HUM 256 : Introduction to African-American Literature

Transcript title

Intro African-American Lit



Grading mode

Standard letter grades

Total contact hours


Lecture hours


Recommended preparation

WR 121.

Course Description

Survey of African-American literature (selected fiction, autobiography, poetry and drama of the 19th and 20th centuries), placed in the context of major African-American achievements in the visual arts, music and film.

Course learning outcomes

1. Knowledge about a culture different from one’s own:
a. Explain the broad features of African American history (from the oral tradition in America to the present) and situate individual texts within that history.
b. Apply specific and defensible criteria, appropriate to the cultural and historical context, to analyze, interpret, and evaluate African American texts.
c. Explain the broad features of African American literary history and situate individual texts within that history.
d. Analyze the effects of education, gender roles, printing and publication practices, segregation and race identity on the development and reputation of these authors.
e. Evaluate the role which music (such as spirituals, jazz, blues, rap) plays within African American culture and literature and analyze selected works in relation to an appropriate musical tradition
2. Analysis of a written text:
a. Analyze the influence of the vernacular tradition on the written literature of the 19th and 20th century written texts.
b. Demonstrate an understanding of specific themes in African American literature such as slavery and freedom, identity and race, rural and urban life, and the role of the family.
c. Use formal and informal writing to develop and express interpretations and analyses, distinguishing between personal and critical responses.
d. Use evidence from the texts and bring multiple viewpoints and perspectives to bear in developing one’s interpretations, evaluations, and comparative analyses of these literary works.
e. Explain the relationships within these selections, among audience, purpose, organization, form, voice, diction, style, and use of literary conventions.
f. Explain how the literary treatment of an event, issue or idea differs from the approach of another academic discipline.
3. Comparative analysis of cultures:
a. Examine the effects of individual and culturally-determined factors (such as race, gender, class, ethnicity, region, religion, biases of information sources, prior cross-cultural experiences) in one’s own and others’ responses to African American texts and culture.
b. Identify and explain significant differences and similarities among African American works and cultures and our own, or other nonwestern and multicultural American cultures with which you may be familiar.

General education/Related instruction lists

  • Cultural Literacy
  • Arts and Letters

Outside of

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