Both historically and theoretically African American feminist critics have angrily argued and furiously defended that White feminist thought has little—if any—to do with Black feminist literary criticism. Instead of “feminism” (meaning Western and white feminism), African American writer Alice Walker has come up with a different (and more inclusive) term: “womanism”
The purpose of this course is to concentrate on and explore Black feminist thought, and to examine representative African American feminist theories to later analyze some works by canonized and emerging new female voices in African/Caribbean/African American literature. Although this is not a course in comparative feminist theories—White vs. Black feminist thought—we will start by reading brief excerpts from specific essays where white feminists break—as Tillie Olsen puts it—white women’s silences. We will basically deal with African and African American women’s silences, and their angry, subversive, and loud voices.
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