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

Spring 2009

E 379S • The Novels of Toni Morrison

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34625 TTh
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
MEZ 1.122

Course Description

As part of our University-directed self-assessment project, the English Department has initiated an ePortfolio program for English majors. You will be asked to submit, in electronic form, two documents--a one page essay on the English major and a copy of your final paper for the seminar. Additionally, you will be asked to complete a brief four question survey. During the semester, you will receive details from your instructor or from the English Department on completing the survey and submitting the documents on your senior seminar's Blackboard website.

This course examines the seven novels of Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, Toni Morrison. The novels thematize womanism as a theory that incorporates race, gender, and culture in experiences uniquely shared by women-- particularly women of color-- across class and regional boundaries. Part of the positional uniqueness that womanism shares with a predominant feminism surfaces in historicized black/white female relations, particularly those rooted in slavery. Collectively, Morrison's characters confront a wide range of challenging crises: infanticide, male-female relations, family, socio-economical, cultural survival, etc. Morrison's novels are a gloss on the African-American literary tradition, deeply rooted in the American literary tradition.

Grading Policy

Seminar paper (10 pages; typed, ds) 40%
A Reading Notebook (15 page minimum; typed, ds) 30%
Presentations(TBA)/quizzes/class participation 30%

Regular attendance is required. More than four absences will be sufficient grounds for failure in the course. The four allowed absences will include illness, deaths of relatives, and other emergencies. Upon your fifth absence, you will be notified of your failure in the course, and you need not return to class. If you are more than five minues late or leave before class ends (without permission), you will be counted absent for that class. You are responsible for all work covered in your absence.


The Bluest Eye, 1970
Sula, 1973
Song of Solomon, 1977
Tar Baby, 1981
Beloved, 1987
Jazz, 1992
Paradise, 1998
The Margaret Garner Opera, 2004.


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