AMERICAN LITERATURE TO 1860
II. Learning Outcomes
Office Hours: T/Th 9:00-10:00; W, 11:00 - 12:00 + by appointment
Grades Given: A, B, C, D, E (+/-)
This course engages the literary and cultural movements that shaped America from the early colonial period to the Civil War. Ideas of sovereignty, epistemology, and slavery permeated the socio-political conception of “America” as both a nation and an ideal throughout these years, and the course will examine how the literature from the period reflects and perpetuates this ideal. Similarly, we will consider the protean nature of “America” as the term evolved from the earliest encounters between Europeans and Native Americans to more firmly-established national entity, The United States of America. The course will explore a variety of texts and literary forms, including: captivity narratives, ex-slave narratives, gothic tales, romances, political writings, lyrical and narrative poetry, etc. In addition, the course will make connections to present-day society, noting the persistent trends that define and shape a global-American culture.
1. Class attendance and participation: I expect that you will attend all classes. Because I understand that accidents and illnesses happen, I allow four absences. Any missed classes over the four absence limit will constitute unauthorized absences, and every unauthorized absence will reduce your final grade. If you incur four or more absences, your grade will be lowered or you could be dropped from the course at my discrestion. Further, participation in class discussions and peer workshops is a very important part of this class, and I try to structure the course in ways that encourage your participation. Examples of participation include asking questions about readings, offering comments about readings, answering questions I pose in class, and contributing in group work. Finally, I expect that you will help to create an environment conducive to learning and meaningful discussion. To this end, please do not bring food to class (drinks are permissible), and do not talk out of turn or behave disrespectfully toward other members of the class. If you cannot follow these guidelines, points may be deducted from your attendance/participation grade, and you may be asked to leave the class.
A) Readings:You are responsible for completing all readings by the date due on the syllabus. Please do not consult online study guides like Sparknotes or internet resources like Wikipedia for help with readings. Instead, if you want to know about the reading's context, read the introduction in the Norton Anthology, and if you are struggling, contact me and I can help you access resources to facilitate your learning. To ensure that everyone is completing assigned readings, I may give quizzes.
B) Student Led Class Discussions:As a group students will present on the readings that are due for the week.
C) Papers: You will write two short (3-4 pp) papers and one longer research based paper for this class on topics assigned by me. For the short papers I prefer that you not consult outside sources. They are to represent your own original ideas, and no research is required for you to do well on them. However, for the final paper in the class some research is expected and encouraged. You must endeavor in your papers to go significantly beyond our class discussions. Papers that merely repeat conversations we've had in class or that give me my lecture notes back in essay form will not receive a grade higher than C.
D) Blackboard Postings: You will be asked to post a series (4) of short responses to our Blackboard coursesite throughout the semester.
E) Mid-term exam: You will take one mid-term exam in this class. I do not offer make-up exams, I do not give out study guides, and I will not take time away from regularly scheduled classes to offer review sessions. If you miss taking an exam, you will receive a zero for it. In the event you suffer a genuine personal crisis (e.g., a death in your immediate family, or an illness or accident requiring hospitalization), I may allow a make-up exam to be taken during finals week. If such a situation arises, please contact me during my office hours, or via phone or email.
Academic Honesty is governed by the Arizona State University Honor Code. According to the ASU Student Handbook, Honor Code Infractions include cheating, stealing, and lying related to academic matters. I will deal with any infractions using the Procedures outlined in the Handbook.
I make every effort to offer appropriate academic accommodations for students with disabilities. Please make requests for academic accommodations during the first three weeks of the semester.
You are responsible for knowing about any updates or changes to this schedule. Please see the external links page for historical context and for research purposes. As well, see the documents section of Blackboard for my lectures and student led discussion powerpoint / PDF's.
January 15 -----Class Introduction; Syllabus overview
January 17 -----Syllabus overview (cont.); reading assignments; Beginnings to 1700
The Marvels of Spain and America
January 22 -----Columbus: "Letters," 31-35; Cabeza de Vaca: "The Relation of Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca," 40-48
January 24 -----John Smith: "The General History of Virgina," 55-72
January 29 -----Pima Creation Story ; Genesis 1-11
An Expanding World and Universe
January 31 -----William Bradford: "Of Plymouth Plantation," 104-120; Thomas Morton: "New English Canaan," 138-147; The Bay Psalm Book, 167-173; Blackboard Posting #1
February 5 -----John Winthrop: "The Journal of John Winthrop;" Peer Review for Paper #1
February 7 -----Mary Rowlandson: "A Narrative of Captivity and Restoration," 235-267
February 12 -----Cotton Mather: "The Wonders of the Invisable World," 307-313; Samuel Sewall: "The Diary of Samuel Sewall," 288-303; Short Paper #1
February 14 -----Benjamin Franklin: "The Way to Wealth," 449-457; John Woolman: "The Journal of John Woolman," 587-595
An American Rennaisance?
February 19 ----- Group discussion of quotes
February 21 ----- Federalist Papers, 665-674; Thomas Paine: "Common Sense," "The Age of Reason," etc., 629-649; set-up presentation groups.
February 26 ----- Phillis Wheatley: selected works; Washington Irving: "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," 965-985
February 28 ----- Native Americans: Removal and Resistance, 1252
March 4 ----- Nathaniel Hawthorne: "Rappaccini's Daughter," 1332-1352; "Wakefield,"1298-1304; "The Birth Mark" 1320-1332
March 6 ----- Mid Term Exam
March 10-14 ----- No Class (Spring Break)
March 20 -----Harriet Jacobs: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, 1808-1822
March 25 ----- Frederick Douglass: My Bondage and My Freedom, 2129-2140; "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July? 2140-2143
March 27 ----- Short Paper #2
April 1----- Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Nature," 1106-1122
April 3 ----- Henry David Thoreau: "Resistance to Civil Government," 1853-1872
April 8 ----- Walt Whitman: "Preface to Leaves of Grass, 2190-2209; "Song of Myself," 2210-2232
April 10 ----- Herman Melville: Moby Dick, 2304-2308; 2320-2337
April 15 ----- Herman Melville: Moby Dick, 2337-2362
April 17 ----- Research Day
April 22 ----- Herman Melville: Moby Dick wrap-up; Bartleby the Scriviner; 2363-2389
Emily Dickinson Introduction
April 24 ----- Emily Dickinson: Selected Poems: Poem #'s- 479,448,656,591,260,1096
April 29 ----- Wrap-up and evaluations
Term Paper Due (via Digital Dropbox by midnight)
Norton Anthology of American Literature Student Website