Werner Sollors - Harvard University (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Teaching Fellow - Maggie Gramm (email@example.com)
Class time: M/W 10-12:30 + discussion section
This course examines a wide variety of literary texts on black-white couples, interracial families, and biracial identity, from classical antiquity to the present. Works studied include romances, novellas, plays, novels, short stories, poems, and non-fiction, as well as some films and examples from the visual arts. Topics for discussion range from interracial genealogies to racial "passing," from representations of racial difference to alternative plot resolutions, and from religious and political to legal and scientific contexts for the changing understanding of "race." Focus is on the European tradition and the Harlem Renaissance.
Note: This course, when taken for a letter grade, fulfills the Harvard Core requirement for Literature and Arts A, meets the General Education requirement for “Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding,” and satisfies the “Study of the Past” requirement in General Education.
- An Anthology of Interracial Literature ed. Werner Sollors (NYU Press)
- Othello (Arden ed. preferred—but any edition is accepted)
- Jean Toomer, Cane (any edition)
- William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom! (any edition)
Xeroxed texts (Course Package):
Excerpts from Aristotle, Pliny, Heliodorus, and the Bible
"The Man from Yemen and His Six Slave Girls" (from Arabian Nights) Etymology of "race" and overview of intermarriage bans
Petrarca, "Gli occhi di ch'io parlai si caldamente"
"On a Black Gentlewoman"
Henry King, "A Blackmoor Maid wooing a fair Boy; sent to the author by Mr. Hen. Rainolds" and "The Boyes answer to the Blackmoor"
Tristan l'Hermite, "La Belle Esclave More"
Victor Séjour. "The Mulatto"
Excerpts from Jean Toomer
- Interracialism: Black-White Intermarriage in American History, Literature, and Law, ed. Werner Sollors (Oxford UP, 2000)
- Garth Williams, The Rabbits’ Wedding (any edition)
- Alexandre Dumas, Georges (novel, 1843, Engl. transl. Tina Kover, Modern Library, paperback ed. 2008—or a French edition or Italian translation
- George Schuyler, Black No More (any edition)
Class participation 25%, three papers 45%, midterm 15%, final presentation 15%
Active participation in course, three papers (of 6 - 8pp. each, the last of which may be creative in nature and on a free topic), a poetic imitation (ungraded), midterm, and in-class presentation.
June 24: Excursion 1: Visit to the Marciana Library to view early editions of Masuccio and Cinzio, the first Italian translation of Othello, and the world map of Fra Mauro (Accademia; Ca’ Rezzonico; Frari) [Details to be arranged]
July 1: Excursion 2: Africans and Moors in Venetian art (Accademia; Ca’ Rezzonico; Frari) [Details to be arranged]
Office location, contact information, tutorial time:
Prof. Sollors: Mondays after class and by appointment
Maggie Gram: Tuesdays 4-5pm and by appointment (Ca' Bembo)