Controversy: Race and Sexuality on the American Frontier (FRO 100.023)

Controversy: Race and Sexuality on the American Frontier (FRO 100.023)

Goucher College, Baltimore, Maryland

Angelo Robinson, Associate Professor of English

“Am I Black or White? Am I Straight or Gay? CONTROVERSY?”  Since its founding, and long before recording artist Prince penned these lyrics in the 1980s, America has been a space and a place demanding and mandating polarized definitions of race and sexuality. This course will examine the reasoning behind and ramifications of these dichotomies from the Colonial Period to the present in genres that include literature, film, and music.  We will also explore how these binaries affect people who identify as biracial and bisexual.

This discussion-based course requires intensive reading, viewing, and listening and will foster your critical thinking and analytical writing.  Topics of discussion will include the “one-drop rule,” the slavery debate, miscegenation, racial passing, segregation, integration, interracial desire, and sexual passing.  Special attention will be given to individuals who and organizations that refuse to follow racial and sexual dictates. Authors will include Thomas Jefferson, Harriet Jacobs, Mark Twain, Nella LarsenJames Weldon Johnson, Ralph Ellison, June Jordan, James Baldwin, Audre LordeStevie Wonder, Prince, Adrienne Rich, E. Lynn Harris, and Barack Obama.

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