African American Writing

Ref: C3741544

Tracing the development of African American writing, this 10 week course looks at Frederick Douglass's narratives An American Slave and essays from the post-slavery period by W E Du Bois, before going on to study key texts from the Harlem Renaissance, and a selection of writing from the Civil Rights movement. Authors studied will include Nella Larsen, August Wilson, Ralph Ellison and Maya Angelou.

Course aim

To provide an introduction to African American writing from 1845 to the late 20th century.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Identify the characteristics of African American writing and locate key texts in their socio-political contexts.
  • Discuss the discourses surrounding the slavery and post-slavery periods in African American history.
  • Describe the anxieties and preoccupations of writers of the Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights movement.
  • Interpret literary texts in a critical way, illustrating arguments with carefully chosen examples.
  • Demonstrate my knowledge through the construction of critical arguments and present and defend those arguments confidently with my peers.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Please bring the set reading to class. You may also wish to bring some means of taking notes

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • Please contact the office for a full reading list.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full Course information sheet

African American Writing

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course has been cancelled.


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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