Black (and Brown) Lit Matters: Voices in Contemporary African American and Hispanic (Latino) Literature
This course aspires to meet the challenge presented to us at this pivotal American moment. The outpouring of literature created by the current generation of African American and Hispanic writers is artful, powerful, and provocative. At its best, literature deepens our appreciation of the human condition. It can dignify and universalize the internal and systemic marginalization of The Other. With the backdrop of America coming to grips in this time of reckoning, an eclectic array of African American and Latino writers are bearing witness. If we listen carefully, we can hear these voices resonate as they force us out of our comfort zones and broaden our scope. When we survey the sweep of African American literature, we immediately recognize distinguished names such as James Baldwin, August Wilson, and Maya Angelou. The late magnificent Toni Morrison has served as a guiding light for the current crop of prominent African American writers such as Ta-Nehisi Coates, James McBride, Colson Whitehead, and Zadie Smith. Hispanic literature has also flourished as it comes into the mainstream. A generation ago, Magical Realism was reimagined by a new wave of Hispanic American writers such as Isabel Allende, Sandra Cisneros, and Julia Alvarez. Most have chronicled the multi-cultural immigrant struggle to assimilate while maintaining the integrity of their native cultures. In the 21 st Century, the Hispanic diaspora has produced the likes of Luis Alberto Urrea, Junot Diaz, and, of course, Lin Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame. In this course, I hope to feature a wide sampling of influential Black and Hispanic writers. Select short stories, novels, some drama and poetry –all supplemented by a stream of visual images and film clips—should be stimulating for all who cherish diversity in literature.
Winding down a 35 year career at USF, Alan Goldberg has concentrated on the multi-cultural variants of Rhetoric in American Literature. He was educated at the Univ. of Chicago, the Univ. of Hawai’i, and SFSU. He was mentored by Nobel Laureate Saul Bellow at Chicago and Irving Halperin (late of the Fromm Institute) at SFSU. A scholar in Jewish American literature with special emphasis on the works of Bellow, Malamud, Roth, and Doctorow, he is presently exploring the current generation of prominent Jewish American writers. He is championing the legacy of the late Philip Roth in response to recent revisionist critiques. As a lifelong devotee of baseball, he is also researching sports in American literature. He and his Nicaraguan-American wife, Indiana Quadra-Goldberg, a retired CCSF Ethnic Studies professor with an emphasis on Latina/o literature, share a deep appreciation of African American and Hispanic American literature.