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Instructor Info:Amy Jordan
Office Extension x5644
Term: 2013S
Meeting Info: Monday Wednesday
04:00 PM - 05:20 PM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 101
04:00 PM - 05:20 PM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 101

The question of how to resist, survive and challenge retaliatory violence directed against African American communities has always been central to the history of African descendents in the U.S. The extent to which the active role of women has been central to this history has been rarely acknowledged. This course will explore the struggles of African American women to defend the integrity of their own bodies; these struggles include the fight against everyday insults embedded in the daily indignities of Jim Crow; the efforts of enslaved women to protect themselves and their children, as well as collective organizing against rape and sexual harassment in the early and mid-twentieth century. One example we will explore is the story of Margaret Garner, the real life, nineteenth century heroine whose story was the inspiration for Toni Morrison's Beloved. We will also explore recent scholarship that centers the fight to protect the integrity of black women's bodies and reshapes how we understand African American social movements. Course materials will include biographies, fiction, interviews and social movement studies.

Course Objectives:

Required Books Available at Amherst Books

Melton A. McLaurin, Celia, A Slave: A True Story. Avon Books.

Crystal Feimster, Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching, Harvard University Press, 2009.

Steven Weisenburger, Modern Medea: A Family Story of Slavery and Child-Murder from the Old South, Hill and Wang, 1998.  

Danielle McGuire, At the Dark End of the Street, Alfred Knopf, 2010.

Recommended: Toni Morrison, Beloved.


Evaluation Criteria:

2 short critical essays

1 primary source presentation

1 final research essay

2 meetings with me re: journal