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ENGLISH 3EE3 African American Literature (C01)

Academic Year: Fall 2018

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Donald Goellnicht

Email: goellnic@mcmaster.ca

Office: Chester New Hall 225

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 26259

Office Hours: Wednesday, 10:30-11:30pm or by appointment



Course Objectives:

A study of selected texts—primarily novels but also some essays, speeches, and poems—by African American writers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The texts will be considered within the socio-political historical context of their production and reception, and also within the African American literary tradition that stretches back to the eighteenth century. Close attention will be paid to issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality. 


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required texts:

James Weldon Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912; Penguin)

            Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937; Perennial)

            Richard Wright, Native Son (1940; Perennial)

            Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952; Vintage)

            James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (1963; Vintage)

            Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon (1977; Penguin)

Alice Walker, The Color Purple (1982; Harcourt)

Jamaica Kincaid, Lucy (1990; Penguin)

These texts are available at the Campus Store. Any assigned poetry and speeches are available free online. Several of the novels listed here are also available free online in PDF, if you are inclined to read long texts in electronic form. I will, however, be referring to the texts frequently in class by the page numbers of the specified printed versions.


Method of Assessment:

Assignments:

            Short essay (1000 words max): 20% (due February 11th)

            Long essay (2000 words max): 40% (due March 25th)

            Final Exam: 40% (to be scheduled in the exam period by the Registrar’s office)


Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.


Topics and Readings:

Schedule for English/CSCT 3EE3

Sept 05             Introduction

Sept 10             Background on African American literature to the Harlem Renaissance; poetry by Paul Laurence Dunbar, Jean Toomer, Claude McKay, Langston Hughes.

Sept 12             Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

Sept 17             Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

Sept 19             African American literary tradition to the 1940s

                         Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God                       

Sept 24             Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

Sept 26             Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God          

Oct 01              Wright, Native Son

Oct 03              Wright, Native Son

Oct 08-12         Thanksgiving and Mid-term Study Break

Oct 15              Wright, Native Son

African American literary tradition to the 1960s  (NB Essay due in class)           

Oct 17              Ellison, Invisible Man

Oct 22              Ellison, Invisible Man    

Oct 24              Ellison, Invisible Man

Oct 29              Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

Oct 31              Malcolm X, “The Ballot or the Bullet” (online)

                        Martin Luther King, Jr., “I Have a Dream” (online)

Nov 05             African American feminism to the 1980s; poetry by Gwendolyn Brooks, Mari Evans, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Lucille Clifton.            

Nov 07             Morrison, Song of Solomon

Nov 12             Morrison, Song of Solomon

Nov 14             Morrison, Song of Solomon

Mar 19             Walker, The Color Purple (NB Essay due in class)

Nov 21             Walker, The Color Purple       

Nov 26             African American literature and postcolonialism

                        Kincaid, Lucy

Nov 28             Kincaid, Lucy

Dec 03             Kincaid, Lucy

                        Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Case for Reparations” and/or “Letter to My Son”

Dec 05             Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric (selections)

                        Review


Other Course Information:

Important Note 1: In the event of class cancellations, students will be notified on ELM (Blackboard) and the English Department & Cultural Studies Website.  It is your responsibility to check these sites regularly for any such announcements.

Link: http://www.humanities.mcmaster.ca/~english/  (Department)

Link:   https://avenue.mcmaster.ca/ (avenue to learn)

Important Note 2: In this course we will be using a web-based service (Turnitin.com) to reveal plagiarism. Students will be required to submit their work electronically to Turnitin.com and in hard copy that it can be checked for academic dishonesty.

Link: www.turnitin.com, for more information: http://www.turnitin.com/static/privacy.html

Important Note 3: Email Policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from the student's own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student. Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.
Important Note 4:
The instructor and university reserve the right to modify elements of the course during the term. The university may change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances. If either type of modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. It is the responsibility of the student to check their McMaster email and course websites weekly during
the term and to note any changes.

* Students will be requested to complete a course evaluation at the end of the course.