M A I N * N E W S * L I N K S * R E S E R V E S


SUNY Fredonia
Division of Arts and Humanities
ENGL 341: Harlem Renaissance
Spring 2003
Section 1: Fenton 166, MWF 12-12:50
Office: Fenton 240; MTW 1-4, F 10-11, and by appointment; 673-3859
E-mail: simon@fredonia.edu
Web Page: www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/


About the Course Web Pages

This web site is designed to help you get as much out of this course as possible--you can use it to find out how your work will be assessed, what assignments are due and when, how to subscribe to the course listserv, what books are on reserve for your use in Reed Library, and how to use the world-wide web for research, among other things. Please get in the habit of checking back to these pages to keep track of changes to the syllabus and advice on assignments, as well as to surf the ever-expanding list of links to interesting web pages related to the course. And please contact me anytime (see above for my coordinates) if you have ideas about how to improve these pages or the course as a whole.

Course Description/Goals

Study of texts representative of the literature flourishing within the African-American community between approximately 1919 and 1930. Focuses on the political, social and literary origins of this movement, as well as the different literary and artistic genres created during this era. This section is ENGL 341 is designed to introduce students to the analysis of major literary works, genres, and debates of the Harlem--or New Negro--Renaissance. We will focus on the ways in which literature represents, responds to, and shapes intellectual and political transformations in American society and African American culture during the period, with special attention to the meaning of migration, constructions of black identity, and issues of difference within black America.

ENGL 341 is a period course for students in the English and Secondary English Education majors and an elective in African American Studies and American Studies; for non-majors who entered Fredonia before Fall 2001, it satisfies Part IIIA of the General College Program (GCP) and Part 12 of the College Core Curriculum (CCC). As such, it is designed to give students the opportunity to develop a critical or analytical approach to this period of African American and American literature; to develop their ability to read and respond to a variety of primary sources with understanding and to integrate knowledge from different sources, their awareness of historical contexts for Harlem Renaissance literature and culture, their understanding of contemporary U.S. society (as refined through attention to the contemporary implications or ramifications of Harlem Renaissance literature, culture, and history), and their understanding of values and/or assumptions we bring to the study of this period of African American and American literature; and to develop the curiosity to explore Harlem Renaissance literature, culture, and history further.

II. Rationale

In ENGL 341, as in most courses offered by the English Department, students from a range of majors, minors, and concentrations interact, and the goals of the professional programs are integrated with specific course and CCC goals. Achieving these goals (described in Section IV below) will require us to foster academic skills and intellectual habits of reading closely and carefully, thinking critically and creatively, listening actively and attentively, speaking thoughtfully and concisely, and writing clearly and analytically--skills and habits useful to everyone, but of particular importance to future teachers.

Texts. There are four books in the bookstore for you to purchase:

IV. Course Objectives and Outcomes

Courses in Part IIIA of the GCP and Part 12 of the CCC are designed to promote interdisciplinary approaches and to foster critical thinking and critical literacy. Hence, students in ENGL 341 will read, analyze, and compare a wide range of writings from and about the Harlem Renaissance; consider relations between literary, cultural, political, and historical events, topics, and issues in the period; and make connections between this period and other periods of American literature and history. To achieve these goals, students will

V. Instructional Methods and Activities

The methods used in the classroom will include lecture, in-class writing, guided discovery, open discussion, cooperative group work, and other discussion-oriented activities.

VI. Evaluation and Grade Assignment

A. Methods

Attendance/Preparation/Participation (10%). Regular attendance and thoughtful participation are crucial to your enjoyment of and success in this course. If there is absolutely no way for you to avoid missing a class, please contact me ahead of time or soon after your absence, preferably by email. More important than showing up on time, of course, is coming to class prepared and focused. I expect you to read what has been assigned for a given date at least once (and preferably more than that!) by the time we begin to discuss it in class. This is a discussion rather than a lecture course, after all; although I will provide some context for and interpretations of our reading, the bulk of class time will be spent in small or large group discussions. Since it's difficult to make good contributions to discussions about a literary work if you haven't read it carefully or thought about it extensively, how well you budget your time outside of class will to a large degree determine how well you do in this class in general and how well you do on this portion of your course grade in particular.

Your grade for this segment of the course will be based on a combination of your attendance and your preparation/participation in class and on the class listserv (described below). As there are no exams in this course, think of my evaluation of your preparation/participation as a different but equally important method of assessing your overall performance and improvement in the course. Due to the importance of attendance and participation, more than two unexcused absences will hurt your preparation/participation grade and each non-emergency absence after the fourth will lower your final course grade by one grade (e.g., with five absences a B+ will become a C+; with six, it will become a D+).

