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. Number of Instructional Minutes
IV. Prerequisites
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.

This course meets the General Education requirement in Arts/Humanities.
This course meets the General Education requirement in Critical Thinking.
This course meets the General Education requirement in Diversity.

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. Course Learning Goals

    Students will:

    1. analyze literature through discussion and writing [Critical Thinking & Arts/Humanities];
    2. demonstrate an understanding of such literary terms, themes, strategies, and issues as are relevant to the works being studied [Arts/Humanities];
    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 [Diversity];
    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 [Diversity].
  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 schools--humanistic, ethical, socio-cultural, historical (both the history of events and the history of ideas), psychological, mythical, and formal.
  3. Assessment Methods for Course Learning Goals

    To evaluate all 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 Student:

    A relevant anthology and/or other texts relevant to the course are assigned. See individual course syllabi.

Review/Approval Date - 5/99; Core Goals/Objectives added 4/04; Revised 5/2010; New Core 8/2015