Upcoming Courses: Spring 2018

English 41899/7189: African Diaspora Women Writers

This course examines a selection of writing by three of the African Diaspora’s most celebrated contemporary women writers, Zadie Smith, Chimamanda Adichie, and Helen Oyeyemi. Though there are significant differences in their aesthetic approaches and political preoccupations, all three authors’ body of work present a rich context for exploring the contemporary parameters of African Diaspora women’s writing. This course is both diversity intensive and writing intensive and thus centers the literature and experiences of an underrepresented group — non-American black women — in a manner that cultivates students’ written ability to communicate effectively about and with communities of varied backgrounds, cultures, and points of view. To this end, it conducts a concentrated analysis on international writing by black women. We will focus on these writers not only to learn about the unique features of their writing, but also to familiarize ourselves with contemporary African Diaspora women’s writing and the critical conversations that surround it more generally. Our inquiry will take the form of a keyword approach designed to equip students with the concepts and terms that are central to critical discourses on African Diaspora women’s writing, and black writing more generally, including race, gender, identity, citizenship, and immigration. In this way, we will consider questions about the discourses with which African Diasporia women’s writing communicates, the aesthetic features of African Diaspora writing that Adichie, Smith. and Oyeyemi engage, the ideas about race, gender, culture, immigration, and citizenship communicated by these features, how does the writing work to communicate these ideas, and in what ways does this writing address the realities of our present. Throughout the course of the semester, discussion, writing, and revision will be the course’s primary tools in conducting this critical inquiry.

English 8110: The Contemporary Global Novel

This seminar explores contemporary global Anglophone fiction, as it is mediated and shaped by the related forces of capital and prestige such as literary prizes, creative writing programs, and academic canonization. The novels selected are ones that have won or are/were finalists for major literary prizes such as the Man Booker, the Pulitzer, and the National Book Award. Examining these texts with an eye for what distinguishes them from national or postcolonial literature, we will consider the relations at play in the disciplinary turn towards the global rather than the national, or even the postcolonial novel. Alongside novels, we will also read critical writing on  literary prestige, neoliberalism, the contemporary, and the postcolonial in order to theorize the Anglophone novel’s relationship to the present’s dynamics of social, economic, and political life.

Past Courses


 “The Contemporary Global Novel”

 “New Black Iconoclasm”

 “Gender and Sexuality in Caribbean Literature and Literary Theory”

“Contemporary Caribbean Literature and Literary Theory” 


“Reading Literature” (Large lecture)

“The Contemporary Caribbean Novel”

“The Neo-slave Narrative” (Capstone Experience)

“African Diaspora Women Writers” (Writing Intensive)

“Major Authors: Derek Walcott and Sir V.S. Naipaul”

“Major Authors: Edwidge Danticat and Junot Díaz” (Writing Intensive)

“The Caribbean Novel” (Writing Intensive)

“Caribbean Literature”

“Contemporary World Literature” (Writing Intensive)

“Caribbean Literature and Popular Culture”

“Consuming the Caribbean”

“Contemporary Literature and Catastrophe”

“Introduction to African Diaspora Literature”    

“Caribbean Masculinity”