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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Mona Lisa Saloy
SOC 261
Seattle Campus

The African-American Experience Through Literature

Instructs students in hermeneutical and sociological methods of analyses. Analyzes selected novels, essays, poems, short stories, and plays with the purpose of understanding the structures and functions of both society and personality. Offered: jointly with AFRAM 261.

Class description

This survey of African American Studies will attempt to cover a broad sweep of Black intellectual thought, with attention to folk traditions and the literature, from its beginnings in Africa, the oral tradition there and in America, as documented in the slave narratives, through the major historical periods and popular culture, including the Harlem Renaissance, the Beat era, the Black Arts Movement to the end of the twentieth century, with some consideration of the study as it is evolving today. Guided by significant historical and cultural events and the intellectual tradition in non-fiction prose, the goal is to gain an overview of the rich semantic tradition of Blacks in America in various literary genres, folk traditions, cultural and political movements, and intellectual concerns throughout the Black American experience.

Student learning goals

Understand the mmajor historical forces infuencing Blacks in America

Understand the major cultural forces aiding the survival of Blacks in America

Understand the influence of Black culture on popular culture and how the two are intertwined

General method of instruction

Reading the intellectual trdition and creative literature, viewing films, listening to music, viewing visual art, with lectures, class discussion, critical reviews

Recommended preparation

Any listed in the University of Washington catalogue; otherwise, all one needs is a willingness to learn and an openness to the truth of the American experience

Class assignments and grading

A few traditional quizes, non-traditional quizes, one individual research paper, and one group research presentation with non-traditional mid-term and final exam

Grades are based on the average performance on all assignments, quizes, exams, and research, though each value varies.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Mona Lisa Saloy
Date: 01/29/2007