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Intro African-American Literature

ENGL 081.401

From slave narratives to the novel, from blues notes to hip-hop lyrics,
African-American writers have wrestled with the fundamental question: “What
does it mean to be American?” In answering this question, this course will
familiarize students with seminal writers in the African American literary
tradition, while at the same time examining how particular genres like the
slave narrative and “passing” novels, certain events such as the Great
Migration and the Civil Rights Movement, and distinct themes like invisibility,
emasculation, and black womanhood, simultaneously resurface and change
throughout African-American literary history.
In our course, we will read texts by Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, W.E.B.
Du Bois, Nella Larsen, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Huston, Richard Wright,
Ralph Ellison, Ann Petry, James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry, Amiri Baraka,
Gwendolyn Brooks, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Ntozake Shange., and August


Course fulfills the Cultural Diversity in US for Class 2012 and after in the College.

fulfills requirements
Sector 2: Difference and Diaspora of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major