Seminar: 3.02.143 S Black British Poetry - Details

Seminar: 3.02.143 S Black British Poetry - Details

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General information

Course name Seminar: 3.02.143 S Black British Poetry
Course number 3.02.143
Semester WiSe21/22
Current number of participants 7
expected number of participants 40
Home institute Institute of English and American Studies
Courses type Seminar in category Teaching
Preliminary discussion Friday, 17.12.2021 14:00 - 16:00
First date Friday, 17.12.2021 14:00 - 16:00, Room: (Online via BBB)
Lehrsprache englisch
ECTS points 6

Rooms and times

(Online via BBB)
Friday, 17.12.2021 14:00 - 16:00
Monday, 07.02.2022 - Thursday, 10.02.2022, Monday, 14.02.2022 - Wednesday, 16.02.2022 10:00 - 15:00
Monday, 21.02.2022 10:00 - 12:00

Module assignments


“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
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).

Admission settings

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  • Admission locked.