The course aims at introducing students to the African-American literary tradition. It examines critically various texts (slave-narratives, poems, short stories, novels, autobiographies, political documents and speeches) written in the 19th and 20th centuries. It probes into the diachronic experiences of African-Americans and examines their racial identity and their relations with “white” Americans. Particular emphasis will be given to the interrelation of the factors of race, gender, class, sexual identity, and to their impact. The course also tackles the question of what it means to be “black,” “colored,” or a “member or a minority.” Finally, it deals with the politics of skin color and the diachronic consequences of sexism and racism. Learning outcomes and competences: •Good knowledge of the institution of slavery, of the living conditions of slaves and of their struggle for liberation •Understanding the racist theories and laws that supported slavery •Understanding the cultural concepts of race (blackness/whiteness), gender, and sexual identity •Good knowledge of the political activities and strategies of important African American leaders •Understanding the consequences of sexism and racism on the psycho-emotional state of individuals and on interracial relations •Understanding the impact of various forms of violence •Good knowledge of the political and social context of the literary texts and if the issues examined by significant Black writers. Course textbook and outline/bibliography are available. Assessment: Final examination and/or research project.