Engl. 571-01 International Literature

Theme: Back-to-Africa



Course Syllabus

Fall Semester 2010

MWF 11:00-11:50, Grubbs 312

Instructor: Dr. K. Nichols
E-mail: knichols11@cox.net

Office Hours: Grubbs 450
MWF 12:00-12:50;
2:00-3:15; or by appt.

Course Description

This course will explore the construction of "Africa" as the longed-for motherland, refuge from chaos and oppression, and spiritual destination as a result of the changes and traumas of history that exiled Africans and their Afro-descendents from their native lands. Beginning with an early epic hero's drive to create a unified African empire, we will then study a range of modern fiction, drama, poetry, and film from Africa, the Caribbean, South America, and the United States that interrogates the concept of black consciousness, the meaning of Africa, and the return journey to the land of origins.

Required Textbooks

Plus several movies and shorter online texts by Senghor (Senegal), Nascimento (Brazil), Guillén (Cuba), Césaire (Martinique), Walcott (St. Lucia), Goodison (Jamaica), Langston Hughes (U.S.), and others. (See Reading Schedule.)

Grading Policy:

All missing major writing assignments will receive a double "F" grade.

You may e-mail papers to me at knichols@pittstate.edu, but make sure they are attached as a .doc file.

Extra Credit:

Extra credit can be earned by viewing, and writing a short report on, a maximum of three of these films, which can be checked out of the English Department Office: Beat the Drum; Lamumba; Sugar Cane Alley; Quilombo. Each report will be worth 2 points, with 6 points equaling a half-letter grade added on to your final average. For the written report, fill out this online Cultural Events Report Form.

NOTE: The reports must be sufficiently detailed and thoughtful to merit the extra credit.

Late Work Policy

Late papers and essay exams will be graded down one letter grade for each day they are late.

Absence Policy:

Regular attendance is required. Everyone has four pre-excused absences for those difficult times in life that interfere with class attendance, so you do not need to clear absences with me, but it is a good idea to check with me (or a classmate) to make sure an assignment was not changed while you were gone.

Students who miss more than four classes may be dropped from the roster for "excessive absences."

Plagiarism Policy:

I strongly support the policies of the English Department and the University on plagiarism. Undocumented use of someone else's material (including "borrowing" their language or their ideas) will result in an F on the paper or for the course--or worse for the most egregious cases.

See me if you have questions about what is or is not plagiarism. I'm always happy to help students who make a good-faith effort to do things right.

Course Web Pages:

You can quickly access our online syllabus by typing in one of the following addresses:

You can also access my home page (which links to all my web pages) by going to the PSU home page and then typing "English Department Home Page" in the "PSU Search" box. Click on the "Faculty" list and locate my name--which is linked to my home page. My home page provides access to all my web pages, including the syllabus for this class.

Certificate in International Knowledge and Experience (IKE)

This course counts towards the IKE Certificate of International Knowledge and Experience. The IKE Certificate may be earned by students in any major.

The academic component consists of five courses -- two semesters of a foreign language, and three courses with international content in three different disciplines. To receive the certificate, students must also complete a second component, either by studying abroad, or by participating in co-curricular activities on campus.

Completion of the IKE certificate as an undergraduate is noted on a student's PSU undergraduate transcript, although graduate students may also earn the certificate.

To be added to the IKE Angel group and start tracking your progress towards the certificate, please e-mail your GUS number in a request to Megan Corrigan at mcorriga@pittstate.edu.


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