By Shannon Dean – Collegian Contributor
Do you know about the many special topics courses offered here at GPC? Some are listed in the English 2131 and English 2132 course offerings. English professor Dr. Valerie M. Dotson teaches African-American Literature here at the Clarkston campus which she says allows students to “connect to history in a more meaningful and memorable way.”
African-American Literature directly bridges with African-American history, adding greater insight into the atmosphere in which early African-American writers established inspiration.
“Literature is impossible to separate from social dynamics and history,” Doctor Dotson says. “Civilization is achieved once there is Literature.”
Dr. Dotson elaborates that African-American Literature offers an opportunity for students to learn more about not only African-American History, but also American history as a whole. As she says, it is important to learn about your own culture as well as other cultures.
African-Americans were writing and publishing work as early as the 1700’s. Phillis Wheatley, an African American author in the 1700s, was the first African-American writer to publish a book. Dr. Dotson explains many African-American writers utilized writing as a way to dispel the false pretenses that existed about them. African-American’s had to literally “write themselves into humanity.”
Dr. Dotson says she wants students to think critically about politics, sociology, literature, history, philosophy and religion. “This era resonates in contemporary society, filling in the gaps of history of things that couldn’t be said or allowed to be said,” she says. “I hope that [students] will learn to appreciate the importance of history and apply it to the present.”