Posted March 27,
2013. All information here
remains subject to change; check for updates.
This course will survey the many contributions of
African-American writers to the literary traditions of the United
States. Those contributions are virtually contemporary with the
colonization of North America--represented in the poetry of
African-born Phyllis Wheatley--and shaped the themes and genres of
American literature for the next three hundred years. The wealth of
available material will force us to be selective, but we will try to
construct a coherent overview of the major writers and significant
periods: from the slave narrative to local color fiction, from the
Harlem Renaissance to the Civil Rights movement. Writers will
include familiar figures like Frederick Douglass, Richard Wright and
Toni Morrison as well as lesser-known authors such as Charles
Chesnutt, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, and Lorraine Hansberry. And to help
us better appreciate the contexts of these works, we will also read
a selection of non-fiction, by influential thinkers like W.E.B.
DuBois and Booker T. Washington, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King,
Toni Morrison and James Baldwin.
Requirements will include reading and reflection on the texts,
participation in weekly discussion forums on Blackboard, and the
completion of a multi-part writing project on a Black writer in
online course is conducted through the internet
(Blackboard). To be successful, online courses require that
students have some degree of self-discipline. This is NOT A
SELF-PACED course--there are regular weekly deadlines.
- You may also be asked to complete one or more texts in advance
of the starting date of class.
- Since I am offering two online courses this summer, if this
course (Black Writers in America) is under-enrolled, you may be
able to enroll in "Southern Women Writers" [ENGL A466] instead.
- This course meets the requirements for minors in both African
and African American Studies and in American Studies.
[Note: Some of these texts may
also be available as e-texts. This list is reasonably firm,
though minor changes may still occur. Check with me if any
uncertainty represents a problem for you.]
A Narrative of the Life of
Frederick Douglass, An American Slave by Himself.
Boston: Bedford Books, 1993. ISBN 031207531-6
Charles Chesnutt. Tales of
Conjure and the Color Line: Ten Stories. New York: Dover
Press, n.d. ISBN 0 486 40426 9
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes
Were Watching God. New York: Perennial, 1998 ISBN:
Richard Wright. Native Son. New York: Harper,
2005. ISBN 006083756X or
Lorraine Hansberry. Raisin in the
Sun. New York: Vintage, 1994. ISBN: 0679755330
Toni Morrison. The Bluest Eye.
New York: Penguin, 2000. ISBN: 0452282195
Z. Z. Packer. Drinking
Coffee Elsewhere. New York: Riverhead Books, 2004 ISBN:
Instant Access: The Pocket
Reference for Writers. Michael L. Keene and Katherine H.
Adams. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003. ISBN: 0072819928
If you're trying to cut costs, many texts are also available
secondhand through other commercial booksellers. And some rentals
may also be available from the Loyola Bookstore.
Credit for ENGL T-125, ENGL 205, or their equivalents. Sophomore
status or permission of the instructor is recommended. Online
courses require some maturity and self-discipline; this should
probably not be your first college English course. Contact me if you have any
questions about taking an online course.
Weekly Comments (35%)
The heart of this course (apart from reading the texts themselves)
will be our electronic "discussions": asking and answering each
other's questions and sharing our responses. These discussions
will be conducted on the "Discussion Board" of
Blackboard.com. Students will be expected to post a
substantive comment (150-300 words) in response to the text
and my introductory remarks by Monday midnight. By the following
Thursday midnight, everyone in the class will have commented on or
reacted to the responses of least two other people (100-150 words
each). [These due dates are
tentative and may change to other specific weekdays, but the
pattern remains the same.]
Your participation in these weekly discussions, including the
timely submission of comments and responses, will be graded
contractually (all assignments = A; fewer = B, etc.) and will
constitute your "class attendance."
You will be responsible for timely and regular contributions to
the discussion group every week. If any lateness or irregularity
persists in your submissions, you will be asked to drop the course
or receive a failing grade.
most challenging parts of an online course, and falling behind
is the chief reason for attrition--just remember that "online"
isn't the same as "self-paced."
Writing Assignments (25-30%)
Final Examination (15-20%)
The formal writing in this course will be a series of assignments
on the works of a specific African-American writer, both those
covered in the course and from a supplementary list. These
assignments (two short essays and an annotated bibliography) will
be due throughout the semester and will involve various degrees of
A comprehensive essay exam. Exemptions will be granted when all
course work is submitted on time.
IF YOU DECIDE TO REGISTER FOR
THIS COURSE, BE SURE THAT YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS IS ACCURATE
IN LORA and on BLACKBOARD; IF IT ISN'T, YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE COURSE.