Reading Responses (15%). Detailed instructions for subscribing to and using the course listserv (engl34101@listserv.fredonia.edu) are given below (see Section VIII) and will be discussed in class; they are reproduced on the course web site at http://www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/engl341s03/listserv.htm, along with a troubleshooting guide. This listserv will be your space; I will keep my own input to a bare minimum. Although you may use the listserv in any number of ways, you must use it in the following way: you must come to each class having read and thought about your peers' reading responses, and, over the course of the semester, post a certain number of your own reading responses to the course listserv (no more than one response per week will receive full credit). Hence, no later than 8 pm Sunday or Tuesday or Thursday of weeks you choose to write a reading response, you must post to the course listserv a response to one or more assigned readings (including both observations and questions) that you believe would spark discussion for the coming Monday's or Wednesday's or Friday's class meeting. Advice on generating reading responses can be found on the course web site at http://www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/engl341s03/rr.htm.

Your grade for this segment of the course will be determined by the number of on-time, passing reading responses you post to the course listserv. Since there are fourteen weeks when reading responses are due in the semester, and since you are allowed six missed weeks without penalty, 8 or more reading responses=A; 7=B+; 6=B; 5=C+; 4=C, 3=D; 2 or less=E. The quality of your reading responses will be factored into your preparation/participation grade (see above).

Critical Essay (20%). I provide detailed information on the 4-to-6-page critical essay on the course web site at http://www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/engl341s03/ce.htm.

In-Class Group Presentation (25%). I provide detailed information on the 15-to-20-minute group presentation on the course web site at http://www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/engl341s03/gp.htm.

Final Project (30%). I will provide detailed information on the final project on the course web site at http://www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/engl341s03/fp.htm. Possibilities include a research-based critical essay, a research-based pedagogical essay, a creative writing project with author's note, or an analytical web site. We will arrange for a mandatory individual conference on your final project topic after spring break.

B. Grading. All work during the semester will be graded on a letter basis (A=outstanding, B=good, C=average, D=bad, E=awful) and converted into a number for purposes of calculating final grades. I use the following conversion system (the number in parentheses is the "typical" or "normal" conversion, but any number in the range may be assigned to a given letter grade):

A+=97-100 (98); A=93-96.99 (95); A-=90-92.99 (91); B+=87-89.99 (88); B=83-86.99 (85); B-=80-82.99 (81); C+=77-79.99 (78); C=73-76.99 (75); C-=70-72.99 (71); D+=67-69.99 (68); D=63-66.99 (65); D-=60-62.99 (61); E=0-59.99 (55)

Your final grade is determined by converting the weighted numerical average of the above assignments into a letter grade, according to the above scale.

C. Portfolio. English and Secondary English Education majors should be aware of the English department's guidelines for ongoing portfolio submissions.

VII. Bibliography. The following works and others may be found on reserve at the circulation desk in Reed Library (click here for the reserves list):

A. Contemporary References

B. Classic References

C. Key Journals



VIII. Course Schedule and Policies

A. Tentative Course Schedule. The following course schedule is subject to revision---please refer here regularly for updates to this schedule, notes on the texts, and suggestions for further reading. Please recall that you need to submit 8 reading responses to earn an A for that segment of your final grade (see Section VI). It's expected that you will read the introductory essay for each author assigned for a given day and refer back to the introductions and editorial apparati in the anthologies as necessary for basic context and understanding of what you're reading. It's also expected that you'll make use of the links page to prepare for class discussion. If you have factual, biographical, or historical questions, it's your responsibility to use the resources available to you to try to answer them on your own. In discussion, we'll largely be focusing on interpretive, comparative, evaluative issues. (Key: CFHR=Classic Fiction of the Harlem Renaissance; VHR, Voices from the Harlem Renaissance.)


F 1/24 Introductions

To Harlem


M 1/27 Nathan Irvin Huggins, Introduction (VHR 3-11); William Andrews, Introduction (CFHR 3-13)
W 1/29 1919: A. Philip Randolph, "A New Crowd--A New Negro" (VHR 18-20); 1920: W.A. Domingo, "The New Negro--What Is He?" (VHR 23-25); 1925: Alain Locke, "The New Negro" (VHR 47-56)
F 1/31 NO CLASS


M 2/3 1916: James Weldon Johnson, "Brothers" (VHR 352-353); 1919-1921: Claude McKay, "If We Must Die," "The Lynching," and "America" (VHR 353-355); 1925, 1927: Countee Cullen, "Incident" and "From the Dark Tower" (VHR 359-360); 1926: Helene Johnson, "A Southern Road" (VHR 360-361) and Arna Bontemps, "A Black Man Talks of Reaping" (VHR 355); 1927: Langston Hughes, "Song for a Dark Girl" (VHR 358-359)
W 2/5 1938: Richard Wright, "Long Black Song" (VHR 420-438)
F 2/7 1927: Rudolph Fisher, "Miss Cynthie" (CFHR 238-253)


