ENG 355 Harlem Renaissance

COURSE DESCRIPTION

Parties. Politics. Polite conversation. These are just a few things that reflect the complexities of The Harlem Renaissance, one of the most significant cultural and political movements in the United States, a movement that was neither confined to Harlem, nor a renaissance of African American writing. The course will interrogate the interracial and transnational elements of the movement through images and texts, especially the impact of Mexico, Africa and Asia on creative and cultural production.

TEXTS

Larsen, Nella. Quicksand and Passing.

Du Bois, W.E.B. Dark Princess.

Van Vechten, Carl. Nigger Heaven.

Schuyler, George. Black No More.

Lewis, David Levering. The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader.

ASSIGNMENTS

Quizzes: These exercises test reading comprehension, which measures a student’s initial ability to engage in close reading of a text prior to discussion. These quizzes are open-book, timed (at 20 minutes) and administered through Blackboard. Quizzes are available 24 hours before the close time, which is class time on the day indicated in the schedule. Students are strongly encouraged to read the selections before beginning the quiz.  The quiz will show each question at a time, and does not allow backtracking.

Analysis (3): These analyses provide opportunities for students to engage in close reading of texts and interrogate the ways that literary texts inform each other. Because we discuss these readings in class on the day they are due, students will not receive credit for late assignments. Analyses are late after class starts on the day the analyses are due.   There are three kinds of literary analyses:

  • Analysis 1: Students will respond to a prompt posed by the instructor on an image related to the day’s reading placed online by the instructor. This analysis should be no more than two pages in length.
  • Analysis 2: Students will respond to a prompt posed by the instructor related to the day’s reading on two authors using direct textual evidence to support their claims. These analyses should be no more than two pages in length.
  • Analysis 3: Students will create their own prompt and answer the question using direct textual evidence to support their claims. This analysis should cover at least one text and at least one image not covered in class. This analysis should be no more than three pages in length.

Annotated Bibliography: This assignment provides an opportunity for students to engage the arguments of secondary source material. An annotated bibliography entry consists of two parts: the citation and the annotation, or the description of the source. An annotated bibliography allows students to determine the best sources for their topic by articulating the source’s thesis, the supporting points of the thesis, and the usefulness, or relevance of that source. It allows students to easily access key points for later use in their major project.

Major Research Project: This assignment provides an opportunity for students to engage in close reading and image interpretation, as well as use secondary source material. Working in groups of four, students will construct a virtual museum exhibit using both literature and images from the Harlem Renaissance. It includes two parts:

  • Exhibit: Each group will create an exhibit using the web-based presentation program Prezi. The primary criteria for grading will be the cohesive nature of the project.
  • Catalogue: Each student will be responsible for a section of the exhibit catalog, which should include discussions of both text and images and will be created using InDesign, an online software used to create online magazines. Students should think of this assignment as the written portion of an exhibition catalog for a museum exhibit.

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