Fall 2014 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Starnaman, Sabrina
Discipline and Number
LIT 3329 Section 001
MW Time 2:30 PM - 3:45 PM
Course Title
Ethnic American Literature

Description of Course:

This course explores questions of authorship:

• Who gets to write their own story?
• Which stories get told? Which stories get published and/or get taught in classrooms?
• What happens when some books and authors are overlooked or forgotten? Why is it so important to rediscover and recover these texts? What is gained from recovering and reviving lost texts?
• How do authors use fiction or memoir to critique the social world? What are the consequences of this sort of public criticism?
• Do texts influence the society in which we live? If so, how are texts in discussion with each other about how we should live?

Answering these basic questions reveals who has power in the world, as well as how individuals and groups pursue equality and autonomy within the larger community of U.S. society. This course will focuses on the African American literary tradition from 1850-1950.

Required Texts:

Texts May Include:

“Ain’t I a Woman?” Sojourner Truth (1851)
Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, William and Ellen Craft (1860)
“’We wish to Plead our own Cause’: Independent Antebellum African American literature, 1840– 1865.” Joycelyn Moody Cambridge History of African American Literature (2011)
The Souls of Black Folk, W. E. B. DuBois (1903) [Selections]
The Annals of ‘Steenth Street, Alice Dunbar-Nelson. (1900-10)
The New Negro: Voices of the Harlem Renaissance. Alain Locke, editor. (1925)
Passing, Nella Larsen. (1929)
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston. (1937)
Native Son, Richard Wright (1940)
“The Fact of Blackness,” Black Skin, White Masks. Frantz Fanon (1967)
Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin (1956)

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Assignments will likely include:

Discussion questions submitted by students
Reading quizzes (unannounced)
Final analytical paper (the final paper will be submitted in segments throughout the semester)
- Paper topic proposal
- Annotated bibliography
- Rough drafts (2)
- Final draft (2800-3000 words)

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