HUMS 223, Interpretations - Claude McKay: Race, Religion, Politics, and Queerness

Meeting Time: 
W 3:30pm-5:20pm + 1

Course Description:

Claude McKay was the preeminent queer black leftist poet, novelist, and political thinker of the early 20th century. His writings offer an entrée into questions of race, sexuality, and autobiography; literature and literary genres; nationalism and internationalism; colonialism and anti-colonial resistance; religious change and political conversion. This course covers the full range of his many contributions: his Jamaican and American poetry; his socialist articles and essays; his three published novels (Home to Harlem, Banjo, Banana Bottom); his memoir, A Long Way From Home; an urban portrait, Harlem: Negro Metropolis; his posthumously published novels, Romance in Marseille and Amiable with Big Teeth; and a selection of his unpublished essays.

Led by:

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Professor Ernest Mitchell

Ernest Julius Mitchell is a scholar of the Black Renaissance; he studies the literary, religious, and theoretical aspects of modernist writing.

His first book (under contract with Yale University Press) is a biography of the left-wing Jamaican writer Claude McKay. He is also completing a centenary edition of Jean Toomer’s Cane (under contract with Norton Library). A third project is an academic monograph on the fictional and ethnographic works of Zora Neale Hurston, read through the lens of her novel Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939).

Beyond his projects in literary history, he also writes on aesthetics at the nexus of black diaspora thought and continental philosophy.