Sonic Fugitives

Jarvis C. McInnis
African American Studies

Students explore the historically denied the right to literacy, African-Americans have used sound as a mode of protest and expression of freedom, subjectivity, and citizenship. In this course, we will explore the rich interplay of sound and literature in African-American letters, how writers have used sound to make political claims about race, gender, class, region, nation, and cultural identity. Throughout the course, students examine an array of sonic modalities, i.e. music, laughter, oratory, screams, yells, shouts, grunts, and noise. Readings will be accompanied by sound recordings of minstrel and vaudeville ditties, speeches, work songs, blues, jazz, hip hop, and spoken word poetry.