African American Literature

ENG 373 serves as an entry point to the study of African American literature. Throughout the course of the semester, students will be introduced to a vast array of writers and artistic expression. The class will primarily focus of literary movements, ranging from poetry, slave narratives, modernist literature, science fiction, short stories, and the like. The class will also grant and significant amount of attention on the relation between literature and other forms of artistic expression such as photography, painting, film, and sculpture. As such, the class encourages thinking through literature in relation to other artistic mediums. Students will have the option of doing a creative project for their final assignment.

Possible Books

Toni Morrison’s Love

Chester Himes’ The Real Cool Killers

Frederick Douglass’ My Bondage and My Freedom

Jean Toomer’s Cane

Octavia Butler’s Dawn


1 close reading

1 Scene analysis

1 final project (there will be a creative writing option & an option for Education majors to focus on curriculum design)

Course Objectives

By the end of this course, students should be able to

 –  Read a text critically and actively.

–  Perform close readings of literary and secondary texts.

–  Discuss texts in a purposeful, intellectual, and thoughtful manner by exploring the                                 themes, style, patterns and interpretations of a text.

 –  Understand the relationship between literature and culture through situating texts                                   within their historical and cultural context.

–  Write fluently and critically about literary texts.

–  Trace a topic throughout a wide range of literary, philosophical, and historical texts.

–  Connect historical topics to our own contemporary moment.

– Discuss literature in relation to other artistic forms like painting, photography, sculpture, and music