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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Summer 2006

E f376M • African American Literature, 1940 to Present

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
84325 MTWThF
8:30 AM-10:00 AM
PAR 306

Course Description

This course will explore the significance of key historical, cultural and political events in terms of their influence on movements and developments in African American Literature and Culture. We will begin with Langston Hughes's autobiography in 1940, with its hallmark reflection on and synopsis of the Harlem Renaissance, consider Gwendolyn Brooks's exploration of gender, identity, reproduction, and class in the life of Maud Martha, then move forward to explore relevant poetry and criticism from the Black Arts Movement to the elegiac and musically inflected lyricism of the contemporary poet Cornelius Eady. Our course will particularly examine how the themes of memory, music, and death surface and shift in various African American works. We will develop our capacities for critically reading, writing and analyzing poetry, prose, music and film.

Grading Policy

Active Class Participation, including in-class writing 20%
Poem or Prose Memorization and Recitation 10%
Group Class Presentation 15%
Critical Essay Review (4-5 page) 25%
Final Exam 30%

Two or more unexcused absences will significantly lower your letter grade; four or more class absences guarantees the student will fail the class. No late papers or assignments will be accepted.


Langston Hughes, The Big Sea
Gwendolyn Brooks, Maud Martha (selected chapters)
Randall Kenan, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead (selected stories)
Michael Harper, Dear John, Dear Coltrane
Sarah Webster Fabio, Selected essays
Ntozake Shange, For Colored Girls
Cornelius Eady, You Don't Miss Your Water


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