ENGL 300 - Lecture 21 - African-American Criticism

Lecture 21 - African-American Criticism


In this lecture, Professor Paul Fry examines trends in African-American criticism through the lens of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Toni Morrison. A brief history of African-American literature and criticism is undertaken, and the relationship of both to feminist theory is explicated. The problems in cultural and identity studies of essentialism, "the identity queue," expropriation, and biology are surveyed, with particular attention paid to the work of Michael Cooke and Morrison's reading of Huckleberry Finn. At the lecture's conclusion, the tense relationship between African-American studies and New Critical assumptions are explored with reference to Robert Penn Warren's poem, "Pondy Woods."


Gates, Jr., Henry Louis. "Writing, 'Race,' and the Difference It Makes." In The Critical Tradition, pp. 1891-1902

Morrison, Toni. "Playing in the Dark." In The Critical Tradition, pp. 1791-1800

Course Media





Low Bandwidth Video

mov [100MB]

High Bandwidth Video

mov [500MB]