ENGL 243: African American Literature

Citrus College Course Outline of Record

Citrus College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Fall 2023
Credits: 3
Total Contact Hours: 54
Lecture Hours : 54
Lab Hours: 0
Hours Arranged: 0
Outside of Class Hours: 108
Total Student Learning Hours: 162
District General Education: C2. Humanities
Transferable to CSU: Yes
Transferable to UC: Yes - Approved
Grading Method: Standard Letter

Catalog Course Description

This course is designed to give students an appreciation of African American Literature--and in particular--the expression within the African American Community in the mediums of poetry, short stories, and novels. The course will explore literature and will examine the impact the works have had on the African American and literary community. The relationship between identity and the creative work of prominent African American writers is explored, as well as the cultural and historical influences on such writers. 54 lecture hours.

Course Objectives

  • critically examine and evaluate written texts in regards to African American literature, discuss and analyze the various cultural and historical differences and commonalities of the African American experience expressed in writing, and what they reveal about African American identity.
  • comprehend the variants to African American identity in the United States
  • comprehend and analyze the importance of folklore, myth, stories, and historical events in African American Culture (which is a term which covers many ethnic/cultural backgrounds)
  • demonstrate proper use of the internet and library research skills

Major Course Content

1. Historical Background--Before the Harlem Renaissance (Pre-1920)--Brief Overview

WEB Du Bois, Frederick Douglas, Booker T Washington, Jim Crow, Sojourner Truth and others.

2. The Harlem Renaissance and the New Negro-- 1920's

Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, Nella Larsen, Claude Mc Kay, Countee Cullen, Alain Lock, Gwendolyn Bennett, Ishmael Reed, Henry Dumas

Culture:  Harlem, Jazz, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Vernacular Tradition

3.  1930's-1940's  

Richard Wright, WEB Du Bois

4. Civil Rights Movement 1950's-1960's Events, People, and Historical Backdrop

Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Amiri Baraka, Beat Poetry, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry, Maya Angelou, Gwendolyn Brooks.

Backdrop: Emit Till 1955, Sit ins, Black Panthers, KKK, NAACP, CORE, SNCC, Black Power Movement, Freedom Riders, Civil Rights Act, March on Washington, Bus Boycott, Rosa Parks, Brown vs. the Board of Education, Selma to Montgomery Marches, Vietnam War, Segregation & Desegregation... (and more)

Literature, Short stories, Novels, Films,  Poetry, Black Mythology, Oral history, Hymns, Religion, 

3. Exploring Black Culture: Mythology, Gospel, Hymns, Blues, Jazz, Street Slang, Playing the Dozens, Rap/Hip Hop, Oral tradition, Black vernacular. Dispelling stereotypes--"Mammy, Black men vs. Black women stereotypes. Literature, plays, Spoken Word, Rhyming. Being African American=more than one culture.

4. 1980's-1990's Reconceptualizing Blackness

Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Jamaica Kincaid, Edwidge Danticat, August Wilson, Angela Davis, Toni Cade Bambara

5.  Modern times: From 2005-2021

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michelle Alexander, Yaa Gyasi, Colson Whitehead, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jesmyn Ward

Suggested Reading Other Than Required Textbook

Poems, Short stories, Historical articles

Examples of Required Writing Assignments

1. Students will write a critical paper analyzing the central characteristic of a work. 2. Student will write a critical paper evaluation and interpreting important themes from one one or several works. 3. Student will write an analytical paper interpreting the influence of one major historical event on the literature that followed it.

Examples of Outside Assignments

Outside assignments may include, but are not limited to, the following: 1. Research papers utilizing the library and critical readings as appropriate. 2. Critical Reading to enhance students' understanding of and analytical approach assigned to it. 3. Discussion board responses to readings, historical events, and author quotes. 4. Create a presentation that analyzes an important theme of a literary work and/or explain how a work speaks directly to its social, cultural and political content.

Instruction Type(s)

Lecture, Online Education Lecture

IGETC Area 3: Arts and Humanities

3B. Humanities

IGETC Area 6: Languages other than English