It seems as though Rutgers University in New Jersey has a last minute addition to its summer course offerings—a class on Black female writers.

Last month Rutgers was roundly criticized for paying Jersey Shore star Snooki a higher speaker’s fee than venerable author and professor Toni Morrison. If money talks, many wondered what the university’s decision to pay Snooki $2000 more than Morrison– who is scheduled to give this year’s commencement speech–really means.

After catching flack from some bloggers and students, it seems like the university is trying to make amends. According to a Jezebel tipster, Rutgers recently added a class on Black female writers to its summer course lineup.

According to the school’s website, the class—Twentieth Century Literature II—will “examine the ways black women writers’ works intervene in the Western male, white, and heterosexual literary canon and the social movements that have influenced them and benefited from them.  Writers explored will include:  Gwendolyn Brooks, Lucille Clifton, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, June Jordan, Audre Lorde, Samiya Bashir, Edwidge Danticat.”

Sounds cool, right?

Well, according to the tipster, the addition of the class seems like an afterthought.

“The announcement of this course offering came so much later than the rest of the summer schedule that I just can’t see how this was coincidence.”

What do you think? Is Rutgers trying to make-up for the Morrison diss? Sound off!


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  • dvine

    i saw part of of the speech snooki made.. she even demonstrated how to poof the hair in the front.. a hot asss mess is what this was.. but you know what – u get what u pay for..

  • effy

    education is on a swift trip to hell more and more everyday

  • opinionatedgal

    This is not exactly true. Snooki was brought to Rutgers using Student Activities fees/budget (just like when you’re an undergrad and a student organization brings in a artists for a concert.) Sometimes those groups charge students a fee to supplement the cost.

    The college can’t really step and deny a student group money that they are entitled to, but I’m glad that they brought Ms. Morrison in as the commencement speaker and the summer course sounds fantastic.

    • Tiffany W.

      Thanks for this. Now the story makes sense. Having the entire story is key, Clutch.

  • The whole debacle surrounding the Toni Morrison diss was a low point for Rutgers so it is quite reasonable to assume that having a class featuring writers like her is a great big PR move. Sigh.

    This may not be a bad thing. We just have to keep our eyes peeled and our ears to the ground because if it is cut next semester or never grows into something that actually properly studies the works of these great authors of our community, then we’ll know it is just a flimsy band-aid.

    Can’t wait to see how it all shapes up.

  • Nate

    Can black women writers be studied by their own merits, rather in the same way as their “Western male, white, and heterosexual” counterpoints are studied–as good literature? I don’t think these women conceived of themselves foremost as writing “to intervene” in a hegemonic literary canon, and choosing to view their work primarily in this light might be JUST as marginalizing as placing them in the margins with an afterthought class instead of in mainstream canon in the first place.

    Also, whom is the class being taught by? A literary scholar who excels in the robust field of black literary studies and criticism? Or someone in the English Department who didn’t get the summer off?

    • Tomi

      Mostly likely the latter…

      I bow to your eloquence and I wish to be you.
      Hegemony is like, my fifth favorite word.
      Right up there with callipygian.