M 2/10 1927-1928: Rudolph Fisher, "The Caucasian Storms Harlem" (VHR 74-82) and "An Introduction to Contemporary Harlemese" (CFHR 395-403); 1928: "Harlem Directory" (VHR 46-47)
W 2/12 1930: James Weldon Johnson, from Black Manhattan (VHR 56-72); 1935: Nancy Cunard, "Harlem Reviewed" (VHR 122-132)
F 2/14 1940: Langston Hughes, from The Big Sea (VHR 90-98))

In Harlem


M 2/17 1918: Claude McKay, "Harlem Shadows" (VHR 84); 1921-1922, 1959: Langston Hughes, "Danse Africaine," "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," "Mother to Son," and "Afro-American Fragment" (VHR 146-147, 153, 155, 359); 1925: Countee Cullen, "Heritage" (VHR 142-145); 1931: Helene Johnson, "Sonnet to a Negro in Harlem" and "Poem" (VHR 182-183) and Gwendolyn Bennett, "To a Dark Girl" (VHR 191)
W 2/19 1927: Eric Walrond, "City Love" (VHR 84-90) and Rudolph Fisher, "Blades of Steel" (VHR 110-121)
F 2/21 1934: Langston Hughes, "The Blues I'm Playing" (CFHR 363-379)


M 2/24 1922: James Weldon Johnson, Preface to The Book of American Negro Poetry (VHR 281-304); CRITICAL ESSAY due at 5 pm
W 2/26 1925: Alain Locke, "The Legacy of the Ancestral Arts" (VHR 137-142) and Arthur Schomburg, "The Negro Digs Up His Past" (VHR 217-221); 1920s and 1930s: "Visual Arts" (VHR 259-278)
F 2/28 1935: Zora Neale Hurston, "Characteristics of Negro Expression" and "Spirituals and Neo-Spirituals" (VHR 224-236, 344-347); PRESENTATION GROUP I: Catherine Allison, Matt Jackson, Mary Sitzenstatter


M 3/3 1926: George Schuyler, "The Negro-Art Hokum" (VHR 309-312) and Langston Hughes, "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain" (VHR 305-309)
W 3/5 1932: Wallace Thurman, from Infants of the Spring (CFHR 380-393)
F 3/7 1940: Langston Hughes, from The Big Sea (VHR 370-381); PRESENTATION GROUP II: Jenna Link, Kristin Mathis


M 3/10 1920: W.A. Domingo, "Africa for the Africans" (VHR 25-27); 1921: A. Philip Randolph, "Garveyism" (VHR 27-35); 1923: Marcus Garvey, "Africa for the Africans" and "The Future as I See It" (VHR 35-41)
W 3/12 1920: W.E.B. Du Bois, "Race Pride" and "On Being Black" (VHR 42, 211-215); 1929: George Schuyler, "Our Greatest Gift to America" (VHR 361-365); 1932: Langston Hughes, "Always the Same" (VHR 418-419); PRESENTATION GROUP III: Lindsay Erickson, LaToya Gray, Peggy Stravato


F 3/14-F 3/21: NO CLASSES--Spring Break

Harlem and Beyond


M 3/24 1925: Jean Toomer, Cane, Arc One and autobiographical selection (1-38, 140-145); Darwin Turner, introduction to 1975 edition (121-138); Waldo Frank, foreword to the 1923 edition (138-140)
W 3/26 1925: Jean Toomer, Cane, Arc Two (39-80)
F 3/28 1925: Jean Toomer, Cane, Arc Three (81-117)


M 3/31 1928: Claude McKay, Home to Harlem, First Part (CFHR 100-150)
W 4/2 1928: Claude McKay, Home to Harlem, Second Part (CFHR 151-210))
F 4/4 1928: Claude McKay, Home to Harlem, Third Part (CFHR 211-237); PRESENTATION GROUP IV: Elena Petsos, Katherine Quattrini


M 4/7 1928: Nella Larsen, Quicksand, Ch. 1-4 (CFHR 254-277)
W 4/9 1928: Nella Larsen, Quicksand, Ch. 5-12 (CFHR 277-307)
F 4/11 1928: Nella Larsen, Quicksand, Ch. 13-19 (CFHR 307-340)


M 4/14 1928: Nella Larsen, Quicksand, Ch. 20-25 (CFHR 340-361); PRESENTATION GROUP V: Danielle Epolito, Bobbie Logsdon, Krystina Mirek
W 4/16 1931: George Schuyler, Black No More, preface-Ch. 3 (13-62); James Miller, foreword to 1989 edition (1-12)
F 4/18 1931: George Schuyler, Black No More, Ch. 4-7 (62-131)


