Survey of African American Literature, 1900-Present

English 3410
Christopher Okonkwo
Course Description

African American literature offers a fascinating body of works, unique in their history, diverse in their concerns, and engaging in their sometimes "call-and-response" conversation.  Since the literature’s inception centuries ago, African American writers and artists have through their works—folk/oral tradition, poetry, autobiographies, pamphlets, fiction, drama, non-fiction prose, speeches, paintings, songs and other cultural productions—contemplated the various issues integral to the complex experience of people of African descent in the United States.  This course surveys important twentieth- through twenty-first-century historical moments, writers, and works, as well as some of the intellectual debates and theories that have helped define the African American literary tradition. We will examine the tradition mainly from a historical, theoretical and critical standpoint and also supplement our readings and discussions with photographs, documentaries and audio recordings of significant, African American historical and literary figures and sociopolitical events.