FALL 2013
Africana Studies 260
Dr. Charles Toombs
Africana Literary Study
Office: AL 373A
TTH 11:00-12:15
Office Hours: M 10-12, T 9-11, W 10-1, TH 9-11
and by appointment
PSFA 310
Schedule #: 20088
Phone: 594-6532 or 594-6531
Required Texts:
Toni Morrison. The Bluest Eye. 1994.
Barbara H. Solomon and W. Reginald Rampone, Jr., Eds. An African Quilt: 24 Modern African
Stories. Signet Classics, 2013.
Demetrice A. Worley and Jesse Perry, Jr., eds. African American Literature. National
Textbook, Co., 1998.
Catalog Description: Oral and written literature produced by people of African descent. How
Africana people use language to communicate their history and culture. Basic literary
vocabulary, techniques, and theories for the non-specialist.
Course Description:
AFRAS 260 introduces a sampling of the wide range of literature produced by people of African
descent. In addition, the course employs literary vocabulary, techniques, and theories that are
necessary to analyze and interpret the literature, to assist in preparing written and oral
assignments and in passing quizzes, midterm, and final examinations.
AFRAS 260 assumes as one of its major premises that the confluence of content (theme and
subject), form (aesthetic structures), and context (social, political, historical, geographical, etc.)
of the literature helps to reveal the complex impulses of Africana experience. In this regard, the
literary texts are repositories of reliable examples of Africana people’s history, culture, dreams,
desires, world-view, and so forth. Another major premise of the course is that Africana literature
is world literature in that Africana peoples are situated throughout the world. Therefore the
experience of Africana people as represented in their literature is universal human experience.
The mode of presentation is lecture-discussion
This course is one of four Foundations courses that you will take in the area of Humanities and
Fine Arts. Upon completing this area of Foundations, you will be able to: 1) analyze written,
visual, or performed texts in the humanities and fine arts with sensitivity to their diverse cultural
contexts and historical moments; 2) describe various aesthetic and other value systems and the
ways they are communicated across time and cultures; 3) identify issues in the humanities that
have personal and global relevance; 4) demonstrate the ability to approach complex problems
and ask complex questions drawing upon knowledge of the humanities
A few of the Learning Outcomes of this course are: students successfully completing AFRAS
260 should be able to do any or all of the following:
1. Explicate primary literary texts
2. Analyze in essays, quizzes, and exams a significant response to Africana literature
3. Assess and describe the significance of a literary work by paying attention to the
confluence of content, form, and context
4. Elucidate the significance of a literary work to self and contemporary society
5. Compare the literatures of diverse societies or diverse cultures within a society
6. Employ literary terms and vocabulary with expertise and sophistication
7. Persuasively defend interpretations and positions by generously using and analyzing
details found in the primary texts and the contexts of the literature
8. Where present, assess the impact of white rule and/or authority (oppression) on themes
and issues in the literature and Africana writers’ resistance to such oppression
9. Describe, critique, assess, and analyze literary strategies used by writers to include
authentic representations of Africana culture, history, philosophy, world-view, and
Other departmental goals and objectives:
Goal 3: Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of Africana culture and world-view
Objectives: (1) Explain the major principles and values of Africana world-view and culture, (2)
Explain the major moral, philosophical and ethical elements of Africana world-view and culture,
(3) Explain the role of Africana world-view in contemporary society
Goal 4: Demonstrate an ability to think critically, analyze issues and present them orally and in
Objectives: (1) Analytically present and support an argument, (2) Critique the ideas and opinions
of others, (3) Write and present a cohesive argument demonstrating knowledge of
documentation, organization, and the mechanics of writing
Grading and Testing:
Four quizzes (short essay/answer)
= 20%
One group presentation of readings
= 5%
One essay (2-3 pp, MLA style)
Midterm Examination (essay in format)
Final Examination (essay in format)
Class Participation
A(95-100); A-(90-94);B+(86-89);B(83-85);B-(80-82);C+(76-79);C(73-75);C-(70-72);D+(6669);D(63-65);D-(60-62); F(0-59)
Essays must be submitted on Blackboard to Turn-It-In
The Essay is an analysis of the novel, The Bluest Eye.
Specific Essay Assignment Guidelines will be posted on Blackboard.
be posted on Blackboard.
Students who need accommodation of their disabilities should contact me privately to discuss
specific accommodations for which they have received authorization. If you have a disability,
but have not contacted Student Disability Services at 619-594-6473 (Calpulli Center, Suite
3101), please do so before making an appointment to see me.
A student who has more than three un-excused absences will find it more difficult to pass this
course. Un-excused absence # 4 will lower the student’s final grade by five points. Un-excused
absence # 5 will lower the grade by another five points and so on. The point: if you want to
succeed in this course, you will need to attend regularly and actively participate.
Other Requirements:
Late assignments will not be accepted and make-up quizzes and exams will not be given without
my prior consent (unless an emergency occurs that prevents you from notifying me ahead of
Come to class on time and leave when the class is dismissed
Do not sleep in this class
Do not text-message during class
Please be courteous and respectful to fellow classmates and the instructor at all times
Come to class prepared, meaning that you have read the assigned texts and have thought
about them
Plagiarism is serious. Please read the section on plagiarism in the SDSU 2013-2014 General
Catalog. If you have any questions about plagiarism, please ask me.
