AJL17051 Introduction to African American History and Culture

Faculty of Arts
Spring 2025
Extent and Intensity
0/2/0. 6 credit(s). Type of Completion: zk (examination).
doc. PhDr. Tomáš Pospíšil, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Jeffrey Alan Vanderziel, B.A. (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
doc. PhDr. Tomáš Pospíšil, Ph.D.
Department of English and American Studies – Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: Tomáš Hanzálek
Supplier department: Department of English and American Studies – Faculty of Arts
Prerequisites (in Czech)
( AJ01002 Practical English II || AJL01002 Practical English II ) && AJL07002 Intro. to American Studies II
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is also offered to the students of the fields other than those the course is directly associated with.
The capacity limit for the course is 40 student(s).
Current registration and enrolment status: enrolled: 0/40, only registered: 0/40, only registered with preference (fields directly associated with the programme): 0/40
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
there are 12 fields of study the course is directly associated with, display
Course objectives
This course is designed to be a survey of the history of the single most significant minority group in the United States. From their first arrival as indentured servants in Jamestown in 1619 through the tumultuous events of this decade, Americans of African descent have played a crucial role in the shaping of American history, society and culture. This course will attempt to follow the nature and shape of this impact and will try to examine how African-Americans themselves view their own history and culture. Reading for this course will be based on a variety of historical material, including primary documents and modern historical works, articles, texts of speeches, works of fiction, poetry and music by African-American authors and artists. Audio and video material will also be used.
Learning outcomes
Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to identify and discuss the important topics and historical events that have impacted the African American community. They will be able to discuss the impact of African American culture on the broader American Culture. They will be able to recognize important figures in the history of African Americans and explain their contributions. They will be able to discuss the development of various culture forms including music and the arts within the African American community.
  • Module 1: Colonial America (Weeks 1-5)
  • Section 2: Ante-bellum America (Weeks 5-9)
  • Section 3: Post-Civil War America (Weeks 10-13)
  • Fims: Week 2: Africans in America: America's Journey Through Slavery. Part I: "The Terrible Transformation: 1607-1750" (1998)
  • Week 3: Africans in America: America's Journey Through Slavery. Part II: "Revolution: 1750-1805" (1998)
  • Week 4: Africans in America: America's Journey Through Slavery. Part III: "Brotherly Love: 1787-1834" (1998)
  • Week 5: Africans in America: America's Journey Through Slavery. Part IV: "Judgement Day: 1831-1861" (1998)
  • Week 6: Ethnic Notions (documentary) (1987), directed by Marlon Riggs
  • Week 7: Amistad (1997), directed by Steven Spielberg
  • Week 8: 12 Years a Slave (2013), directed by Steve McQueen
  • Week 9: Glory (1989), directed by Edward Zwick
  • Week 10: The Retrieval (2013), directed by Chris Eska
  • Week 11: Beloved (1998), directed by Jonathan Demme
  • Week 12: Rosewood (1997), directed by John Singleton
    required literature
  • TAKAKI, Ronald. A different mirror :a history of multicultural America. 1st ed. Boston: Back Bay Books, 1993, ix, 508 s. ISBN 0-316-83111-5. info
  • DOUGLASS, Frederick. Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave. Edited by John W. Blassingame. 1st pub. as a Yale Nota bene. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001, xli, 148. ISBN 0300087012. info
  • DU BOIS, W. E. B. (William Edward. Writings [Du Bois, 1986]. Edited by Nathan Irvin Huggins. New York, N.Y.: Literary Classics of the United States, 1986, 1334 p. ;. ISBN 0-940450-33-275. info
    recommended literature
  • The Heath anthology of American literature. Edited by Paul Lauter. Lexington: D.C. Heath, 1990, xliii, 293. ISBN 0-669-12064-2. info
  • The Heath anthology of American literature. Edited by Paul Lauter. Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath, 1990, xxxix, 261. ISBN 0-669-12065-0. info
  • The Norton Anthology of African American Literature. Edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Nellie Y. McKay. New York : W. W. Norton, 1997. xliv, 2665. ISBN 0-393-04001-1
Teaching methods
A 1.5 hour seminar per week with classroom discussion. In addition a documentary or feature film relating to African American issues will be shown each week.
Assessment methods
The assessment will be based on four parts: 1. The format of the exam is 3 essay questions. This will account for 60% of the final mark 2. A film review. All students will choose one of the feature films from weeks 7-12 and write a review of the film. This review will be submitted directly into ELF and will have a minimum length of 500 words. Details of the review will be discussed in class. This will account for 15 % of the final mark. 3. The Frederick Douglass essay counts for 15 % of the final mark 4. Class attendance and participation count for 10% of the final mark
Language of instruction
Further Comments
The course is taught annually.
The course is taught: every week.
Teacher's information
The course is also listed under the following terms Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2024.
  • Enrolment Statistics (Spring 2025, recent)
  • Permalink: https://is.muni.cz/course/phil/spring2025/AJL17051