We’re so excited about our new online classes, and we thought it would be fun to give you a sneak peek at what’s on the lineup for this summer. Today, Jeremy explains how he plans to explore the poetry of the Harlem Renaissance. (Registration is open now!)
What is your class about?
This class will introduce students to some of the major poets of the Harlem Renaissance, including Langtston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, and Jean Toomer. We will read and discuss a selection of these poets' work with an awareness of the complex racial and socio-cultural currents that informed the movement of which they were a part.
What will students learn?
I hope students will leave this class with an appreciation for the complexity of the Harlem Renaissance as a cultural movement. But this is a poetry class and students will also learn how to read and discuss poetry with an awareness of tone, meter, meaning, and ambiguity.
What is your favorite thing about teaching this class?
What's so exciting to me about the Harlem Renaissance is that it encompassed so much. It wasn't just a literary movement – those associated with the movement included musicians, dancers, playwrights, political activists, and sociologists. Though we're going to focus primarily on the poetry, I hope to encourage students to explore the other rich traditions of the Harlem Renaissance on their own.
Why did you decide to teach the class?
We're living through a cultural moment in which African-American culture is flourishing on television, in the movies, and in music, and yet, as the 2016 Oscars showed, questions of race, culture, and the place of African-American culture within the American mainstream still cause frenzied debate and hand-wringing in this country. What interests me about the writers of the Harlem Renaissance is that they were asking the questions we are still asking almost a century later and their answers are often surprising and thought-provoking.