Digital Essays: Literature Seminar

For ENG 359: African American Novels, each student creates a digital essay and posts it to polygrafi. This assignment provides the opportunity for students to engage in digital writing for interdisciplinary projects and to visually represent their argument with an infographic (not included below).

Writing online is fundamentally different from writing a traditional academic paper. It is designed to be read on a computer screen and located in searches from databases and search engines. It also allows writers to use multimedia (combination of text, audio, still images, animation, or interactive content forms like links and polls) to supplement your writing.

Students are assessed using the following rubric:

Rubric for Digital Essay: Upper Level Literature Seminar

Rubric for Digital Essay: Upper Level Literature Seminar

The following essays by students effectively demonstrate literary and visual analysis:

A WOMAN’S STRUGGLE FOR LIBERATION:  Throughout Afro-Modernism and the Black Arts Movement, the identity of black women has been discussed, defined and critiqued. In the novels “Quicksand” and “The Cotillion” both characters struggle in defining themselves due to racial and class pressure given from the society surrounding them.  However, these struggles were inevitable and necessary for the liberation of women.

THE DELICACY OF RACIAL APPEARANCE: BLACKNESS AND WHITENESS IN AFROMODERNISM AND POST-BLACK:  As demonstrated in The Cotillion and Caucasia, the performances of blackness and whiteness are constructed and rigid enough to be emulated and acted out by a person not included in the actual culture from which the identity was formed.  The extent of that performance is dependent on location, appearance, and circumstance.

FUNERALS AND POLITICS: BLACK ORATION IN THE AFRO-MODERN AND POST-SOUL AESTHETIC:  The African American oral tradition has long been utilized to explore identity and society. While many of these practices are meaningful, it is eulogies and political speeches that mark critical moments in life as well as in history, drawing upon ideas of racial consciousness and contemporary grievances that find commonality throughout the Afro-Modern and Post-Soul aesthetics.

BLACKNESS AS A PERFORMANCE: AFRO-MODERNISM, THE BLACK ARTS MOVEMENT, AND THE POST-SOUL AESTHETIC:  Blackness is a fluid and complex identity, yet American society constructs black male identity through stereotypes and narrow definitions of blackness. Black men must navigate this prepackaged identity in a “performance” of blackness, which has evolved through the literary periods of Afro-Modernism, the Black Arts Movement, and the Post-Soul Aesthetic.

ARE YOU DOWN? APPEARANCE SHIFTS IN RESPONSE TO WHITENESS:  Afro-modernism and the Black Arts Movement both emphasize ways in which whiteness should be dealt with. Fear of whiteness in Nella Larsen’s Quicksand and John Oliver Killen’s TheCotillion dictates how female characters choose their appearance through negotiation and resistance.


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