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MFA Course Descriptions

IMF 53707
Selected Emphases in Fiction: African American Literature

Instructor: Tony D'Souza

Class Type: Literature

Course Description: This literature course explores the African American literary novel within the context of the African American experience. Students will analyze works from a literary perspective and a writer’s perspective. The reading list includes six novels from the past 100 years that span African American history from slavery (Beloved) to segregation and Jim Crow laws (Their Eyes Were Watching God, Quicksand), to the Civil Rights era (The Women of Brewster Place), to the West Coast aspects of the Great Migration (Devil in a Blue Dress), to our own era and Hurricane Katrina (Salvage the Bones). As we discuss these novels, we will deepen our understanding of the different periods of African American history, including the Middle Passage (the long journey in slave ships from West Africa to the New World), the Antebellum slave period from earliest colonial America through Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War. We will discuss lynching in the Reconstruction South, and how African Americans left the South for better opportunities in the North and West during the different waves of the Great Migration. We will look at the flowering of African American learning, arts and culture during the Harlem Renaissance. African American history is American history, and African American literature is American literature. These are tales of unimaginable struggle and incredible uplift that distill our shared past and teach us what it truly means to be American.


The Women of Brewster Place
Gloria Naylor
ISBN 9780140066906

Their Eyes Were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston
ISBN 9780061120060

Devil in a Blue Dress
Walter Mosley
ISBN 9780743451796

Toni Morrison
ISBN 9781400033416

Salvage the Bones
Jesmyn Ward
ISBN 9781608196265

Nella Larsen
ISBN 9781891396991

Lindenwood University
209 S. Kingshighway
St. Charles, MO 63301