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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Undergraduate Course: Black American Fiction (ENLI10341)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will provide a thorough introduction to African American fiction, from the nineteenth-century to the present day. All texts will be studied in both their socio-historical and theoretical contexts, and distinctive narrative patterns will be evaluated. Key areas of 'cultural' interest - including the "Harlem Renaissance" (1920's/30), the "Black Aesthetic" movement (1960's/70) - will be considered alongside broader social and political events: slavery and its abolition, post-Civil War "Reconstruction", segregation and "Jim Crow", Panafricanism, the Civil Rights Movement and others. Although the primary texts are all narrative prose fiction, we will also read poetry and non-fictional prose as supporting material.
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Essential course texts
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  30
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1 Coursework Essay of 2,500 words (40%);
1 Final essay of 3,000 words (60%)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Students should be able to discuss distinctive attributes of Black American fiction and to be able to historicize these.
  2. Students should be able to explain and employ key relevant theoretical approaches
  3. Students should be able to account for formal innovations in the literature
  4. Students should be able to historically contextualise the literature
  5. Students should be able to refer to non-primary materials to explain Black American literary developments
Reading List
Primary texts

Introduction: American slavery and African American authorship:
Phillis Wheatley, Selected poems (c1770) [poems will be made available on LEARN]
Frederick Douglass, The Heroic Slave┬┐ (1852) [link to e-text will be made available on LEARN]

Black American Modernism & the Harlem Renaissance:
W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903)
Jean Toomer, Cane (1923)
Nella Larsen, Quicksand (1928)
Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)

Modernist developments:
Richard Wright, Native Son (1940)

Ralph Ellison, Mister Toussan┬┐ (1941), In a Strange Country (1944), and Flying Home (1944) [these are short stories that will be made available on LEARN]

Historical metafiction and slave narrative:
Ishmael Reed, Mumbo Jumbo (1972)
Octavia E. Butler, Kindred (1979)
Toni Morrison, A Mercy (2008)
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements Numbers are limited and students taking degrees not involving English or Scottish literature need the written approval of the head of English Literature.
KeywordsENLI10341 Black American
Course organiserDr Keith Hughes
Tel: (0131 6)50 3048
Course secretaryMiss Hope Hamilton
Tel: (0131 6)50 4167
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