AML 4503: 51:
Literature of the Harlem Renaissance
M. W. 2-3:30 Office
Hours: Wed. 11-1 and by appointment. RM 350 AC 1
Dr. Donna Weir-Soley
The Norton Anthology of African-American Literature:
Their Eyes Were Watching God: Zora
Quicksand and Passing:
Diana Hacker's Handbook on Writing,
In this course we
will examine the literary production of Americans of African descent-- those
born in the US mainland and those who immigrated from the Caribbean regions--
during the period from 1919-1940 popularly known as the Harlem Renaissance
Period. We will interrogate the
problems of nationality and identity formation in a racially divided society
whose popular definition of the term American denoted "whiteness' as a
biological rather than a political construct.
We will also examine social issues relevant to Blacks during that period
such as jim-crow in the South , under-representation and racial inequities in political and social arenas of the
North, urban riots, poverty, passing,
colorism and classism, and the diverse responses
to these social bogeys. Through
careful attention to the works of Black women writers from this period, we will
foreground gender inequities and black women's responses/resistances to the
triple-bind of race, class and gender in public and private spheres.
Aug 28 Welcome and Introduction. Brief overview of course objectives and requirements.
Sept 2. Labor Day. No Class.
Sept. 4. "The Negro Digs up His Past": Arthur Schomburg. Discuss.
"The New Negro" Alain Locke. Write a brief analysis on either one of these two essays to be read in class.
Sept. 9 Read and Compare the literary styles of Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen. What thematic concerns do they share? How do they differ stylistically, rhetorically, etc? Sept. 11 Pick two poems from each author and write a response addressing issues of style, form, content. Read responses to class.
Sept. 16 Read the poetry of Anne Spencer and Georgia Douglas Johnson.
Sept. 18 Read the poetry of Gwendolyn Bennett and Helene Johnson. Compare any two and write a brief analysis to be read in class.
Sept. 23. Mandatory Library Session. Lib RM 124. Conduct research on Harlem Renaissance figures, issues, etc for mid-term paper.
Sept. 25. Cane:
Toomer. Read and analyze the
short stories. Pages 1089-1140.
Sept. 30 Toomer
continued. Analyze two short
stories and three poems. Write a
response to be read in class.
Toomer Continued. Student Responses.
Oct. 7 "The Negro Artist and The Racial Mountain" Langston Hughes.
Oct. 9 "The Negro Art Hokum" George Schuyler. Discuss the rhetorical strategies each writer employs to advance his argument? Which argument do you agree with? Is the one you disagree with well-argued? Explain your response in writing. Draft of 7-8 page paper due.
Oct. 14 Sterling Brown, Wallace Thurman, Arna Bontemps. Discuss.
Oct. 16 Discussion continued. One page response on any two poets.
Excerpts from Plum Bun: Jessie
Redmond Fausett. Discuss.
Oct. 23 Passing: Nella Larsen. First Paper Due (include works cited page)
Oct. 28 Passing . Discussion continued. Find and Read critique on text.
Oct. 30 Quicksand: Nella Larsen. Discuss with the help of textual criticism.
Nov 4 Written comparison of two of the following:Quicksand, Passing and Plum Bun. Nov 6. Their Eyes Were Watching God: Zora Neale Hurston.
Nov 11 Veteran's
Day. No Class.
Nov 13 Their Eyes Were Watching God: Zora Neale Hurston. Discuss.
Nov 18. Discussion of TEWWG continued
Nov 20 Using
secondary criticism, write a one page response on TEWWG and read to class.
Nov 25 Group Presentation-Students will plan and execute this session.
Nov 27 Group Presentation-Students will plan and execute this session.
Dec 2 Group Presentation and/or Review for Final Exam.
Do all readings by assigned dates.
Attendance is very important.
You are allowed only one unexcused absence; use it wisely. Two
significantly late appearances (20
minutes) to class will count as one absence. You cannot expect to participate
fully if you miss important discussions and lectures. Three or more absences will significantly lower your grade,
regardless of the reason you are out. When
you have an emergency situation and cannot attend, please bring paper-work to
class if you want it counted as an excused absence.
Late Papers: Late papers will not be accepted. However, if you are experiencing personal or job-related issues, you may ask for an extension ahead of time. Ahead of time means a week in advance or, in extenuating circumstances, several days before the paper is due.
In addition to the one page typed responses, you are
expected to complete one research paper, an oral presentation and a final exam.
Content and presentation are equally important in this class.
Papers must be neat, well organized and well researched. Your names must
be on your papers and on your research articles. Please number your pages.
Follow the MLA format for research papers (outlined in the Diana Hacker
Book or the MLA Handbook on Writing).
Pay attention to source documentation and bibliography.
For thesis building and problems with structure and/or grammar, the Diana
Hacker book is an excellent resource.
7-8 page research paper on a topic derived from
the first half of this course. You
will be given some basic guidelines and suggested paper topics, but you are
expected to come up with your own thesis based on class discussions and
lectures. Two secondary sources.
No More than 3 for a paper of this length.
Drafts are not
optional. Anyone who does
not turn in a draft, but turns in a flawless paper, is subject to having that
paper scrutinized closely for plagiarism.
First Paper 20%
Attendance and Participation 10%
Oral Presentation 20%
Final Exam 40%
If you do not turn in a final Exam you will fail the
The College of Arts and Sciences has very strict guidelines on incompletes.
The English Department strongly discourages incompletes.
is defined as submitting any piece of work written in whole or in part by
someone else as your own. It is a
serious offense and, if confirmed, will result in failure of the course.
All students are urged to read the section titled "Rights and
Responsibilities of Students" located in the FIU Student Handbook that
deals with academic misconduct in all forms and includes a complete definition
reserves the right to make changes to this syllabus if such changes are deemed