Toni Morrison has emerged as one of the most influential writers and critics in contemporary American culture. This course will examine her diverse literary and critical work from a variety of perspectives. Special attention will be paid to Morrison's contributions to African American literature and theory, in particular how she conceives of Black art and the responsibilities of its practitioners. In our study of her novels, we will explore such issues as the importance of history and myth in the creation of personal identity, constructions of race and gender, the dynamic nature of love, the role of the community in social life, and the pressures related to the development of adolescent girls. We will also examine the changing nature of Morrison's reception by critics and academics, and consider how and why she has achieved such widespread acclaim and influence. Satisfies the Twentieth Century and later requirement.