Universität Wien FIND

135051 PS PS Social history of literature: Slave Narratives (2019W)

Continuous assessment of course work

Moodle; Th 24.10. 16:15-17:45 Hörsaal 1 Sensengasse 3a 1.OG

Registration/Deregistration

Details

max. 35 participants
Language: German, English

Lecturers

Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Thursday 03.10. 16:15 - 17:45 Hörsaal 1 Sensengasse 3a 1.OG
Thursday 10.10. 16:15 - 17:45 Hörsaal 1 Sensengasse 3a 1.OG
Thursday 17.10. 16:15 - 17:45 Hörsaal 1 Sensengasse 3a 1.OG
Thursday 31.10. 16:15 - 17:45 Hörsaal 1 Sensengasse 3a 1.OG
Thursday 07.11. 16:15 - 17:45 Hörsaal 1 Sensengasse 3a 1.OG
Thursday 14.11. 16:15 - 17:45 Hörsaal 1 Sensengasse 3a 1.OG
Thursday 21.11. 16:15 - 17:45 Hörsaal 1 Sensengasse 3a 1.OG
Thursday 28.11. 16:15 - 17:45 Hörsaal 1 Sensengasse 3a 1.OG
Thursday 05.12. 16:15 - 17:45 Hörsaal 1 Sensengasse 3a 1.OG
Thursday 12.12. 16:15 - 17:45 Hörsaal 1 Sensengasse 3a 1.OG
Thursday 09.01. 16:15 - 17:45 Hörsaal 1 Sensengasse 3a 1.OG
Thursday 16.01. 16:15 - 17:45 Hörsaal 1 Sensengasse 3a 1.OG
Thursday 23.01. 16:15 - 17:45 Hörsaal 1 Sensengasse 3a 1.OG
Thursday 30.01. 16:15 - 17:45 Hörsaal 1 Sensengasse 3a 1.OG

Information

Aims, contents and method of the course

Slave Narratives provide a unique insight into the lives and experiences of slaves. Dating back to the first half of the 18th century, the genre emerged alongside the transatlantic slave trade, and between 1760-1865 approximately one hundred slave narratives were published in the United States.
Although abolitionist novels like Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) by Harriet Beecher Stowe have reached immense popularity, the Slave Narrative appears to be a neglected genre.
Slave Narratives are usually defined as a sub-genre of the autobiographical novel, and they tend are characterized by a chronological plot development – from bondage to freedom, and other literary conventions.
The texts’ literary value are often determined by how ´true` the narratives were, which inevitably points toward a problem, namely, fact vs. fiction. The question arises, to which extent did genre conventions, the socio-political situation, and the intended audience influence authors? How authentic can a narrative be when the writer is not free to speak their mind because of their ethnicity, class, and gender?
The interest in female Slave Narratives only began during the 20th century. For example, Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” (2018) was published ninety years after it was originally written.
During the second half of the 20th century African American writers started to reflect on the persistent curse of slavery, as well as on the thin line between fact and fiction, concurrently, without the obligation of having to please a white audience. For example, in 1987 the noble prizewinner Toni Morrison published the Neo-Slave Narrative Beloved, and in 2016 Colson Whiteheads published The Underground Railroad.
Since approximately 27 million people today are still living under slave-like conditions in so-called third world countries, but also in the USA, and even among us in Vienna, it is problematic to speak of slavery as a thing of the past. In fact, a contemporary Slave Narrative of sorts is flourishing in the 21st century.
Within this seminar we will investigate the Slave Narrative as a genre from its origins to the present.

Assessment and permitted materials

• Active in-class participation (including weekly preparation of texts that will be available through Moodle or a reader).
• Teaching a session on one Slave Narrative in a small group with other students (the texts will be distributed during our first session). Importantly, this does not mean giving a frontal talk, but rather entails preparing questions to discuss in an interactive manner with your colleagues in smaller groups.
• Toward the end of the semester each student will hand in an outline of their final essay where they state their topic, (may be another than from their prepared session) methods, and bibliography.
• At the end of the semester each student will hand in a final essay.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

To successfully absolve the course, participants need to be physically present on a regular basis as well as actively participating in class discussions.
There will be weekly readings (these will be made available on Moodle) that students need to read and prepare before discussed in class.
Many of the texts are written in English, and the seminar will also largely be taught in English. Therefore, students should feel comfortable speaking and reading in English if they wish to participate in this course.
The final grade is made up by the following four components: Active in-class participation (15%), teaching a session in a group (20%), written outline of the final essay (15%), final essay (10-15 pages) (50%).

Examination topics

The in-class readings constitute the material for this seminar. The theoretical texts that will be discussed during the first sessions will be obligatory for everyone to read. Excerpts of the primary texts will be made available for everyone to read, and at least one primary text shall be read in its entirety.

Reading list

Primary literature (selection – will be updated continuously):
Hurston, Zora Neale: Barracoon: The Story of the Last ‚Black Cargo’ (2018)
Jacobs, Harriet A.: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861)
Kreutzer, Mary/Milborn, Corinna: Ware Frau: auf den Spuren moderner Sklaverei von Afrika nach Europa (2008)
Morrison, Toni: Beloved (1987)
Northup, Solomon: Twelve Years a Slave (1853)
Prince, Mary: The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave (1831)
Sage, Jesse/Kasten, Liora (Hg.): Enslaved: True Stories of Modern Day Slavery (2006)
Whitehead, Colson: The Underground Railroad (2016)

Secondary literature (selection):
Drake, Kimberly: “On the Slave Narrative.“ In: Dieselbe (Hg.): The Slave Narrative. Ipswich, MA/Amenia, NY: Salem and Grey House 2014, S. xvi–xxxi.
Thomas, Helen: “The Slave Narrative.” In: Julia Straub (Hg.): Handbook of Transatlantic North American Studies. 3. Bd. Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter 2016, S. 373–390.

Association in the course directory

BA M5

Last modified: Su 22.09.2019 15:07