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

Spring 2007

E 376S • African American Literature Since the Harlem Renaissance

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34755 TTh
8:00 AM-9:30 AM
PAR 105

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 Brook'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, then enjoy the elegiac and musically inflected lyricism of the contemporary poets Cornelius Eady and Constance Merritt. Our course will particularly examine how aspect of visual and popular culture inform the themes of memory, music, and death in various African American authors' works. Please note: This course will require a significant amount of writing. It will also entail a significant engagement with poetry.

Grading Policy

Active Class Participation, Including In-Class Writing 10%
Film Review Responses (four 1-2 page) 15%
Poem or Prose Memorization and Recitation 10%
Critical Essay (3-4 page) 15%
Critical Essay Revision (5-7page) 25%
Final Essay Exam 25%

Mandatory class attendance. Three or more unexcused absences will significantly lower your letter grade. Four or more class absences guarantees the student will fail the class, *regardless* of the graded assignments completed for the course.


Langston Hughes, The Big Sea; Gwendolyn Brooks, Maud Martha, (selected chapters); Randall Kenan, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead (selected stories); Jazz Poetry Anthology, (selected poems); Constance Merritt, A Protocol for Touch; Cornelius Eady, You Don't Miss Your Water

Documentary Screenings: The Harlem Renaissance and Beyond, Hughes' Dream Harlem, The World of John Coltrane


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