M 4/21 NO CLASSES--Travel Day
W 4/23 1931: George Schuyler, Black No More, Ch. 8-13 (131-222); PRESENTATION GROUP VI: James Bobseine, Jennie May Cronin, Adam Francis, Stephanie Kuss
F 4/25 1937: Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ch. 1-4 (7-55); Sherley Anne Williams, foreword (v-xv)


M 4/28 1937: Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ch. 5-9 (56-143)
W 4/30 1937: Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ch. 10-14 (144-202)
F 5/2 1937: Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ch. 15-20 (203-286); PRESENTATION GROUP VII: Cathi Ballard, Tim Hawkins, Renee Sills, Cinnamon Smith

Harlem and After


M 5/5 1992: Toni Morrison, Jazz (3-87)
W 5/7 1992: Toni Morrison, Jazz (88-184)
F 5/9 1992: Toni Morrison, Jazz (185-229); PRESENTATION GROUPVIII: Ben Cossitt, Nicki Dispense, Matt Dumuhosky, Tom Gleason, Jeff MacLachlan, Jennifer Seba


W 5/14 1:30 pm: wrap-up course; peer review session; course evaluations
F 5/16 FINAL RESEARCH PROJECT due no later than 5 pm

B. Class Policies

1. Attendance. As stated in Section VI above, barring emergencies each absence after the fourth will lower your final course grade by one grade (e.g., with five absences a B+ will become a C+; with six, it will become a D+). Be aware that absences due to emergencies are the only absences that will not be counted toward your total for the semester. Emergencies include but are not limited to death in the family, hospitalization or major illness, and natural disasters; scheduled and unavoidable school-sponsored events (games, meets, performances, etc.) are also counted as emergencies for the purpose of this attendance policy.

2. Course Listserv. You are required to subscribe to your section's listserv and to read and think about your peers' observations and discussion questions before each class meeting. To subscribe to your section's listserv, compose an email message to listserv@listserv.fredonia.edu, leave the subject line blank, and write this exact command in the body of message: subscribe engl34101 [your name]. Please be sure to delete any signature or other text that may appear in the body of your message, as it will only confuse the very literal-minded machine that handles subscriptions. Very soon after sending this message, you should receive an email from the machine that handles listserv subscriptions asking you to confirm your subscription; please follow the instructions in this email carefully, as you are not subscribed to the listserv until you have done so. Soon after doing this, you should receive another email message from the machine that handles subscriptions informing you that you are indeed subscribed to your section's listserv and laying out basic information about the listserv. Save this message--it's very useful. Once you get this message, you will begin receiving messages from others who are subscribed to the listserv; you also will be authorized to send messages to them by composing a message to the machine that distributes messages to those who are subscribed to the listserv. To do so, simply send an email message to engl34101@listserv.fredonia.edu. It is highly recommended that you either save a copy of every message you send to the course listserv (many email programs automatically save all messages sent in a "sent mail" folder) or "cc:" yourself whenever you send a message to the listserv, as your listserv participation will be graded both quantitatively and qualitatively (see Section IV, above) and it is possible that technical or human error could result in your messages being lost in transit, accidentally deleted, misfiled, or miscounted. Please familiarize yourself with the college's "Computer and Network Usage Policy" (College Catalog 2001-2003, pp. 227-229), and remember this simple rule of thumb: check with me first before posting something to your section's listserv that is not directly related to the course. If you have any problems using the course listserv, click here for a troubleshooting guide.

3. Late Assignments. Late reading responses and final projects will not be accepted or graded. Other assignments will be accepted and graded but will lose one-third of a grade per day late (e.g., a paper turned in two days past the due date that would have otherwise received an A- would be penalized two-thirds of a grade and thus receive a B). Only students who ask for an extension at least two days before the due date will be granted one; asking for an extension on the final project means that your final grade for the semester will be an incomplete (I), and that you must turn in your final project before the end of the following semester so that the I becomes a grade other than an E.

4. Plagiarism and Academic Honesty. To plagiarize is "to steal and pass off as one's own the ideas or words of another" (Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary). SUNY Fredonia strongly condemns plagiarism and takes severe action against those who plagiarize. Disciplinary action may extend to suspension from privileges or expulsion from college. See pages 216 and 226 of the College Catalog 2001-2003 for further information.


M A I N * N E W S * L I N K S * R E S E R V E S



EN GL341: Harlem Renaissance, Spring 2003
Created: 2/11/03 5:09 pm
Last modified: 5/15/03 7:52 am
Click here for my Introduction to African American Literature and Culture course, which has a unit on the Harlem Renaissance.