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African-American Narratives Exploratory: Detective Gazes & Futuristic Furies

Author: Bonnee Breese Bentum


Science Leadership Academy at Beeber

Year: 2015

Seminar: Aliens and Others: African Americans [Re]Writing Generic Fiction

Grade Level: 9-12

Keywords: African American literature, African-American authors, African-American heroes, Barbara Neely, Cosmic Slop, detective fiction, Easy Rawlins, fantasy, Great American Migration, Octavia Butler, race in fiction, Samuel Delany, science fiction, snitches, speculative fiction, time travel, UbD, Understanding by Design, Walter Mosley

School Subject(s): African American Literature, English, Literature

This curriculum unit focuses its content in using Detective fiction and Science fiction stories by African-American authors. Students will learn to navigate African-American identity through fictitious characters in making plain an understanding of the use of both genres as a stage to illustrate extensions of self-identity, societal conflicts, and African-American intentions, their hopes, dreams, and aspirations.

In embarking upon this study, with students, this unit is created for students to gain knowledge and understand on subjects that are embedded within the text. This will help them identify with the hero in a story. Some of what students will discover is based on general literary study, while other aspects of understanding will hone on the African-American authors’ experiences and how they communicate these experiences through their stories. Students will understand that authors convey ideas and messages that readers must infer.

This curriculum unit is intended for use in a high school English Language Arts classroom. More specifically for students in the School District of Philadelphia, with this in mind, upwards of 80% or more of these students is African-American. This unit, in addition, serves educators who are in need of supplemental materials for the African-American literature component, which has been included in the canon. Furthermore, this curriculum unit will show students the close relationship between literature and history.

Download Unit: Bentum-Bonnee-unit.pdf

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