“In this competition dey was looking for poetry of worth for a writin that could wrap up a feelin an fling it back hard with a captive power to choke de stars so dey say, ‘Send them to us but NO DIALECTS PLEASE We’re British!’”
Merle Collins’ 1987 poem “No Dialects Please” perfectly captures the fraught position of Black British poetry within the larger literary landscape of the UK. On the one hand, since the late 1940s, authors of African and Afro-Caribbean descent have become an increasingly important presence on the British literary scene. On the other hand, Black British literature (and poetry in particular) has long been treated as a marginal tangent of English literature by the gatekeepers of British culture and language, and its creative use of English has been mocked as a “dialect”, as Collins aptly points out. The history of Black British literature is thus tied up with the history of race relations in the UK, and the way Black British writers use, adapt, and appropriate English in their poetry is inherently political.
The seminar will look at poems by African and Afro-Carribean British writers from the late 1940s till today in their historical contexts – from the early days of the “Generation Windrush” through the racial tensions of the 1980s to the official embrace of a “multicultural Britain” in the new millennium. We will explore the interplay of language, culture, and identity, and we will also look at the importance of live performances for many Black British poets. Authors discussed will include John Agard, Patience Agbabi, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Jackie Kay, Grace Nichols, and Benjamin Zephaniah.
The seminar will be held via online via BBB between 7 and 18 February, 2022 - precise schedule t.b.a.. A first online meeting to discuss organizational issues will take place on 17 December, 2 pm. My goal is to foster a productive discussion in which all students feel welcome to contribute. Please make sure that you have the technical setup necessary to join the discussion (i.e. a reasonably stable internet connection, audio and video capabilities).
The course is part of admission "ang612-615 Aufbau Lit/Cult".
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Enrolment is allowed for up to 1 courses of the admission set.
The enrolment is possible from 27.09.2021, 06:00 to 31.12.2021, 23:59.
This setting is active from 27.09.2021 06:00 to 31.12.2021 23:59. At least one of these conditions must be fulfilled for enrolment:
Subject is Anglistik
Subject is Englisch
Subject is English Studies
Degree is Erw.fach Gymnasium
Degree is Anpassungslehrgang
A defined number of seats will be assigned to these courses.
The seats in the affected courses have been assigned at 01.10.2021 on 08:00. Additional seats may be available via a wait list.