Black Critics, Black Culture

What makes African American art distinctive? What responsibilities do black artists have to each other or to society as a whole? In this course, we will discuss what “African American art” is, can, and should be. We will analyze texts from a wide range of genres, including editorials, manifestos, literary essays, poems, and music videos. English 102 expands on English 101 by developing critical reading and writing skills. We will practice crafting a thesis, evaluating and citing sources, paraphrasing, summarizing, and revising by writing an artistic manifesto, literary analysis, reflective essay, and researched-based argument.

Student Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the course, students will:

  1. Identify and implement appropriate writing strategies for different rhetorical situations.
  2. Demonstrate critical thinking by producing a unified, coherent, grammatically and mechanically sound essay.
  3. Develop an effective personal style by recognizing the choices involved in the use of written language.
  4. Practice key revision strategies, by revising for sound argumentation, paragraph coherence, and sentence clarity.
  5. Become actively involved in their own learning by suggesting topics or activities to the instructor and by doing course-related inquiry beyond that assigned.
  6. Perceive direct or tangential relationships between this course and knowledge content in other disciplines.
  7. Develop a carefully documented research project relevant to their intended major field.
  8. Use electronic environments for drafting, reviewing, revising, editing, researching, and sharing text.

Course Assignments:

  • Participation—10%
    • Attendance
    • Class discussion
    • In-class exercises/peer review sessions
  • Reading Summaries—10%
    • One-page synopsis of assigned readings
  • Artistic Manifesto Rough Draft—10%
  • Mid-term exam—10%
    • Reflective Essay
  • Literary Analysis Rough Draft—10%
  • Revision—20%
    • Revision Strategy
    • Revised draft of Artistic Manifesto or Literary Analysis
  • Researched Argument—30%
    • Annotated bibliography
    • Outline
    • Rough draft
    • Revised draft

Schedule

Unit I—Core Skills

Week 1—Introductions

Thursday 8/16

  • Discussion
    • Syllabus Review
    • In-class writing assessment
  • Homework
    • Reading and Responding to Text, SCW 40-72

Week 2—Critical Reading

Tuesday 8/21

  • Discussion
    • Reading and Responding to Text
  • Homework
    • Reading Arguments, SCW 546-564

Thursday 8/23

  • Discussion
    • Reading Arguments
  • Homework
    • Read, annotate, and summarize Clint Smith, “What Would W. E. B. Du Bois Make of Black Panther?”

Week 3—Critical Reading, continued

Tuesday 8/28

  • Discussion
    • Smith, “What Would W. E. B. Du Bois Make of Black Panther?”
  • Homework
    • Read, annotate, and summarize Stephen L. Carter, “Let HBO Make ‘Confederate’ Before You Judge It”
    • Read, annotate, and summarize Roxanne Gay, “I Don’t Want to Watch Slavery Fan Fiction”

Thursday 8/30

  • Discussion
    • Carter, “Let HBO Make ‘Confederate’ Before You Judge It”
    • Gay, “I Don’t Want to Watch Slavery Fan Fiction”
  • Homework
    • Writing Arguments, SCW 572-580

Unit II—Racial Aesthetics

Week 4—The Harlem Renaissance

Tuesday 9/4

  • Discussion
    • Artistic Manifesto assignment
    • Writing Arguments
  • Homework
    • Read, annotate, and summarize W.E.B. Du Bois, “Criteria of Negro Art”

Thursday 9/6

  • Discussion
    • Approaches to writing Artistic Manifesto
    • Du Bois, “Criteria of Negro Art”
  • Homework
    • Read, annotate, and summarize Langston Hughes, “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain”

Week 5—Social Realism

Tuesday 9/11

  • Discussion
    • Hughes, “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain”
  • Homework
    • Read, annotate, and summarize Richard Wright, “Between Laughter and Tears”

Thursday 9/13

  • Discussion
    • Wright, “Between Laughter and Tears”
  • Homework
    • Read, annotate, and summarize James Baldwin, “Everybody’s Protest Novel”

Week 6—Modernism

Tuesday 9/18

  • Discussion
    • Baldwin, “Everybody’s Protest Novel”
  • Homework
    • Read, annotate, and summarize Ralph Ellison, “Change the Joke and Slip the Yoke”

