Arizona Quarterly article
I strive hardest to elicit and encourage the creativity of my students. In African American literature, I introduce students not only to the creativity of African American writers and explore with them the creative debates of the tradition, but also give them innovative avenues through which they can cultivate their own creativity. In upper level undergraduate and graduate courses, I try to bring forth students’ creativity by modeling and practicing the ways that research can lead to the creation of knowledge that challenges conventional wisdoms and reimagines individual subjectivity in an ever more complex world. Finally, in composition, I challenge students’ creativity by introducing them to a body of literature and thought that rethinks humans’ relationships with the environment, a subject in which they pursue their interests by choosing subjects that speak to them, their “home grounds,” and their dreamscapes. In all classes, I call on students to connect “art” with “real” life and thus to value intellectual diversity, as a means of creating new consciousnesses and creativities.
Fall 2009 classes
ENG 1050-020: Composition I
TR 8 to 9:15 a.m.
ENG 1050-901: Composition I Honors
TR 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Location: Oxendine Science Center
In these sections of Composition I, students will explore the Lumbee River as the central text in their study of environmental science. Students will write several four- to five-page essays, using relevant readings and experiences as source material, and create a final portfolio of their best work. Over the course of the semester, individually and in teams, students will learn how to navigate diverse rhetorical situations; enhance their skills of critical reading, writing, and thinking; and experiment with different, flexible, non-linear processes for producing drafts and undertaking revision. Required text: Jane Aaron, The Little, Brown Handbook with Exercises (ISBN 0-321-40914-0).
ENG 2100-001: African American Literature: Traditions and Contexts
MWF 9 to 9:50 a.m.
Location: 147 Dial Humanities Bldg.
Using a hands-on, interactive problem-based method, this course surveys the African American literary tradition, from the African origins of slave narratives to contemporary responses to and against that tradition. The texts on which the course is founded?short stories, novels, poetry, autobiography, and criticism?probe the role of language, culture, and imagination in the achievement of human freedom at the same time that they grapple with the ?real? social, historical, and cultural contexts from which they arise. In this course, students will gain an understanding of the common themes and concerns of African American literature in concert with the social, historical, and cultural contexts that frame those themes and concerns.
In keeping with the objectives of the University?s General Education program, this course will help you become ?students with broad vision, who are sensitive to values, who recognize the complexity of social problems, and who will be contributing citizens with an international perspective and an appreciation for achievements of diverse civilizations? (University Catalog http://www.uncp.edu/catalog/html/acad_prog.htm). Required texts: Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Nellie Y. McKay, eds., The Norton Anthology of African American Literature (ISBN 0-393-97778-1); Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (ISBN 0-06-112006-5); and Toni Morrison, A Mercy (ISBN 0-307-26423-8).
ENG 3100-001: The Harlem Renaissance
MWF 8 to 8:50 a.m.
Harlem and not-Harlem, rebirth and new birth, artists and appreciators, word and image, joy and contention, queer and straight, bold and meek, text and canvas, mind and body: the Harlem Renaissance, always dynamic, never static, refused and refuses definition. It is this chaotic order, and orderly chaos, that we will enter in ENG 3100 as we read, discuss, and explore fiction and nonfiction, prose and poetry, artifact and criticism, text and performance, and sound and vision. More important, we will attempt to reconstruct and relive the freedom, love, and urgency of the moment, as we join local high school students in the Purnell Swett HS Writing Lab in creating, editing, and publishing new texts for a new future. Assigned texts shall include a novel or two, short stories, poems, dramas, artworks, and music. Final grades shall be based on class discussion, group participation, writing, and service learning. Required texts: Nella Larsen, Quicksand (ISBN 0-486-45140-2); Venetria Patton and Maureen K. Honey, Double-Take: A Revisionist Anthology of the Harlem Renaissance (ISBN 0-8135-2930-1); George Schuyler, Black No More (ISBN 0-375-75380-X); Jean Toomer, Cane (ISBN 0-87140-151-7); and Wallace Thurman, Infants of the Spring (ISBN 1-55553-128-8).
This course may be used to fulfill a requirement of the African American studies minor. Please contact African American studies coordinator Frederick Stephens (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.