About the course

About the class
Updated 12/27/22

This course is taught by Hank Williams. It will be a survey of writers from approximately 1960 to the present focusing on those whose work conveys the urban experience through various genres — novels, plays, poetry, autobiography – and in some cases pushes the boundaries of what we consider writing. The focus will be on New York experience viewed in a diasporic sense: as the landing place of immigrants and migrants from the south, Puerto Rico, and Dominican Republic that make it a global city. A key question we will consider is how the process of adapting to city life, particularly the changes in the time periods covered is conveyed in the works of these writers. We will also ask basic questions such as who lives in the city? What voices are heard and how do various writers articulate their unique experiences? The goal of this course is to become familiar with a few key writers from the New York literary scene from the 1960s to the present and how they relate to the Black Arts, Nuyorican, and hip hop cultural movements. Interested community members are also welcome to “virtually” take the course and follow along here with us.

To get a brief overview of the course, see the syllabus. For a more detailed feel for the weekly flow, scroll through the Course Updates page.

General Course Schedule info

Fall 2022 was the last regular section I taught. My section is currently on hiatus with my full-time move to Lehman’s Africana Studies Department but different iterations are taught every semester by my colleagues in the English Department! Pieces of this course will appear elsewhere in my Africana Studies courses, most of which are linked here.

For students in the class

Keep an eye on the Course Updates page, where I’ll update weekly reading/ listening/ viewing. There will be a new post each week–usually on Friday–that will give detailed instructions of what to do for the next week, including specific sections of books to read, reading questions, etc.

There will be a syllabus posted for each course, but both classes will have the same assignments and readings.

You can find PDF files for readings not in assigned books on the Readings (password protected: see your syllabus) page, where PDF files will patiently wait for you to download and read them. Required books are also on reserve in Lehman’s library. You should sign up for e-mail updates of new posts. (See the form at the right of the page, under the “follow via e-mail” heading.)

This course is designated as Writing Intensive and will satisfy that requirement. Be prepared for writing assignments. It also satisfies the Creative Expression distribution requirement.

For community members and guests

Feel free to follow along with is either virtually (online) or stop by and visit a class session. The books are widely available online, in bookstores, and in libraries. E-mail me for a password for the online readings if you need one and kindly include a short introductory note. You can also sign up for e-mail updates of new posts via the form on the right of the page.