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Spring class will examine aspects of Harlem Renaissance
Nov 15, 2011 | 1041 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Northwestern State University will offer a spring 2012 class that will examine the influences of the Harlem Renaissance. Coordinator of Social Sciences Dr. William Housel designed the class in collaboration with professors from the Departments of Language and Communications and School of Creative and Performing Arts.

“It is specifically intended to be interdisciplinary with history to provide the context and the music, theater, literature, theater and dance portions like beads on the historical string. The hope is to provide not only insight to an historical period, but to bring the period to life,” Housel said. “In the class I will provide the history and context, beginning with the end of Reconstruction in 1877 through the Spanish American War, the turn of the century racial tensions and beginnings of the Civil Rights movement; through the effects of WWI on the spread of jazz and the Great Migration, and into the roaring 20s.”

In connection, Professor and Louisiana Poet Laureate Dr. Julie Kane will teach a portion on poetry of the Harlem Renaissance and its connection to the historical events of the era. Associate Professor of Creative and Performing Arts Jeff Mathews will teach a section on jazz and the influence of African America music on mainstream American culture. Professor of Theatre Vickie Parrish will instruct a portion on theatre and art of the Harlem Renaissance and its connection to the larger movement of American art. Director of Dance Barry Stoneking will talk about dance, especially covering local artists who made significant contributions to that scene and Assistant Professor and director of undergraduate studies in English Andy Crank will teach a class on the literature of the Harlem Renaissance and its situation in the greater scheme of American literature in general.

“For a final project the students will participate in producing a show highlighting the Harlem Renaissance cultural contributions to American culture,” Housel said. “My hope is that we can get some good discussion going between the students from CAPA and from social sciences that everybody would find productive. I also look forward to learning from my colleagues who are participating in the class. It can be used as upper level credit so we hope to get some upperclassmen who enjoy learning for the sake of knowledge and their own self fulfillment.”

The Harlem Renaissance was an African American literary and art movement in the uptown Manhattan neighborhood of Harlem in the mid- and late 1920s. The community developed greatly from post-World War I emigration from the South, to become the economic, political, and cultural center of black America. The writers, painters, and sculptors of the Harlem Renaissance celebrated the cultural traditions of African Americans.

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