This class focuses on African American young adult fiction written by African American authors. Sharing the common trope of the search for identity of young adult literature in general, young adult fiction for and about African American teens specifically illuminates questions of racial and ethnic diversity and hybridity within constructions of (national and black diasporic) identity. We will examine the identity constructions of young black male, female, and queer black protagonists offered by three award-winning young adult novels that also tackle a host of issues such as the criminalization of young black males, police violence, systemic racism, classism, disability, or mental illness. The study of different theoretical perspectives regarding race, representation, childhood/adolescence, and young adult literature will foster our critical analysis of the heterogeneous constructions of young black and white adults as well as the interrogation of our own presumptions about what it means to be young and black in a globalized America today.
Please note: This course takes place online and we won’t be meeting every week. You will find the schedule that marks online sessions and study weeks in the course syllabus that will be made available at the beginning of the semester. Please purchase and read the following primary texts:
- Walter Dean Myers, Monster. 1999. New York: HarperCollins, 2019. Twentieth Anniversary Edition: https://www.harpercollins.com/products/monster-walter-dean-myers?variant=32117216149538.
- Angie Thomas. The Hate U Give. 2017. London: Walker Books, 2018. https://angiethomas.com/the-hate-u-give/.
[the paperback version]
- Brandy Colbert. Little & Lyon. 2015. New York and Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 2018. https://www.littlebrown.co.uk/titles/brandy-colbert/little-lion/9780316349017/.