Skip Navigation
search: People Opens New Window | Departments Opens New Window | Penn State Opens New Window | Web Opens New Window
Penn State mark
Penn State mark
University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

English (ENGL)

ENGL 469 (US) (AF AM 469) Slavery and the Literary Imagination (3) The impact of slavery on the petitions, poetry, slave narratives, autobiographies, and novels of African Americans.

ENGL (AAA S) 469 Slavery and the Literary Imagination (3)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

ENGL/AAA S 469 provides an opportunity for undergraduate students to examine African American petitions, poetry, slave narratives, autobiographies, and novels as literary reconstructions of the economics, politics, ethics, and poetics of slavery. Authors under consideration will vary from class to class, but may include writers such as Paul Laurence Dunbar, Phillis Wheatley, F. Harper, James Weldon Johnson, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Sterling Brown, Booker T. Washington, Harriet Jacobs, W. W. Brown, Harriet Wilson, Margaret Walker, Arna Bontemps, D. Bradley, S. A. Williams, Toni Morrison, Ishmael Reed, and Charles Johnson. The course will focus on the complex relationship of slavery to the literary imagination of Americans of African descent as they increasingly discovered the limitations and possibilities of reading and writing themselves into freedom, literacy, and wholeness as human beings and American citizens. Topics covered will vary, but will include issues of the legacy of slavery in the west; the political aims and rhetorical conventions of African-American autobiography; the myths and realities of slavery; economic, political, ethical, and aesthetic issues of the representation of slavery; understandings of black consciousness and black culture on the road from slavery to freedom; the rise of African American realism as a response to the legacy of slavery; Black Feminism and issues of slavery; the role of history and memory in the construction of slavery; post-modern configurations of slavery; and the like. This class will prepare students for advanced courses in African American literature, as well as other academic courses that engage in the verbal and written analysis of complex written forms. Students will be evaluated by class participation, a group oral presentation, small group problem solving exercises, three out-of-class essays (of 5-8 pages each), and an in-class final examination consisting of essays and short answers. AAA S/ENGL 469 will satisfy one of the six 300H-400 level courses required for the major in English and the required 400 level course for the emphasis in African American literature within the major. It can also satisfy one of the six courses required for a minor in English. The course may be used as English Major elective credit or as credit towards the English minor. It will also be important in the offerings of African and African American Studies, American Studies, and American History. This course can be used to fulfill major requirements on the African and African American Studies major. It will be offered once every other year, with 40 seats per offering.

General Education: None
Diversity: US
Bachelor of Arts: Humanities
Effective: Fall 2012
Prerequisite: ENGL 015 orENGL 030

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


Look up course abbreviations

Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

Skip Popular Searches
  1. Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements
  2. General Education: United States Cultures and International Cultures
  3. Course Index
  4. Graduate Degree Programs Bulletin
  5. General Education: Arts
  6. General Education: Humanities
  7. General Education: Health and Physical Activity
  8. General Education: Natural Sciences
  9. General Education: Social and Behavioral Sciences
  10. General Education: Writing/Speaking