This course broadly looks at the Harlem Renaissance, the black cultural movement on the 1920s, as an essential component in the study of the culture and experience of African Americans in the United States. Students are introduced to the historical background of the Harlem Renaissance; the defining anthology of the movement, The New Negro; and the art, literature, and classic blues of the period. HONR248T focuses on such women and men as Jessie Fauset, Alain Locke, W.E.B. DuBois, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Angelina Weld Grimké, Meta Warrick Fuller, Aaron Douglas, Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, and Bessie Smith. We will explore the tensions between the elite and “high” art aspirations of its organizers and the reality of black existence during the period through the form of the “low” art of classic blues. Some questions we will consider: What is the meaning of “renaissance”? How do race, gender and sexual dynamics shape our understanding of the movement? By what standards can we measure the “success” of the Harlem Renaissance?
Teaching is in the form of lectures accompanied by PowerPoint presentations and class discussions. Class discussions take the form of large group discussions, small group break-out sections, and one-to‐one peer interactions. The class also involves in-class writing assignments to engage students’ critical thinking and analysis skills. We will also view videos as deemed appropriate.