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

Fall 2008

E 314V • African American Literature and Culture

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34540 MWF
12:00 PM-1:00 PM
PAR 308
Burns, P

Course Description

This course will explore African American Literature and Culture through an historical lens. Using World War I and World War II as nodal points, this course will look at the strategies of the New Negro Movement and the Harlem Renaissance as they compare and contrast to post-WWII proto Civil Rights texts. While focusing predominately on works of fiction and poetry, the course will also engage with nonfiction texts that exemplify some of the political, social and historical circumstances that surround these literary works. Comparing literary with nonliterary approaches to equality and other issues will help define African American literature as both a highly aesthetic form as well as an often socially engaged one. The historical referents of the world wars offer a global context to American experience and a chance to think about a broader audience for African American literature.

Grading Policy

Students will complete three 5-6-page papers (first draft: 10%, second draft: 15% of final grade), each with a peer review. They will also be asked to complete three 2-page response papers, each worth 5% of their final grade. 10% of the final grade will be class participation (which will include peer reviews as well as informal writing assignments).


A tentative list of texts for this course includes: Cane, Passing, Black no More, the poetry of Langston Hughes, Their Eyes were Watching God, selections from The New Negro, Uncle Tom's Children, If He Hollers Let Him Go, and The Street. The course will also included materials collected in a course packet.


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