ENGL H222B Philadelphia: Inventing a City
Tuesdays/Thursdays, 10-11:30 a.m.
It has been called the Quaker City, the City of Brotherly Love, home of the Lenni Lenape, City of Neighborhoods, City of Firsts, Workshop of the World, the Hidden City, and more. The city’s literary history and culture is rough and dark as it is rich and enlightened. From its patricians to its philistines, the course explores Philadelphia through a roster of writers, journalists, civic scribes, Quaker legerdemain, and pamphleteers who charted a number of cultural transformations. Discover how the asymmetrical evolution of Philadelphia, from the 1680’s to the present, has informed the character of the city and its diverse residents.
The course is a combination of in-class lectures and discussion, and self-directed and class-led tours to cultural destinations throughout the city. Six to seven times during the semester, students will seek out new experiences in Philadelphia’s cultural community and visit, research and respond to what they’ve experienced. Course meets in Center City, Philadelphia.
POLS H204B The Politics of the Creative Class in American Cities
Tuesdays, 12-2:30 p.m.
Explores the social, economic, and political impacts associated with the sizeable influx of college graduates into many urban areas during the past decade. Has the rise of this "creative class" in American cities fueled progressive reforms or exacerbated existing inequalities? Much of our analysis will focus on the influence of the creative class in the city and neighborhoods of Philadelphia. To that end, the course will be offered not on the Haverford campus but in Center City, Philadelphia.
ENGL B216 Narrativity and Hip Hop
Thursdays, 12:10-3:00 p.m.
This course explores narrative and poetic forms and themes in hip-hop culture. Through close, intensive analysis of hip hop lyrics, as well as audiovisual performance and visual art, we will consider how rappers and hip-hop artists from the late twentieth century onward have used the form to extend, further, and complicate key concerns of literature in general, and African American and African Diaspora literature in particular. We will explore key texts in hip hop from the late 1970s to the current moment. Reading these texts alongside short fiction by writers such as Gayl Jones, Octavia Butler, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Victor LaValle, Kiese Laymon, Ivelisse Rodriguez, Regina Bradley and others, we will consider how themes of socioeconomic mobility, gender and sexuality, queer and feminist critique, and intersectional political engagement animate artists’ narrative and poetic strategies across genre and media.
Written work will include regular in-class presentations, short creative assignments, three short papers, and a final project. As a part of the Philly program, the course will take place in Center City, Philadelphia. Along with course readings, we will engage directly with writers, artists, and events that help shape Philadelphia’s vibrant hip-hop and literature scene.