What role do writers play in a social movement? How does literature today respond to systemic racism and rampant xenophobia; travel bans and deportation sweeps; police brutality and mass incarceration? Can a poem, a novel, or an essay make a difference? This course will tackle these questions by pairing contemporary literature, music, film, and television with works by earlier writers who used literature to speak out, fight back, and bear witness.
The pairings we will analyze and discuss include:
James Baldwin and Ta-Nehisi Coates
Audre Lorde and Toni Morrison
Frederick Douglass and Colson Whitehead
Gloria Anzaldúa and Valeria Luiselli
José Martí and Lin Manuel-Miranda
Nina Simone and Solange Knowles
Marvin Gaye and D’Angelo
W.E.B. DuBois’s The Souls of Black Folk and Jordan Peele’s Get Out
Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and Sam Esmail’s Mr. Robot