Print Version

Effective: Summer 2014

Advisory: Advisory: Demonstrated proficiency in English by placement as determined by score on the English placement test OR through an equivalent placement process OR completion of ESLL 125 & ESLL 249.
Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: United States Cultures & Communities, Humanities Transferable: CSU/UC
4 hours lecture. (48 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • Identify significant literary, social, cultural and political issues in 19th-21st century African American writing.
  • Identify fundamental elements of African American culture as represented in the literature.
Description -
Literature by African Americans beginning in slavery and continuing on into the 20th and 21st centuries. Discovery of many of the current stereotypes in American cultural mythology about African Americans. Study of the complex and varying forms of resistance and creation African Americans have developed. Definition of issues and strategies in writings from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, including audience, identity (self), gender, family, culture, politics, spirituality and language. Intended for students wishing to transfer and/or students interested in African American literature.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. identify significant literary, social, cultural, and political issues in 19th-21st century African American writing.
  2. recognize the tenets of the American slave system and their effects on 19th-21st century writers.
  3. compare various forms of resistance to slavery as represented in the literature.
  4. examine various writing styles with relation to audience and purpose.
  5. identify fundamental elements of African American culture as represented in the literature.
  6. understand one's own culturally-determined perspective and how it might be viewed in the context of racial discourse, from the perspective of others.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
None required.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Significant literary, social, cultural, and political issues
    1. Construction of the literary Self
    2. Autobiography as act of liberation
    3. Definition and exploration of "double-consciousness" (Dubois) and social and cultural implications for both blacks and whites
    4. Abolition
    5. Reconstruction and Post-reconstruction
    6. Great Migration
    7. Harlem Renaissance
    8. Negro Protest Literature
    9. Exploration of contemporary African American writers in relevant social contexts
  2. Tenets of American slave system
    1. Construction of racist stereotypes to justify slavery
    2. Social and political norms of slaveholding society
    3. Popular literary genres for southern and northern white men and women
  3. Forms of resistance
    1. Literary forms and tropes
    2. Metaphors of Spiritual Resistance
    3. Testimonies of physical and cultural resistance
    4. Community-based sensibilities
  4. Writing Styles with relation to audience and purpose
    1. Slave Narratives
    2. Poetry
    3. Drama
    4. Novel
    5. Expository and Personal Essay
  5. Literary Representations of African American culture
    1. West African cultural retentions
    2. Creations in American culture: Black English, Spirituals, Blues, Jazz, Rap, Hip-Hop
    3. Issues of mixed heritages: color consciousness, class and categorization
    4. Gender
    5. Family and kinship ties
    6. Spirituality
  6. Understanding one's own culturally determined perspective
    1. Race as a social construction
    2. Social and economic contexts for racial categories
    3. historically determined views of human beings as "other"
    4. internalization and projection of culturally determined racial categories
Methods of Evaluation -
Methods of Evaluation may include:
  1. Critical Papers, out-of-class
  2. Participation in class discussions and textual analysis
  3. Presentations/reports
  4. Midterm examination(s), in-class
  5. Final examination
  6. Quizzes on reading material
Representative Text(s) -
When choosing texts for this course, the instructor may wish to choose from a range of genres: slave narrative, autobiography, essays, poetry, drama, novels, short story. The following are examples of the kinds of texts which are appropriate to this course:

Haley, Alex, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, New York, Penguin, 2010. Print.
Hurston, Zora Neale, Their Eyes Were Watching God, New York, Harper Perennial, 2010.
Gates Jr., Henry Louis, Classic Slave Narratives, Signet Classics, 2012. This version includes narratives by Olaudah Equiano, Mary Prince, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Jacobs.
Morrison, Toni, Beloved, New York, Vintage, 2004.
Wilson, August, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Theatre Communications, 2008.
Wilson, Harriet, Our Nig; or Sketches form the Life of a Free Black, Vintage, 2011.

Disciplines -
Method of Instruction -
The instructor will deliver course material via lecture, discussions, and audio and video presentations.
Lab Content -
Not applicable.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
Genres for ENGL 12 may include: Slave Narrative, historical documents (copies of primary texts), memoir, plays, poetry, essay, novel, short story, and spoken word.