Thursday 9/20

  • Discussion
    • Ellison, “Change the Joke and Slip the Yoke”
  • Homework
    • Read and annotate Reading and Writing about Literature, SCW 712-725
    • Artistic Manifesto rough draft

Friday 9/21: Artistic Manifesto Rough Draft due

Unit III—Literary Analysis

Week 7—Poetry

Tuesday 9/25

  • Discussion
    • Literary Analysis assignment
    • Reading and Writing about Literature
  • Homework
    • Read and annotate Gwendolyn Brooks, “kitchenette building”

Thursday 9/27

  • Discussion
    • Approaches to Literary Analysis assignment
    • Brooks, “kitchenette building”
  • Homework
    • Read and annotate Kevin Young, “Aunties”

Week 8—Poetry, continued

Tuesday 10/2

  • Discussion
    • Kevin Young, “Aunties”
  • Homework
    • Read and annotate Natasha Trethewey, “Elegy for the Native Guards”

Thursday 10/4

  • Independent work day

Friday 10/5: Mid-term exam Reflective Essay due

Week 9—Poetry, continued

Tuesday 10/9

  • Fall break—no class

Thursday 10/11

  • Discussion
    • Natasha Trethewey, “Elegy for the Native Guards”
  • Homework
    • Read and annotate Danez Smith, “Dinosaurs in the Hood”

Week 10—Poetry, continued

Tuesday 10/16

  • Discussion
    • Danez Smith, “Dinosaurs in the Hood”
  • Homework
    • Developing and Supporting a Thesis, SCW 118-131

Thursday 10/18

  • Discussion
    • Developing and Supporting a Thesis
  • Homework
    • Revising Content and Organization, SCW 174-193

Friday 10/19: Literary Analysis Rough Draft due

Unit IV Revision

Week 11—Revision Strategies

Tuesday 10/23

  • Discussion
    • In-class peer review activity
    • Revising Content and Organization
  • Homework
    • Editing Sentences and Words, SCW 194-213

Thursday 10/25

  • Discussion
    • In-class peer review activity
    • Editing Sentences and Words
  • Homework
    • Finding Sources, Taking Notes, and Synthesizing, SCW628-651
    • Revision Strategy

Friday 10/26: Revision Strategy due

Unit V—Research

Week 12—Research Methods

Tuesday 10/30

  • Discussion
    • Research Essay assignment
    • Finding Sources, Taking Notes, and Synthesizing
  • Homework
    • Planning a Research Project and Evaluating Sources, SCW 612-627

Thursday 11/1

  • Discussion
    • Approaches to Research Essay assignment
    • Planning a Research Project and Evaluating Sources
  • Homework
    • Illustration, SCW 315-320
    • Process Analysis, SCW 348-352
    • Comparison and Contrast, SCW 383-387
    • Classification and Division, SCW 424-427
    • Cause and Effect, SCW 493-497
    • Revised Artistic Manifesto or Literary Analysis

Friday 11/2: Revised Artistic Manifesto or Literary Analysis due

Week 13—Research Methods, continued

Tuesday 11/6

  • Discussion
    • Illustration, Process Analysis, Comparison and Contrast, Classification and Division, and Cause and Effect
  • Homework
    • Read, annotate, and summarize Vann Newkirk, “King’s Death Gave Birth to Hip Hop”
    • Documenting Your Sources: MLA Style, SCW 670-685

Thursday 11/8

  • Discussion
    • Documenting Your Sources: MLA Style
    • Newkirk, “King’s Death Gave Birth to Hip Hop”
  • Homework
    • Watch and annotate Beyoncé, “Formation”
    • Annotated Bibliography

Friday 11/9: Annotated Bibliography due

Week 14—Audio-Visual Analysis

Tuesday 11/13

  • Discussion
    • Beyoncé, “Formation”
  • Homework
    • Watch and annotate Janelle Monáe, “Q.U.E.E.N”

Thursday 11/15

  • Discussion
    • Janelle Monáe, “Q.U.E.E.N”
  • Homework
    • Watch and annotate Donald Glover, “This Is America”
    • Research Essay outline

Week 15—Audio-Visual Analysis, continued

Tuesday 11/20

  • Discussion
    • Outline due
    • Donald Glover, “This Is America”

Thursday 11/22

  • Thanksgiving—no class

Tuesday 11/27

  • Class wrap up

Friday 11/30: Research Essay draft due

Friday 12/7: Research Essay due \lsd