21L.504J / SP.518J / WGS.518J Race and Identity in American Literature: Keepin' it Real Fake

As taught in: Spring 2007

On the left: A black man with a hat, facing right. On the right: A white man with long hair, facing left.

A black man and a white man. (Composite image by MIT OpenCourseWare. Original left image courtesy of Cesar Aponte. Original right image courtesy of Steve Punter.)

Level:

Undergraduate

Instructors:

Prof. Sandy Alexandre

Course Description

This course explores the ways in which various American artists view race and class as performed or performable identities. Discussions will focus on some of the following questions: What does it mean to act black, white, privileged, or underprivileged? What do these artists suggest are the implications of performing (indeed playing at or with) racial identity, ethnicity, gender, and class status? How and why are race and class status often conflated in these performances?