Presentation (Project) Title

How Literature Informs Race Relations

Mentor Information

Mike Stowe (College of Arts and Sciences Deans Office)

Presentation Format

Event

Abstract

This short documentary was created in order to summarize the findings of a short study conducted by Maxine Haspel and Victoria Mendez for Mike Stowe’s Literature 2000 course in the Fall of 2020. The goal of the study was to analyze the impact that the inclusion of black literature in college level literature courses can have on students’ understanding of the Black Experience in the United States today and related social issues; The term black literature describes works written by black authors and that center around the stories of black characters. These works often involve themes and plot points that reflect the reality of life as a Black U.S.-American, therefore the aforementioned researchers theorized that the inclusion of these texts in college literature courses would have a positive correlation to relevant social issues. In order to test this hypothesis the researchers interviewed two students (A and B) enrolled in a literature course centered around black literature and two students (C and D) who had never participated in such a course. The students were asked a few baselines questions before being shown a short clip from the HBO series Lovecraft Country and a passage from the novel Miles Morales: Spiderman. The researchers then asked the students several follow-up questions in order to gain an understanding of how the works impacted student A and B’s understanding of relevant social issues compared to students C and D.

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How Literature Informs Race Relations

This short documentary was created in order to summarize the findings of a short study conducted by Maxine Haspel and Victoria Mendez for Mike Stowe’s Literature 2000 course in the Fall of 2020. The goal of the study was to analyze the impact that the inclusion of black literature in college level literature courses can have on students’ understanding of the Black Experience in the United States today and related social issues; The term black literature describes works written by black authors and that center around the stories of black characters. These works often involve themes and plot points that reflect the reality of life as a Black U.S.-American, therefore the aforementioned researchers theorized that the inclusion of these texts in college literature courses would have a positive correlation to relevant social issues. In order to test this hypothesis the researchers interviewed two students (A and B) enrolled in a literature course centered around black literature and two students (C and D) who had never participated in such a course. The students were asked a few baselines questions before being shown a short clip from the HBO series Lovecraft Country and a passage from the novel Miles Morales: Spiderman. The researchers then asked the students several follow-up questions in order to gain an understanding of how the works impacted student A and B’s understanding of relevant social issues compared to students C and D.