English 251W Dr. Scott Romine email@example.com
117 McIver (334-5384)
Office Hours: MW 1:00-2:30, T 3-4:30, F 9-10.
Text: The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Fourth edition, vol. 1. Ed. Paul Lauter et al.
Course objectives—This survey will cover a wide variety of American poetry, fiction, and non-fiction from the Colonial period to 1865. As a survey course, English 251W trades depth for breadth: our goal is to get something like a bird's eye view of the development of American literature, culture, and intellectual history in the period designated. Especially early in the semester, many of the texts we'll be reading are not "literature" in the traditional sense of the word, although they do constitute essential documents in the development of America. Toward the end of the semester, texts will be longer and more "literary," thereby allowing greater opportunity for in-depth discussion.
As this is a writing-intensive class, one of our goals will be the improvement of our writing. To this end, we will have frequent workshops on grammar, use of evidence, organization, analysis, and so forth. We will also write a good bit in the class, including two papers and numerous informal in-class writing exercises.
It is imperative that you read the material before class. Our class time will be devoted to discussing these works as a class and in small groups, and while I will usually come to class with one or two main ideas to discuss, I hope that you will carry most of the conversation. As preparation for class discussion, I hope you will note your responses to works as you're reading them, and come to class ready to comment and argue about points you feel are confusing, interesting, or otherwise engaging. In short, look for the conflicts in the text and how you feel they are resolved, if indeed they are at all. While I hope we will have some vigorous disagreements and arguments, I do ask that you respect your classmates, even if you disagree with their opinions. I suggest that you read the author introductions in your text to give you a frame of reference for understanding the material.
Student Learning Outcomes—At the conclusion of this course, students will demonstrate
• knowledge of early American literary movements, traditions, and major works
• an understanding and appreciation of the diversity of American culture as expressed in its literature
• an ability to analyze, sythesize, and critique literary texts
• an ability to communicate clearly about literary texts in oral and written form
Grades—Your grade will consist of six major parts: two hour exams (15% each), a take-home final exam (20%), a "reading notebook" (10%), an 8-page “two-installment” term paper (25%), and a class participation grade (15%). I will discuss subject matter and format of all exams in class well ahead of time; for now, you should know that the exams will include an objective sections (IDs, short answers) and an essay section. The term paper will be on a topic of your choosing (in collaboration with me); again, detailed information to follow.
Reading Notebook—I will set up a class e-mail list to which you will post five short writing assignments. Your posts should be in the neighborhood of 250-300 words, and can include:
• a summary and critique of a scholarly article
• a post on a topic raised in class, raised on the list, or that you choose yourself
Topics can include comparisons with other works; analyses of scenes, characters, techniques, themes; special points of interest —anything that you feel would add to the class's understanding of the work. Note that:
• Posts will be evaluated mainly on their thoughtfulness, and need not be especially structured.
• Although your posts must go to the list, you will also provide hard copies of your posts at a point late in the semester; this will comprise a "reading notebook" for which you will receive a grade. For this reason, be sure to keep electronic or hard copies of your posts. I will not.
• You must post on at least five different authors, and at least one from each of the three test sections
• You may only post on an author as we are reading and discussing him/her in class. The deadline for posts is one day after the last class session in which we discuss the author. Early posts are most welcomed.
I encourage, but do not require you to participate in the list other than your five posts, but doing so on a frequent basis will be taken into consideration in determining your class participation grade. In addition, e-mail is a useful way for you and me to communicate on topics such as term papers, class cancellations, etc.
Class participation—Class participation will constitute a significant part of your grade. You will be evaluated on the frequency, quality, and originality of your comments—in short, on how much you personally contribute to the class's engagement with and understanding of the authors we are reading. I expect that you will participate in almost every class discussion. Please feel free to introduce new questions and topics to class discussion, and to respond directly to your fellow classmates' comments. Class participation is an assignment like any other, and while you are free to choose whether you fulfill the assignment, your grade will reflect your choice.
Absences—More than five unexcused absences will result in a lower final grade. More than ten absences for any reason will result in your failing the course or being forced to withdraw. Absences are excused only for illness and family emergencies; absences will be excused only if you contact me before class (via email or voice mail). If you have a major health or personal emergency, please let me know as soon as possible.
Groupwork—You will soon be divided up into small groups in which you will discuss issues almost every class. Your participation in groupwork will affect your class participation grade.
Plagiarism—Plagiarism, defined as the intentional representation of another person's intellectual work as your own, will not be tolerated in this class. Please familiarize yourself with UNCG’s Academic Integrity Policy.
Class rules—Please do not leave the classroom unless you absolutely must. If you need to leave early, please let me know ahead of time.
Monday August 19—Introduction
W21—Columbus (all), de Vaca (all)
F23—Winthrop (all), Williams (353-54)
W28—Mather (497-504, skim 505-511, 520-521)
F 30—Rowlandson (all)
M September 2—LABOR DAY (No class)
W4—Taylor ("occasional poems"), Bradstreet (384-398)
F6—John Smith (all), Byrd (600-617, non-italicized text only)
M9—John Woolman (667-677)
W11—Edwards (skim "Personal Narrative"), Franklin (785-794)
F13—Franklin (853-867), Paine, The Age of Reason, skim Common Sense
M16— Jefferson, Notes, Letter to B.Banneker
W18—Crevecoeur, Letters 2, 3, 12, skim 9
F27—"Creation of the Whites” (64); Handsome Lake (all); Samson Occom (1079-1085), William Apess (all), Elias Boudinot (all)
M 30—Freneau (1185-1190), Bryant (2811-2818),
W2—Garrison (all), Fitzhugh (all), Walker (1777-1786)
F4—Stowe (UTC Chs. 1, 7, 11, 30, 40, 41)
M14—FALL BREAK (no class)
F18—Emerson (1516-1517, "Self-Reliance")
M21—Emerson cont., Thoreau (Resistance to Civil Government)
W23—Thoreau (1687-1703, 1713-1721))
W 30—Whitman (“Song of Myself,” sect. 1-20)
F November 1—Whitman (finish “Song of Myself”)
M4—Dickinson (Life/Lifestyle: Poems 249, 285, 303, 306, 401, 435, 613, 1072; Death: 241, 280, 465, 712; Nature: 130, 219, 258, 285, 328, 348, 632, 986 )
W6—Dickinson (Religion/God: 49, 324, 357, 1545, 1719; Poetry: 315, 441, 448, 569, 657, 675, 709, 754, 883, 1129),
M11—Sigourney (1499-1501. 1507-1511), Caroline Kirkland (all), Fanny Fern (all)
M18—Hawthorne (Young Goodman Brown, skim “The Custom House,” 2259-2275)
F22—Hawthorne (finish The Scarlet Letter)
M25—Melville, "Bartleby, the Scrivener"
W27—THANKSGIVING (no class)
F 29—THANKSGIVING (no class)
M December 2—Melville, Billy Budd
W4—Melville, Billy Budd
F 6— open class
M 8—open class
Note: Although we'll try to take up these authors on the days allotted, we may make slight revisions as the semester progresses. We will, however, take the writings up in this order unless indicated otherwise in class.