Reflective Writing

This assignment asks you to “reflect” onyour overall experience in this course. For instance, if
someone were to ask you to describe this course, what would you tell him or her first, second
…in other words, what elements of this course were most memorable?
The second part of your exercise should reflect on Why these things came to mind first or second…
I would like for you to combine an analysis of one or more of your favorite readings along with your reflection of those readings which I expect to be more personal…tell me what you have received from this class, why the topic and associated readings you selected may remain with you for longer than the week after final exams, and relate that reflection to the description you provided for the first part of this essay…or even more personal,by incorporating any memories that may have been triggered by anything we read or discussed. I would like for you to make this both a
personal reflection as well as an essay where you research your topic and relate it to something we read or discussed this semester.

W.E.B. DuBois: “Criteria of Negro Art”
Alain Locke: “The New Negro”
Octavia Butler, Bloodchild,
David Walker, pgs. 159 – 171,
Begin Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson
Introduction to Harlem Renaissance

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In this course, we will examine some of the major debates and central texts of African American literature from many different perspectives. The central themes of this course include the relationships between justice, race, representation and identity. The issues taken up by the writers and artists we will consider over the semester are still important and unresolved for us hundreds of years later.

This course is designed to offer you an overview of African American literature from just before the turn of the 20th century until near the present. It will incorporate several thematic aspects that, through our readings and discussions, will help shed light on themes relevant to African American life and culture as well as why various ideas are presented to the public as fact today. This semester, we will examine the social construction of African American literature of the 20th century contextualized within a framework of American history. We will also explore the ways that authors expressed themselves through various artistic genres as they sought to establish a unique identity within an oppressive, racist, gender biased and capitalistic society. Through our discussion, we will also deconstruct power, class, gender, race, sexuality and politics as they each relate to what may have inspired African American artists to create and to which many responded in a variety of ways prior to and during the 20th century as well as into the 21st century.

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