21L.504J / SP.518J / WGS.518J Race and Identity in American Literature: Keepin' it Real Fake

Spring 2007

On the left: A black man with a hat, facing right. On the right: A white man with long hair, facing left.
A black man and a white man. (Composite image by MIT OCW. Original left image courtesy of Cesar Aponte. Original right image courtesy of Steve Punter.)

Course Description

This course explores the ways in which various American artists view race and class as performed or performable identities. Discussions will focus on some of the following questions: What does it mean to act black, white, privileged, or underprivileged? What do these artists suggest are the implications of performing (indeed playing at or with) racial identity, ethnicity, gender, and class status? How and why are race and class status often conflated in these performances?

Recommended Citation

For any use or distribution of these materials, please cite as follows:

Sandy Alexandre, course materials for 21L.504 Race and Identity in American Literature: Keepin' it Real Fake, Spring 2007. MIT OpenCourseWare (http://ocw.mit.edu/), Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Downloaded on [DD Month YYYY].
Donate Now


Prof. Sandy Alexandre

Course Meeting Times

Two sessions / week
1.5 hours / session