anh3 at clemson dot edu

    ENGL 2160: African American Literature

    Fall 2019

    8:00-8:50 (003) Daniel 213
    9:05-9:55 (002) Daniel 213
    11:15-12:05 (004) Daniel 408

    Dr. Allison Harris

    Office Hours in Strode Tower 502:
    M/W/F 10:00-11:00 and by appointment

    Email: anh3 at clemson dot edu

         This class uses literature and film from black American authors to interrogate institutional racism and systemic inequality in the United States. This course will introduce you to methodologies of literary and cultural studies and develop skills of analysis, communication, and critical thinking. We will examine the creative literary and theoretical engagement with various social and historical movements in American history and African American letters, investigating intersectional identities and intra-racial, inter-gender and -generational tensions. This course is meant to expose students to new texts and critical conversations and provide a foundational understanding of African American literature and history.
         This course will require careful individual introspection related to one’s privilege and complicity in systems of power. The course will employ dialogue as its main form of meaning-making. Dialogue involves exploring ideas, cumulative questioning, responding to the ideas of others and building more fully collective understanding (Alexander, 2008). The pedagogical goal of this course is to develop empathy as a tool for critical understanding.

    Required Texts
    Files available on Canvas and materials available at Cooper Library
    Access to Clemson Gmail and Gsuite
    Laptop Computer


    Required Texts


    Required Texts
    The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
    Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
    Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
    March Trilogy by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
    The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

    The primary goal of sophomore literature classes at Clemson is to provide students with the critical thinking skills necessary to engage closely and critically with any given text. As a result of practicing these skills, students should become more confident in their abilities to analyze literature, both formally (in written essays) and informally (in class discussion).

    This course will meet the mission of the College of Architecture, Arts, and Humanities: Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication. Students will practice skills of collaboration to understand interpretation and argumentation as a interconnected process of dialogue between each other, between themselves and the text, and between the text and the world. Students will expand their perceptions of literature to think creatively about what counts as literature, how to approach and respond to literature, and how creativity develops worldviews. Students will develop a methodology of inquiry through critical thinking in order to posit interpretations, responses, revisions, and arguments regarding course material. Students will use effective communication, both traditional and digital, formal and informal, written and oral to develop their ideas regarding the course material and their worldviews.

         Reading responses will provide a portion of your attendance and participation. They must be posted onto Canvas by 8 AM on the day of the reading. However, active participation in class discussion is still expected. Completing a response but not attending class will not earn points.
         Excused absences: Reading responses can only be made up for excused absences with appropriate documentation, and alternative assignments may be given. In the event that you must be absent, you should contact me by email before class time. Deadlines will not be extended due to absence and must be completed preemptively.
         Unexcused absences: 3 unexcused absences will result in the loss of a letter grade. 5 unexcused absences will result in failing the course even in the case that the student has successfully completed all assignments required. Per the university policy, if students reach the limit of absences (3) by the drop date, the instructor may drop them from the class for excessive absences. The instructor also reserves the right to drop any student who has missed half or more of the total number of classes before the last day to withdraw without final grades.
         Tardies: Tardiness is disruptive and will not be tolerated. Tardiness is defined as arriving more than 5 minutes from the beginning of the class period. Leaving class before dismissal will count the same as tardiness. 2 tardies will count as equal to one unexcused absence. Students should wait for fifteen minutes in the event of a professor’s tardiness.
         Athletes or Participants in University-Sanctioned Activities and Religious Holidays: Before the drop date, I must be informed in writing about the dates that you will miss because of your sport, activity, or religious practice. We will discuss how to make up missed class time and assignments.
         Inclement Weather: We will follow the University’s directives pertaining to class cancellation in the event of inclement weather or other circumstances. Assignments, readings, or in-class activities will be due when classes resume, unless otherwise contacted by me.

    I expect you to be prepared for class, having done all reading and assignments, and engage with me and your peers. If you find it difficult to speak in class, there will be opportunity to engage in small groups or partner work. You should always bring a copy of the reading(s)/homework assigned on the day we discuss them. Sufficient participation is decided at the discretion of the professor. Using cell phones or any electronic device for non-classroom related purposes (e.g. Instagram, iMessage, Snapchat, stock reports), working on material for other courses or beyond the scope of the daily discussion, or failure to complete reading assignments will result in being marked as an unexcused absence for the day. I reserve the right to record absences without direct notification. Showing up does not equal being present.

         Your grades can reflect your learning and amount of effort in the course, though not your intrinsic value as a student. I will make every effort to grade and return assignments quickly with appropriate feedback. Any discussion of grades or grading policy must take place in my office during office hours or by appointment; I will not discuss grades before, during, or after class, or over email. Grades in the Canvas gradebook may not reflect the most up-to-date calculation reflecting all homework, participation, etc. Final grades will not be rounded.
         Grades are not a negotiation, and requests for extra credit or leniency at the end of the semester reflect poorly on you. If you are aiming for a specific grade in this class, the beginning of the semester is the proper time to strategize about ways to meet your goal. If you anticipate difficulty, come to my office hours early and often and I’ll do my best to help.

    Assignment Submission
    Major assignments are due by 10 pm on the day of the deadline unless otherwise stated. Failure to upload your assignments before the deadline will result in late penalties, which will be assessed starting at 12:01 am the following calendar day. Anticipate technology problems and take care of this early, as they are not an acceptable excuse for missing a deadline.

