Singin’ the Blues Most Every Night: African American Culture

Dozent(in): Prof. Ken Boas (University of Pittsburgh)
Termin: Vorbesprechung am Mittwoch, 4. Mai von 14-15.30 in Raum 2127
Gebäude/Raum: siehe Digicampus
Ansprechpartner: Alma Judith Durán-Merk,
Anmeldung: via Digicampus


This compact seminar will examine the ways the tradition of blues music and literature have provided African Americans with strategies for creative resistance in the face of slavery, racism, and poverty. The blues aesthetic denotes a vibrant cultural network, which mediates oppositions such as poverty and abundance, creativity and commerce, and which demands that African-American artists look not to the white middle class for their artistic criteria, but to their own unique and energetic culture. Polymorphous, neverending, rich with possibilities, the blues, as well as other creative expressions of black culture such as literature and dance, speak of absence, but their rhythms always suggest change. This cultural aesthetic is characterized in literature when black characters perform the tragedies of their lives even as they simultaneously “sing” their revolutionary hope for dignity and a better existence. We will read and discuss and write about diverse texts, including fiction, poetry, essays, music and dance, that will help us to explore this blues aesthetic in an attempt to better understand black culture in America.

Literatur zur Lehrveranstaltung:

Jones, LeRoi (Amiri Baraka): Blues People: Negro Music in White America. ISBN:0-688-18474-x.  Harper Perennial Press.

Morrison, Tony: Song of Solomon (any edition)

Wilson, August (1986): Fences by August Wilson.

Vernon D. Johnson and Bill Lyne (eds):  Walkin' The Talk: An Anthology of African American Studies. Prentice Hall Press.ISBN:0-13-042016-6

weitere Informationen zu der Lehrveranstaltung:

empfohlenes Studiensemester der Lehrveranstaltung: Hauptstudium
Fachrichtung Lehrveranstaltung: NNG/Europäische Ethnologie
Dauer der Lehrveranstaltung: 2 SWS
Typ der Lehrveranstaltung: HS - Hauptseminar
Semester: SS 2011