African & African American Literature Minor
Welcome to the African & African American Literature Minor! Our program offers students a unique opportunity to explore African diasporic literatures—the literature produced by people of African descent in places all over the world, including Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States. Our students develop critical understanding not only of black literature and literary theory but also of local, national, and global issues of racial identity, institutionalized racism, and anti-racist resistance.
Why Minor in African & African American Literature?
Read and Interpret Black Texts.
The AAAL Minor gives you the opportunity to read and discuss a diverse group of black writers and culture-makers whose brilliant artistry and keen critical insights will reshape the way you see yourself and the world around you. You'll develop your skills at interpreting black texts and understanding how they reveal, resist, and redefine racial categories.
Understand Race in a "Post-Racial" Era.
We live in a moment when the concept of being "post-racial" is often invoked to argue that racism is a thing of the past. But we also live in a time of mass racialized incarceration, racial profiling, and ever-widening racial inequality. The critical and historical perspectives that the AAAL Minor gives you can help you understand these crises and figure out ways of intervening in them.
Develop Color Consciousness.
The AAAL Minor teaches students that paying attention to race and its historical meanings—rather than pretending that "color blindness" is always the solution to racial problems—is the best way to confront racial inequality. By learning to be conscious of color and how it operates in our world, you'll become more aware of white privilege and learn to appreciate the lives, experiences, and literary traditions often marginalized by color-blind discourse.
Enrich Your Major.
The AAAL Minor can be combined with any undergraduate major at WCU. Whether you're majoring in English or fields such as History, Criminal Justice, Social Work, Communications, or Women's & Gender Studies, you'll find that the critical study of African and African American literature can enrich and inform your major in profound ways.
Enhance Your Career Prospects.
In today's diverse and globalized workplace, employers are always looking for graduates with the multicultural skills and perspectives that our minor provides. By declaring the AAAL Minor, you'll ensure that prospective employers see your interests in diversity and multiculturalism and recognize your credentials in the field.
Students in the African & African American Literature Minor will:
- Broaden and deepen their understanding of the full range of African and African American literary expression.
- Engage in acts of critical reading, analytical writing, and theoretical inquiry that will enable them to refine their critical abilities and develop their political and social awareness.
- Enhance their appreciation for the multiplicity of experiences and voices within African and African American literatures and cultures.
- Develop a broad-based understanding of the history of black global experience and its impact on racial issues today.
- Learn to "see" race in a way that makes them more attuned to the workings of structural oppression and more capable of empathizing with the lives and experiences of people of color.
Like most minors at WCU, the AAAL Minor requires students to take six courses, or 18 credits, in order to complete the program. Our students start by taking two required survey courses—one in African Literature and one in African American Literature—and then finish by choosing four electives. View our updated AAAL Minor advising sheet .
Students in the AAAL Minor may choose from a wide range of courses in order to complete the program. Please check the online Schedule of Classes to learn about course availability for a given semester, keeping in mind that at least three to four AAAL Minor courses are offered each semester. If you're a student in the minor and unable to find a course that you need to finish the program, please contact the Minor Coordinator (or the instructor of record) about the possibility of individualized instruction. View the complete list of required and elective courses for the AAAL Minor.
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News and Updates
The AAAL Minor hosts various community-building events throughout the academic year. In recent years, we've taken a van trip to the People's Light Theater to see the MLK play The Mountaintop (Fall 2016) and to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the special exhibit "Represent: 200 Years of African American Art" (Spring 2015). We also hosted a faculty/student Roundtable on 12 Years a Slave (Fall 2013). Other events currently in development include an Afro-Futurism film festival, a study-abroad course on black expatriates in Paris, and more roundtables on black-themed films. Stay tuned, and if you'd like to get involved, please contact the Minor Coordinator.
Declare the Minor
Interested in declaring the African & African American Literature Minor? Visit the WCU Registrar's Registration page for instructions on how to submit an Academic Plan Change Request in myWCU.