Black Writers in American History, Led by John Stauffer, Harvard University

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Through exemplary works of literature, this course examines the writings of African American poets, novelists, and essayists, and considers how their perspectives have shaped history for all Americans. Professor John Stauffer of Harvard University introduces participants to literary works that stretch across American history, including (but not limited to) the writings of Phillis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, W. E. B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and Ta-Nehisi Coates.


• Six seminar sessions led by Professor John Stauffer

• Three pedagogy sessions led by a Gilder Lehrman Master Teacher

Primary source readings that supplement Professor Stauffer's lectures

• A certificate of completion for 15 hours of professional development credit

Readings: The optional readings for each seminar session are listed in the “Resources” tab on the course page. Please note that you are not required to read or purchase any print materials. Quizzes are based on the content of the seminar recordings rather than the readings.

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John Stauffer

John Stauffer is a professor of English and American literature, American studies, and African American studies at Harvard University. He teaches courses on protest literature, emancipation, southern literature, Douglass and Lincoln, the Civil War, the nineteenth-century novel, and historical fiction. In 2009, Harvard named him the Walter Channing Cabot Fellow for “achievements and scholarly eminence in the fields of literature, history or art.” He has received two teaching awards from Harvard: the Everett Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Award and the Jan Thaddeus Teaching Prize.