AJ5301 African American Experience

Faculty of Education
Autumn 2021
Extent and Intensity
0/1/0. 3 credit(s). Type of Completion: k (colloquium).
Michael George, M.A. (seminar tutor)
Mgr. Jiří Šalamoun, Ph.D. (seminar tutor)
Guaranteed by
Mgr. Jiří Šalamoun, Ph.D.
Department of English Language and Literature - Faculty of Education
Contact Person: Jana Popelková
Supplier department: Department of English Language and Literature - Faculty of Education
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 30 student(s).
Current registration and enrolment status: enrolled: 0/30, only registered: 0/30, only registered with preference (fields directly associated with the programme): 0/30
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
there are 32 fields of study the course is directly associated with, display
Course objectives
This course acquaints students with the experience of African Americans in the USA, since its beginning in the 17th century till the first attempts at integration during the 1960s. The course is divided into two blocks. The first examines the Middle passage and its impact on the transported Africans in America via reading of slave narratives and Toni Morrison's Beloved. The second block focuses on occurrences that significantly influenced the lives of African Americans and puts them in context. Hence, students discuss the Jim Crow phenomenon, white supremacy and its standard of beauty. These themes are fully studied in Morrison's "The Bluest Eye."
Learning outcomes
At the end of the course, the students will be:
- knowledgeable of major social trends that have shaped the lives of African Americans in the U.S
- capable of linking the social trends with particular literary works and comment on their intersection
- familiar with the ouevre of Toni Morrison, her major novels, and recurrent themes
- capable to trace connections to contemporary issues and literature which reflects the African American experience
  • The course is co-taught by a lecturer of history and a lecturer of literature. The participants meet for two blocks (where the duration of each is six hours). Between these blocks, the students read supporting materials from the field of history and literature and reflect on them in online discussion forums. The first block focuses on "Beloved" and the second on "The Bluest Eye."
  • 1. Introduction: Thomas Jefferson and The Declaration of Independence
  • 2. Beloved and the Middle Passage
  • 3. The origins of slavery and the triangular slave trade
  • 4. Beloved and the trauma of slavery
  • 5. The Enlightenment and the roots of racism: the economy of slavery
  • 6. Beloved and memory
  • 7. Student reflection of slave narratives and Jim Crow
  • 8. The Bluest Eye: the impacts of migration to the North
  • 9. African Americans and the white ideal of beauty
  • 10. The Bluest Eye and the black aesthetics of beauty
  • 11. Integrating and segregation in the 1960s: Martin Luther King and Malcolm X
  • 12. The Bluest Eye: children as the hope for a better future?
    required literature
  • MORRISON, Toni. The bluest eye. New York: Plume, 1994. 215 s. ISBN 0-452-27305-6. info
  • MORRISON, Toni. Beloved. London: Picador, 1988. 273 s. ISBN 0-330-30471-2. info
    recommended literature
  • Tally, J. (Ed.). (2007). The Cambridge Companion to Toni Morrison. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Fisch, A. (Ed.). (2007). The Cambridge Companion to the African American Slave Narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Gates, H. L. (2012). The Classic Slave Narratives. New York: Signet.
Teaching methods
This course is organized as a block option seminar, meaning that the class meets as a discussion group for 6 hours at the beginning of the semester, then remains in contact throughout the semester as students post their comments on the assigned readings. The semester then ends with another 6 hour discussion. Both class meetings are organized as traditional "round table" discussion seminars in which students come to class having read the assigned texts and discuss it in open conversation around the seminar table. The key to the discussions is to identify, explain and evaluate the connections between the given piece of literature and its cultural and historical context.
Assessment methods
Preparation (including reading 2 novels), attendance and full voluntary participation of all 6 hours of both workshops, completion of three sets of mid-semester readings and their discussion in the on-line forum.
Language of instruction
Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
The course is taught annually.
The course is taught: in blocks.
Note related to how often the course is taught: dopolední blok 8.30-13.30, sobota 2. 10. a pátek 17. 12. 2021.
General note: Předmět bude realizován, pokud se přihlásí alespoň 15 studentů.
Information on the extent and intensity of the course: 12 hodin ve 2 blocích.
Teacher's information
FOR ONLINE SEMESTER: Students are requested to secure good internet connection in order to participate in online lessons as indicated in the schedule. Students must attend these meetings with both the sound and camera on.
The course is also listed under the following terms Autumn 2017, Autumn 2018, Autumn 2019, autumn 2020.
  • Enrolment Statistics (Autumn 2021, recent)
  • Permalink: https://is.muni.cz/course/ped/autumn2021/AJ5301