Week of December 5: Black Creative Production

Image: Self Portrait. Faith Ringgold. via artist’s website. 1965. Oil on canvas.

For Wednesday 12/5, we’ll go to chapter 9 in (Black Creative Production) Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies. Read pages 361-369. Pay attention to the following concepts and time periods: the Black Aesthetic, Harlem Renaissance. Use the textbook section as a quick overview of the artistic debates and time periods.

Read (and print out) Maulana Karenga’s “Black Art: Mute Matter Given Form and Function,” a 3-page PDF on the Readings page. This is Karenga’s full essay that he references in the textbook.

Also read (and print out) poet Langston Hughes’ essay “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,” online here

Counterpoint: read (and print out) “Does African American Literature Exist?” by Kenneth Warren from The Chronicle of Higher Education. Online here.

What to read/look for:

  • What do Karenga and Hughes think art should do?
  • What relationship should it have to the Black community?
  • What does their relationship to the artistic/ musical establishment seem to be?
  • Think about Warren’s argument in “Does African American Literature Exist?” Is he right? What arguments does he present?

Take brief notes of key points from each reading and we’ll go through them in class.


  • None this week