Survey of African American Literature, Beginnings to 1890—Writing Intensive—Diversity Intensive (online, 2nd 8-week session)

Section 01
Allison Wiltshire
Asynchronous online
Course Description

Cross listed with BL-STU 3400W

*This course meets the Diversity Intensive requirement for students in the College of Arts and Sciences.

English 3400 (African American Literature: Beginnings to 1900) introduces students to the major developments, themes, and works of African American literature from its eighteenth-century beginnings to the post-Civil War and Reconstruction Era, covering some of the earliest African American slave narratives, essays, poetry, and novels, from authors such as Lucy Terry Prince, Phillis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, and Harriet Wilson. This survey of this African American literary period centers people of African descent in the United States from their enslavement as Africans to their arrival and subsequent (de)volution as chattel (moveable, inheritable property, in perpetuity) and their post-enslavement reconstruction as de facto slaves and half-citizens. In its focus on these historic developments, this course offers a diversity-centered overview of the history of race, imperialism, colonialism, cultural genocide, nation formation, identity, gender, religion, sexual coercion, human commodification, and its implications for centuries of systemic inequality in America.  

This writing-intensive course has three objectives: 1) to explore African American literature's continuing response to the call of African, American, and Afro-British American oral and written traditions-in the form of folktales, songs, sermons, prose, and poetry; 2) to examine the social, political, and cultural influences of early African-American literature; and, 3) to analyze the implications of this literature through meaningful reading discussion responses and essays.