This course is a survey of literature by African American authors from the 19th century into the present. We will read texts from a range of genres and styles including fiction, non-fiction essays, speeches, and so forth. We may also occasionally study African American film, music, and visual art. Our work will simultaneously consider the historical and material conditions that African American authors have been writing in and against over the past several hundred years or more. As we read, watch, and listen, we will think deeply about how our course materials relate to one another and how we can use our coursework to build a working understanding of an African American literary tradition. We will spend some time questioning how our course materials confirm or defy ideas about literature (Who gets to write it? Who decides which literature we should study?), but also about race, gender, sexuality, class, and ability (To whom does an African American literary tradition “belong”?).
Arts & Letters (A&L) courses create meaningful opportunities for students to engage actively in the modes of inquiry that define a discipline. Courses are broad in scope and demonstrably liberal in nature (that is, courses that promote open inquiry from a variety of perspectives). Though some courses may focus on specialized subjects or approaches, there will be a substantial course content locating that subject in the broader context of the major issues of the discipline. Qualifying courses will not focus on teaching basic skills but will require the application or engagement of those skills through analysis and interpretation.
Multicultural, Identity, Pluralism, and Tolerance (IP) courses examine the social construction of collective identities, the emergence of representative voices from varying social and cultural standpoints, and the effects of prejudice, intolerance, and discrimination. The purpose of courses in this category is to analyze the general principles underlying tolerance, or the lack of it.
US: Difference, Inequality, and Agency courses focus on race and ethnicity in the United States by considering two or more racial and ethnic groups.
Lower-division Elective courses allow students to choose (or “elect”) courses or faculty specific to their own developing interests, enabling them thereby to shape their own educational experience. Major II students can also use one lower-division elective to fulfill the Writing Requirement with ENG 209 The Craft of the Sentence.
English Minor courses offer students centuries of cultural experience and representation in poetry, prose, drama, film, TV, new media, and folk artifacts. The English minor can focus and extend the values of a liberal arts education, while also providing extensive training in writing, speaking, and critical thinking.