This course is a hybrid graduate / undergraduate seminar focused on the black art and culture in that early 20th century period most frequently called The Harlem Renaissance, but which has also been called The New Negro Renaissance. Despite both names this flourishing of black culture and black presence in broader (read white) US culture was neither isolated to Harlem nor new in the sense of unique or just getting started. The Harlem or New Negro Renaissance was a multidirectional movement across the nation, the Americas, and the Atlantic. It was a multi-genre and interdisciplinary movement. And while, it was infused with a generational voice, it was in fact an intergenerational movement with traceable momentum as early as the Reconstruction period and as late as post War Civil Rights era. I do not wish us to abandon the emphasis on location and newness in how we understand this period, but I do want us to unsettle the stability of these categories. While I could have chosen a different location as the center of our inquiry or started our study before 1920 or after 1935. However, I want us to unsettle and question not shift and resettle these historical frameworks. As such, we will take as our central text one produced at an address we can no longer visit and written by a collection of artists from various places other than Harlem and who remained all in their own way transient and on the move. Moreover the 1926 Journal Fire!! Devoted to Younger Negro Artists shifts the focus away from “new” to “young” and clarifies its audience as “negro artists” rather than “the negro.” Think of this journal, its pieces, and editorial history as the center of a wheel. Over the semester we will also examine significant spokes around this text that extend out to other texts, communities, collaborations, and histories. We will not cover every text or even every spoke that could be attached to this center. The hope though is that we will establish enough solid spokes that by the end of the semester, we can think through and perhaps with the contours of a functional wheel.

On this site, you should find all the information you need for this course.

From the the home page, you will find:

  • – Easy access to the Course Schedule, Assignment Descriptions, and Media Packets.
  • – Links to the most recent posts (i.e. “announcements”) on the right column of the page.
  • – A table with basic course information on the right hand page.

From the top menu bar, you can access

  • – Course schedule (click on “Schedule”)
  • – Assignments guidelines by assignment (use the drop down menu “Assignments”)
  • – Announcements by category (Use the dropdown menu “Announcements”)
  • – Course policies by topic (Use the dropdown menu “Policies”)

In order to use this site you must:

  1. Click on the invitation link which you can find on Canvas or in the class email I sent.
  2. Navigate to the course site url “sites.bc.edu/blackrenaissance
  3. Sign in with your BC logon credentials. If you’ve already recently used your logon credentials, you may not need to enter them until your session expires. You can log in by clicking “log in” or “sign in” on the right side of the page below the search bar and archive tool.