ENG 257 : Contemporary African-American Women's Writing

Students will read short stories, novels, autobiographies, speeches, essays, poems, memoirs, and plays by some of the most celebrated writers in the world today. In reading literature written in the past two decades by and about African American women, students will examine the historical, cultural, and social dimensions of African American women's experiences. These writers - winners of National Book Awards, Pulitzer Prizes, and Nobel Prizes for Literature - raise fundamental issues relevant to men and women of all races and ethnicities. The writings of Maya Angelou, Octavia Butler, Rita Dove, Audre Lorde, Terry McMillan, Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor, Ntozake Shange, Alice Walker, and others will be explored. Prerequisite: ENG 102 or permission of instructor. Three lecture hours per week. Gen. Ed. Competencies Met: Human Expression and Multicultural and Social Perspectives.
  1. Understand the particular significance of African American women expressing themselves and their expressions being published.
  2. Identify connections between social and cultural histories and common themes in the literature.
  3. Interpret the literature by taking into consideration the biographical backgrounds of the individual writers.
  4. Apply essays by African American women about literature by African American women to analysis of the literature.
  5. Analyze ways in which issues in the literature intersect with the lives of readers.