MA Seminar: The Color of Modernism

M.A. Seminar / Liz Seminar: The Color of Modernism

Prof. Elisabeth Bronfen, Thursday 16-20 Uhr



(1.) Feb 25. Introduction


(2.) Mar 4. Blackface

-- Michael Rogin, Blackface, White Noise, chap. 1-3

-- The Jazz Singer, Josephine Baker, Hallelujah


(3.) Mar 11. Screening and Discussion of Within Our Gates (1919).


(4.) Mar 18. Refiguring Blackface

-- Bamboozled (Spike Lee)


(5.) Mar 25. Harlem Renaissance

-- W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk

-- Alain Locke, "The New Negro" (PHRR)


(6.) April 15. Harlem Renaissance

-- Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God


(7.) April 22. Harlem Renaissance

-- Langston Hughes, Poems (PHRR)


(8.) April 29. Harlem Renaissance

-- Claude McKay, Home to Harlem

-- "If we must die" (PHRR)


(9.) May 6. The Problem of Passing

-- Nela Larsen, Passing


(10.) May 20. The Problem of Passing

-- Imitation of Life (John Stahl and Douglas Sirk)


(11.) May 27. The Problem of Passing

-- Philip Roth, The Human Stain


(12.) June 3. Harlem Renaissance Revisited

-- Toni Morrison, Jazz


Please procure your own copies of the primary text, (both novels and films), including David Levering Lewis' Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader (PHRR). Because they are rare, the following films will be screened either in their entirety or in clips: The Jazz Singer, Hallelujah, Within our Gates and films with Josephine Baker. Michael Rogin's Blackface, White Noise, in turn, is mandatory reading for the session on blackface, and the book will be on the reserve shelf in the library for you to copy the relevant chapters.


Secondary Reading:

Marshall Berman. All that is Solid melts into Air. The Experience of Modernity. Penguin 1982.

Donald Bogle. Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams. The Story of Black Hollywood. Ballantine Books 2006.

Thomas Cripps. Slow Fade to Black. The Negro in American Film, 1900-1942. Oxford University Press 1977.

-- Making Movies Black. The Hollywood Message Movie from World War II to the Civil Rights Era. Oxford 1993.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. And Nellie Y. McKay (eds). The Norton Anthology of African American Literature. Norton: 1997.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Gene Andrew Jarrett (eds.). The New Negro. Readings on Race, Representation, and African American Culture 1892-1938. Princeton University Press 2007.

Nathan Irvin Huggins. Harlem Renaissance. Oxford University Press 1971.

*David Levering Lewis (ed.). The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader. Penguin 1994.

*Michael Rogin. Blackface, White Noise. Jewish Immigrants in the Hollywood Melting Pot. University of California Press 1996.

Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors. A New Literary History of America. Harvard University Press 2009.

Steven Watson. The Harlem Renaissance. Hub of A-A Culture, 1920-1930. Pantheon 1995.