Picador Seminars by Morgan Jerkins in the Winter Term 2019/20

As part of her tenure in the winter term of 2019/20, Picador Professor Morgan Jerkins will teach two classes at American Studies Leipzig.

Black Women and Their Interior Lives in Literature 

Tuesdays, 11am-1pm, GWZ 3.5.15

Throughout history, black women have been some of the least understood and most criticized characters. There are many assumptions made about their speech, sexual behavior, and personality and the literary canon is not exempt. Over the years, black women have resisted these narrow stereotypes and conscriptions on their bodies through the written word as a way to reclaim their narratives and dismantle white supremacy. In this course, we will read, contextualize, and discuss the works of women of the diaspora from places such as America, Guadeloupe, Nigeria, France, and Italy, and from writers such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Maryse Condé, and Toni Morrison. We will consider topics such as citizenship and migration, ancestral trauma, the struggle for self autonomy, and the ontological battles of finding their places in the world. 

This seminar is part of the MA module “Immigration, Ethnicity, and Citizenship.”


Creative Nonfiction Workshop 

Wednesdays, 11am-1pm, GWZ 3.5.15

This workshop will be focused on creating a strong narrative from our personal histories as well as finding our individual tools with which to equip us for the journey of exploring our former selves from these experiences. Through close readings of each other's works, we will pay close attention not only to technical components, such as tone, rhythm, and style, but also more developmental aspects like momentum, idea trajectories, and emotional reporting. Our discussions on craft will often be supplemented with advice-centered work from authors like Alexander Chee, Vivian Gornick, and Joan Didion. Students will be expected not only to submit original material but also to give in-depth critiques to their classmates. This class is for anyone no matter their writing level for we will be challenging each other to dig deep into our memories, experiment with form, and actively engage with language and technique. 

This class, formally comprising a 45-minute seminar followed by a 45-minute tutorial, forms the BA Professional Skills Module “Creative Writing: Imagining America” (5 credits). More information on this module is available here.