English 181A - Fall, 2015

African American Literature to 1900

Class Information

Instructor: Jordan, Jessica Hope
CRN: 73372
Time: MWF 9:00-9:50
Location: 207 Olson


    This course will take us on a fascinating journey through the spiritual, political and revolutionary works of early-African American literature, from its beginnings as oral narrative, poetry, songs, and folk and animal tales of the Vernacular Tradition, through the autobiographical slave narratives of the Literature of Slavery and Freedom, from the short stories, novels, poetry, and drama of Reconstruction and Post-Reconstruction, to the freedom of expression and intellectual flowering of the New Renaissance, up until the Harlem Renaissance. Our considerations along the way will include themes and influences of Revolutionary ideals, American Romanticism, spirituals, blues and jazz, trickster tales, regional dialect, the act of signifying, re-characterization and revision of earlier works, the intertwining of religion, politics, economics, and gender, all aligned with early struggles for civil rights and the recognition of literature, music, and art as ways of gaining the road to freedom, characterized by an active role in nation building.


    Short Response Essay 10%, Midterm Exam 15%, Midterm Essay 20%, Final Research Essay 25%,Final Exam 20%, Class Participation/Discussion, 10%


    Smartsite Reader
    Three African American Novels: Clotel, Iola Leroy, The Marrow of Tradition, William Wells Brown, Frances Harper, Charles Chestnutt
    Norton Anthology of African American Literature. Vol. 1. , Henry Louis Gates, Jr.