ENG241 Introduction to African American Literature

Fulfills the Arts and Letters and Multicultural Identity, Pluralism & Tolerance (IP) requirements

Winter 2016
Schedule – TBA
Location –
Instructor – Courtney Thorsson

This course is a survey of writings by African American authors from the Harlem Renaissance to the present. Studying fiction, essays, and poetry, we will read representative texts to consider whether there are specific formal and thematic elements that characterize African American literary tradition in the twentieth and twenty-first century. We will consider how these texts fit into or defy ideas about race, gender, and class on the one hand and classifications of genre, period, and literary style on the other. We will study relationships among these works to uncover how they reflect on, depend on, or revise one another. We will look for relationships between these works and other art forms such as music and visual arts. This means that as we read each text closely, we will also listen closely to a relevant speech, poetry reading, or piece of music. The goal of this course is to help you engage with African American literature, improving your writing, reading, and critical thinking skills in the process. This class requires substantial reading and writing and vigorous participation.