LITR278 Introduction to African-American Literature

Department of Language & Literature: Literature

I. Course Number and Title
LITR278 Introduction to African-American Literature
II. Number of Credits
3 credits
III. Minimum Number of Instructional Minutes Per Semester
2250
IV. Prerequisites
None
Corequisites
None
V. Other Pertinent Information
  • The Department of Language and Literature has determined that all literature courses must require a minimum of at least 2500 words in writing assignments.

  • During the first week of class, the instructor provides students with a weekly suggested reading schedule for the semester.
VI. Catalog Course Description
This course introduces students to the writing of persons of African descent in North America. Students examine and critically study the themes, content, and structure of African-American writing from the late 18th century up through the modern period.
VII. Required Course Content and Direction
  1. Learning Goals:

    1. Course
    2. Students will
      1. analyze literature through discussion and writing;
      2. demonstrate an understanding of such literary terms, themes, strategies, and issues as are relevant to the works being studied;
      3. express their understanding of the relationship between literature and the historical/cultural contexts in which it was written;
      4. recognize the range and variety of the writing of African-Americans from the late 18th century to the present and the ways that this literature responds to historical and social events;
      5. articulate the dynamics of the relationships between this literature and the vast storehouse of American literature; and
      6. analyze African-American literary products not only as evidence concerning the life and culture of the descendants of African slaves but as catalytic agents in the ongoing discussion of race and ethnicity of American society.

    3. Core (if applicable)
    4. Category I
      Cultural Perspectives
      Students will
      1. demonstrate knowledge and awareness of some components of our society’s cultural heritage such as artistic, historical, linguistic, literary, and philosophical foundations;
      2. compare, contrast, analyze, and/or defend differing world views and practices;
      3. demonstrate the ability to think independently by reading critically, thinking analytically, and communicating effectively in oral and/or written formats within the context of studying diversity in our culture.

      Category III
      Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
      Students will
      1. understand and express the meaning and significance of a variety of communications (Interpretation);
      1. identify the explicit and implied features of a communication, especially in arguments that put forth a conclusion (Analysis skills);
      2. integrate and/or combine knowledge from multiple sources to create new knowledge (Synthesis);
      1. communicate and justify clearly the results of their reasoning (presenting Argument Skills).

      International, Gender, and/or Minorities Perspectives
      Students will
      1. articulate similarities and differences in the various cultures of the world and demonstrate familiarity with the skills necessary to make informed judgments;
      2. identify prejudice, stereotypes, and misuses of power that affect the lives of women and/or minorities in areas such as education, business, politics, religion, or industry.
  2. Planned Sequence of Topics and/or Learning Activities:

    Students read from the work of African-American authors from the late 18th century until the present. Such reading includes material from a variety of genres, literary and extra-literary, including poetry, fiction (both the novel and shorter fiction), belle lettres, sermons, and speeches. In addition, much African-American writing points to African and African-American oral and musical practices; therefore, the course makes use of recorded speech and musical performances where appropriate.
    In addition:
    1. Students enter the course both with and without training in verbal analysis of literature; therefore, a subsidiary set of objectives dealing with literary analysis may be imported as individual student needs dictate.
    2. Reading remains the basic learning method available to students although various means of instruction are employed: Lectures, group discussion, mock trials, role playing, individual or group presentations to the class, team teaching, library research, etc.
    3. Through reading, writing, discussion, and various class activities, students identify, explain, and analyze the following: formal elements of the literature, particularly images, image patterns, narrative strategies, diction, and structural divisions of the work; themes and thematic patterns; literary periods, movements, and terms as appropriate to the literature.
    4. The writing requirement complies with Department standards for literature courses, a minimum of 2,500 words. Writing assignments reflect the course goals that students can comprehend, interpret, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate the literature.
    5. Because there are no prerequisites for literature courses, it is important that students understand the kind and quality of the writing expected.
    6. Students use various critical approaches as ways of assigning the meanings in the work; these include but are not limited to the major critical schoolsâ€"humanistic, ethical, socio-cultural, historical (both the history of events and the history of ideas), psychological, mythical, and formal.
  3. Assessment Methods for Core Learning Goals:

    1. Course
    2. To evaluate all course-specific learning goals and objectives, instructors may determine the depth and quality of student comprehension and critical thinking through several analytical essays (2500 words total required), exams, quizzes, journals, oral or multi-media presentations, class discussions, conferences with individual students, service learning projects, and other methods as necessary to course content.

    3. Core (if applicable)
    4. To evaluate all Core learning goals and objectives, instructors may determine the depth and quality of student comprehension and critical thinking through several analytical essays (2500 words total required), exams, quizzes, journals, oral or multi-media presentations, class discussions, conferences with individual students, service learning projects, and other methods as necessary to course content.
  4. Reference, Resource, or Learning Materials to be used by Students:

    A relevant anthology and/or other texts relevant to the course are assigned. See individual course formats.
VIII. Teaching Methods Employed
Section VIII is not being used in new and revised syllabi as of 12/10/08.

Review/Approval Date - 5/99; Core Goals/Objectives added 4/04; Revised 5/2010