    Late Work
    If your work will be late, you must contact me by email in order to submit it. Your grade will be reduced by 1 points for each calendar day past the assignment due date. After one calendar week, your assignment can no longer be turned in for a grade, but can be submitted for my written feedback. If you know in advance that you will miss a deadline, contact me about possible accommodations. You can make assessments as to whether a late penalty might be less detrimental than a poorly finished project.

    Writing Center (307 Academic Success Center)
    The WC is free. The tutors are trained. They don’t bite. They can work with you at any point of your writing process — brainstorming, organizing, grammar, citing — anything. They can also work with you on any time of assignment, not just writing for humanities courses. THEY WILL NOT PROOFREAD YOUR WORK. They will, however, help you do it. You don’t have to have an appointment, but time slots fill up very quickly, so scheduling online is the best way to make sure you can be seen. You can make an appointment with a tutor by visiting the Writing Center’s website (, by calling them at 864-656-3280, or by simply stopping in. WRITING CENTER HOURS GET FULL AROUND DEADLINES, SO GO EARLY.

    Accessibility and Accommodations
    If you have received accommodations from Clemson’s office of Student Accessibility Services, please let me know. You should have a letter from the office outlining strategies for us to work together to accommodate your needs. It is university policy to provide, on a flexible and individualized basis, reasonable accommodations to students who have disabilities. Students are encouraged to contact Student Accessibility Services to discuss their individualized needs for accommodation. Please be aware that accommodations are not retroactive and new Faculty Accommodation Letters must be presented each semester. For more information visit
         Whether or not you have documentation, I hope to make our learning experience as accessible as possible to all. Please let me know early in the semester if you have any concerns regarding your learning potential, participation, or general access in this course. Please visit my office hours if you fall behind or have any additional questions.

    Title IX
    Clemson University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, veteran’s status, genetic information or protected activity (e.g., opposition to prohibited discrimination or participation in any complaint process, etc.) in employment, educational programs and activities, admissions and financial aid. This includes a prohibition against sexual harassment and sexual violence as mandated by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. This policy is located at If you have any concerns or complaints regarding sexual harassment or discrimination, contact Alesia Smith, Executive Director of Equity Compliance/Title IX Coordinator, Office of Access & Equity,, 110 Holtzendorff.

    Clemson Counseling and Psychological Services
    While our intellectual pursuits will consider argumentation and composition as a transferable skill of communication, this course may deal with material that can be emotionally difficult. Learning to communicate in an increasingly contentious global environment adds an emotional weight to the content of this course. Moreover, the pressures of university studies can cause anxiety and stress that can be difficult to deal with alone. CAPS provides free or cost-reduced mental health services with utmost discretion and confidentiality. Their mission is to create a campus climate that provides a safe and optimal learning environment for all students. During normal business hours, CAPS can be contacted by calling 864-656-2451. For emergencies after hours and on weekends, call 864-656-2222 and ask for the CAPS on-call counselor.

         The following is Clemson’s official statement on “Academic Integrity”: “As members of the Clemson University community, we have inherited Thomas Green Clemson’s vision of this institution as a ‘high seminary of learning.’ Fundamental to this vision is a mutual commitment to truthfulness, honor, and responsibility, without which we cannot earn the trust and respect of others. Furthermore, we recognize that academic dishonesty detracts from the value of a Clemson degree. Therefore, we shall not tolerate lying, cheating, or stealing in any form.” See the Clemson site below for information about Academic Integrity and procedures regarding the violation of Clemson policies on scholastic dishonesty:
         Plagiarism is the use of intellectual property or product of someone else without giving proper credit. The undocumented use of someone else’s words or ideas in any medium of communication (unless such information is clearly recognized as common knowledge) is a serious offense and violation of Clemson University’s position on academic dishonesty. Willful plagiarism will not be tolerated and will result in disciplinary action at my discretion; the minimum penalty for plagiarism will be 0 points on the assignment. Repurposing work from previous courses constitutes plagiarism. Any of the following forms of plagiarism can carry the same penalty as willful plagiarism at the professor’s discretion.
         Excessive Collaboration: To write more effectively, students (like most writers) may discuss their ideas and plans for papers with others or may read a paper (or a section of a paper) to friends, making revisions based on their responses. Normally such collaboration improves writing. Excessive collaboration will be defined as the effacement, wittingly or unwittingly, of a student’s own words and authorial voice and the adoption, claiming them as their own, of the ideas or exact phrasing of their collaborator.
         Insufficient Documentation: Honesty and courtesy require that writers acknowledge their debt for information and opinions they draw from other sources. Documentation provides both an acknowledgment of this debt and a kind of support for the ideas expressed in a paper. Appropriate documentation may range from the mere mention of a name or title to the extensive footnotes and bibliography required in a fully documented paper. Insufficient or inaccurate documentation constitutes a serious weakness in a paper and normally results in a lowered grade.
         Inadequate Paraphrase: In paraphrasing, students should carefully change the words and sentence structure of the original source while retaining the original sense of the source’s meaning. Students must learn the ability to paraphrase. Usually inadequate paraphrase represents a lack of knowledge and skill on the part of the student rather than a deliberate attempt to deceive. Professors treat inadequate paraphrase like any other writing deficiency, provided it does not also involve insufficient documentation.
         Other Forms of Cheating: Examples of other forms of cheating include (1) padding a bibliography by adding resources not actually used in the paper, (2) copying another student’s work on an exam, (3) giving answers to another student during an exam, and (4) working on the same assignment with other students when the professor does not allow it.

    Any of these forms of academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action.

    Grading Scale
    Assignments and Grading