African American/Africa Diaspora Studies

This model provides direction through the English major with a focus on African American/African Diaspora cultural forms of representation and discourse production. By this, we mean the production of vernacular traditions, oral traditions, political prose, film, and written traditions (such as manuscripts and books) as well as a wide range of sociopolitical ideologies, literary history, and technologies. The model offers the student a vehicle for exploring the impact of African, Caribbean, and African American cultures upon the vast landscape of American forms of representation.

No American experience or its representation in language and art is isolated from a shared social context in which groups struggle against or work through stratification by region, race, class, gender, or sexual preference. These types of stratification are associated with social, economic, and political marginalization; cultural production is an arena in which socially organized people within specific historical moments give voice to the effects of (and identities recovered from) their marginalization. The literature and other representational forms of African American/African Diaspora people in American are no different. They are both reflections of experience and meditations on experience. Therefore, issues relating to each of these modes of stratification are of particular concern for the student who pursues this model.

Listed below are six required courses and several courses the student may select to satisfy the English major. Also provided are recommended elective courses outside the English Department. Since African American history is an intrinsic part of many socio-political ideologies framing American cultural production, this model recommends that students take at least one course in history (or an English course that is interdisciplinary in this area). A knowledge of African American Studies as presented beyond the English Department offerings (such as courses in the Afro-American Studies Program or Anthropology) will be beneficial also. Listed below are recommendations for electives in each of these areas.

African American Literary History (All 3):

  • AML 3270 African Am. Lit. I
  • AML 3271 African Am. Lit. II
  • LIT 4483 Issues & Methods in Cultural Studies

Forms of Representation (Choose 2):

  • AML 4685 Race & Ethnicity
  • ENG 4130 Race & Ethnicity in Film
  • LIT 3353 Ethnic Literature
  • LIT 4194 African Lit. in English

Theory (Choose 1):

  • ENG 3010 Modern Criticism
  • ENG 3115 Intro to Film Criticism & Theory
  • ENG 4015 Psychological Approaches to Lit.
  • LIT 4183 Postcolonial Literature, Culture, & Theory
  • LIT 4554 Feminist Theories

Recommended courses for remainder of major:

  • AML 3031 American Lit I
  • AML 3041 American Lit II
  • AML 4170 American Literary Forms
  • AML 4225 Studies in 19th-Century Amer. Lit./Culture
  • AML 4242 Studies in 20th-Century American Literature & Culture
  • AML 4311 Major Figures of American Lit.
  • AML 4453 Studies in Am. Lit/Culture
  • LIT 4188 World English Language Literatures

Variable Topics and other courses selected from the following:*

  • AML 3284 Surveys in American Women’s Literatures
  • AML 4282 American Genders & Sexualities
  • ENC 4255 Propaganda & the Humanities
  • ENG 4134 Women & Film
  • ENG 4905 Independent Studies
  • LIT 3400 Interdisciplinary Topics in Literature
  • LIT 4322 The Folktale
  • LIT 4331 Children’s Literature

*The student should consult the English web site before selecting variable topics courses. Courses should have a focus in African American literature and culture.

Other recommended courses which may be used as college electives (may require approval of department offering course):

  • AFA 4905 Individual Study
  • AFA 4936 Afro-Amer. Studies Sr Integrative Sem. I
  • AFA 4937 Afro-American Studies Sr Integrative Sem. II
  • AFH 3578 Problems in Afro-Amer. History
  • AMH 4571 Slavery & Civil War
  • ANT 3410 Cultural Anthropology
  • ANT 3451 Racial & Cultural Minorities
  • ANT 3610 Language & Culture
  • LAH 4471 Caribbean History to 1800
  • LAH 4472 Caribbean History 19th & 20th-Century
  • MUH 4016 History of Jazz
  • PUP 4313 Minorities & Change in Amer. Politics


Department of English faculty who regularly teach courses in this model include: