Harlem Renaissance

Lafayette Theatre in Harlem

Course Description

Professors: Bryan Wagner and Christine Palmer

This course will explore the social, cultural, political, and personal awakenings in the culture of the Harlem Renaissance. Roughly between 1918-1930, in the midst of racial segregation and increasing anti-Black violence, Black American writers reclaimed the right to represent themselves in a wide range of artistic forms and activist movements. We’ll consider how artists like Langston Hughes, Nella Larsen, Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong engaged questions such as: who were, and are Black Americans? What’s distinctive about Black art? And could art be used to uplift the conditions of a people, or would it turn into mere propaganda in the process?

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Monthly Readings

All readings at 6 p.m.

2/22 — Jean Toomer’s Cane

3/29 — Langston Hughes’s Poetry

4/19 — Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God