Course Outline:
Week 1 (Aug 27-29)
T Introduction to course
TH Africana Experience
Week 2 (Sept 3-5)
T Literature of Slavery
Worley, pp. xiii-xxii
Imagining Slavery
TH Worley, Harper, p. 149, Wheatley, p. 152
Week 3 (Sept 10-12)
T Douglass, p. 158
TH Garnet, p. 163, Turner p. 170
Explain and analyze literary strategies and emphases used by
writers to include authentic representations of the slave experience,
including individual and communal responses to it. Assess the
impact of white oppression and/or authority on black people.
Define and demonstrate how masking works in a text. Identify
emerging African American values during slavery. Explicate and
analyze themes and meanings in the literature. Critique
emerging examples of black leadership.
Week 4 (Sept 17-19)
T After Emanciaption: Accomodation, Compromise, Protest,
Chesnutt, p. 418, Dunbar, p. 226
TH Du Bois, pp. 260, 297, and 211, Washington, p. 206
Quiz # 1(on the literature of slavery)
Explain and assess the contexts of Reconstruction and PostReconstruction. Demonstrate the various ways writers respond
to these two contexts. Demonstrate how writers add diversity
and complexity to African American experience, by considering
class, gender, segregation, integration, accommodation, and
resistance to social, political, economic, and cultural oppression.
Describe and assess how writers respond to cultural and racial
identity issues. Define and assess double-consciousness. Describe
and assess Jim Crow-ism and Southern terrorism on African
Americans and their responses to it. Compare and assess divergent
Black leadership responses to oppression. Describe what might be
called a “black voice” in the literature.
Week 5 (Sept 24-26)
T Harlem or New Negro Renaissance
McKay, p. 190, Hughes pp. 133, 192, 402, and 479
TH Hughes (“Theme for English B—posted on Blackboard)
Bontemps, p. 383, G.D. Johnson, p. 358, Brown, p. 368, J. W.
Johnson, p. 65
Quiz # 2 (on post-slavery literature)
Identify important precursors to the Harlem Renaissance. Explain
how the new negro is different from the old negro. Identify and
assess major goals of Harlem Renaissance writers. Describe,
critique, and analyze writers’ representations of African American
experience, issues, and concerns in 1920s and 1930s America,
including colorism, class, double-consciousness, black
nationalism, “civil rights by copyright,” gender concerns,
urban and rural folk culture, and others.
Week 6 (Oct 1-3)
T Hurston, p. 432
TH Morrison, The Bluest Eye, beginning to p. 58
Week 7 (Oct 8-10)
T The Bluest Eye, p. 61-93
Quiz # 3 (on Harlem Renaissance Lit from McKay to Hurston)
TH The Bluest Eye, p. 97-131
Week 8 (Oct 15-17)
T The Bluest Eye, p. 132-183
TH The Bluest Eye, 187-216
Describe and assess Morrison’s representation of the
black family and community. Analyze key issues and concerns as
these relate to race, class, gender, sexuality, and colorism.
Analyze and assess Morrison’s creation of key characters to
address the novel’s concerns with identity, self-hatred, racism,
oppression, and other forms of discrimination that make it difficult
for characters to live healthy and productive lives. Identify and
evaluate the key issues facing black girls growing up in America.
Describe and analyze authentic depictions of black history, culture,
values, traditions, and heritage in the novel.
Week 9 (Oct 22-24)
T Midterm Examination (Lit of Slavery to The Bluest Eye)
TH African American Literature of the 1940s and 1950s
M. Walker, p. 458, Brooks, p. 429
Week 10 (Oct 29-31)
T Wright, p. 404, Baldwin, p. 107
Describe, critique and assess representations of authentic
African American history, culture, and concerns of literature
of the 1940s and 1950s. Describe and assess how history and
heritage work in a text. Assess representations of black urban
and rural experience in the texts.
TH The Black Arts Movement and Beyond
DUE: Essay on The Bluest Eye
Angelou, p. 203, Malcolm X, p. 310, Evans, p. 290
Week 11 (Nov 5-7)
T Giovanni, p. 294, Thomas, p. 257, Madhubuti, p. 305
TH Marshall, p. 342, A.Walker, p. 467, Shange, p. 352,
Describe and assess ideas important to the Black Aesthetic/
Black Arts Movement. Discuss the role of literature to black
liberation of the 1960s and beyond. Analyze and critique Black
Feminist/Womanist concerns and values. Critique what it means
to make the literature “black.”
Week 12 (Nov 12-14)
T The African Experience
All selections are from An African Quilt
Achebe, “Civil Peace,” Okoye, “The Power of a Plate of Rice”
TH Aidoo, “Two Sisters,’ Head, “Earth Love”
Week 13 (Nov 19-21)
T Baingana, “First Kiss”
Quiz # 4 (on literature from M. Walker to Shange)
TH wa Thiong’o, “Minutes of Glory”
Week 14 (Nov 26-28)
T Gurnah, “Cages”
TH Thanksgiving Holiday
Week 15 (Dec 3-5)
T Mungoshi, “Who Will Stop the Dark”
TH Kanengoni, “Effortless Tears”
Describe and assess spiritual and cultural values,
including gender roles, communal-self/kinship. Assess the
collision of colonialism on African life. Describe and
analyze individual responsibility to family/group/village life.
Analyze and assess how the stories reveal and represent the
complexity of African life, values, customs, characters . . .
Week 16 (Dec 10)
Last day of course and Review
Final Examination: Tuesday, December 17, 10:30 am-12:30pm