragmentation, to imagine new national communities or question their norms and borders. Our readings will be selected from English, French, Portuguese and Spanish-language traditions. And we will pay close attention to genres of prose fiction (Conrad, Condé, Olinto), epic and prose poetry (Césaire, Walcott), theoretical reflection (Gilroy, Glissant, Mudimbe, Benitez-Rojo), and literary autobiography (Barack Obama, Saidiya Hartman). Note: To be eligible for WAYS credit, you must take COMPLIT 145B for a minimum of 3 Units and a Letter Grade.