Studies in African-American Literature – ENGL 637

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This course is a study of the periods and major genres of African-American Literature – poetry, prose, drama, vernacular tradition, essays, and non-fiction. Selected major works and authors are taken from all the periods of African-American literature to show the breadth and variety of African-American literary tradition.




Multi-cultural American society can benefit from African-American literature because it records enduring human values that reveal commonly held experiences across all people groups. Studying such literature can be aesthetically pleasing; equip one with analytical skills; encourage the exploration of a diversity of content, authors, and genres; and reveal valuable insights about the human condition, thus broadening one’s spiritual and intellectual outlook.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Review a compendium of works by major African American writers from all periods and genres of African American literature.
  2. Analyze the political, cultural, social, economic, religious, literary, and historical characteristics of African-American literature from the 17th century through the present.
  3. Evaluate and use relevant literary/critical approaches in the study of African-American literature to interpret works in their moral, cultural, oral, and historical contexts.
  4. Compare works from a range of genres and historical periods (including works by female authors and authors who use or make allusions to particular oral discourses).
  5. Write both critiques of articles/criticisms/theories/major authors/texts, and well-researched papers on African-American literature, documenting primary and secondary sources.
  6. Evaluate an author’s talent and style; draw comparisons among the various authors/texts; and explore the diversity of the various authors/works studied.
  7. Evaluate to what extent the literature does or does not reflect Christian values.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings, lecture presentations, and StudySpace resources

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Idea Development Projects (5)

Each Idea Development Project will be completed in 3 parts.

Part 1: Discussion Board Posts

The student will choose a topic to discuss provided in the Assignment Instructions folder for the assigned module/week. Once the student has selected his or her topic, he or she will post a 500–700-word idea development in the Discussion Board Forum

Part 2: Discussion Board Replies

The student will respond to at least 2 classmates’ threads and provide additional feedback, ideas, or critiques. Each reply must be between 250–300 words.

Part 3: Submission

The student will submit his or her final idea development project of 700–1,000 words via the assignment submission link.


The student will write a 2,500-word essay (approximately 10 pages). Six scholarly sources are required for this essay. The student may write on suggested topic(s), develop one or more of his or her idea development projects into the essay, or analyze a work or works studied in class. The paper must have clear, cogent arguments, evidentiary support of arguments, focused analysis, correct documentation, and excellent writing skills.

Research Project

The Research Project is split into 3 manageable parts. The final culminating project will be a research paper.

Part 1: Topic & Thesis

The student will choose a topic for the research paper and write a thesis.

Part 2: Outline & References

The student will revise his or her thesis based on feedback provided by the instructor and develop an outline and a bibliography of at least 12 scholarly references for the research paper.

Part 3: Research Paper

The student will write a 5,000-word (15–20 pages) paper. The paper must have clear, cogent arguments, supporting evidence, focus on analysis, correct documentation, and excellent writing skills.