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English 364 American Literature Survey II

This course is a survey of American literature from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present. We will read representative writers and their works as well as learn about the literary traditions that emerged during this span of time. Emphasis will be placed on minority voices and literary diversity and how they compete with canonical authors and texts and entrenched American literary motifs and cultural values. We will examine the literary, cultural, historical, and philosophical forces that shape and reflect such works of American literature. Central questions for the semester are: How might differences in gender, ethnicity, social power, and historical circumstances affect literary imagination? Where and how do we see minority or marginalized voices challenging or complicating the prevailing aesthetic values of their own time and the literary legacy they inherit? In terms of style, structure, and imaginative possibilities, how do these works extend or resist the idea of an American literary tradition? The literature of the United States encompasses many ways of imagining experience. Our goal for the semester is to understand how they all work together to define an “American” sensibility.

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To enroll in this course, students must have received a “C” or above in English 101 and 102, OR in English 103, OR have documentation, approved in the department, of advanced placement acquired through AP, IB, British A Level scores, or transfer credit.

Pedagogical Approach

Students enrolled in American Literature 364 will read, analyze, and interpret major works selected from a variety of North American writers. Representative literary works from the post-Civil War period until the present will be read and discussed. Some attention will be paid to cultural backgrounds and history relevant to the works under study.

I have chosen different American literature primary and secondary sources from open educational resources (OER), which are teaching and learning materials that are in the public domain or have been released under a license, allowing them to be freely used and shared with others. This approach will keep the cost for taking this course to a minimum. In turn, I hope that it incentivizes students to read the texts since the financial cost of books is not an obstacle. You will be required to create an account for certain OER websites to access the materials. In addition, since OER allows anyone to post, use, and change materials, part of our purpose this semester will be to build an American Literature resource for other students in the form of a class wiki.

Learning Outcomes

Display critical thinking in both written and oral communication.

Demonstrate the ability to use appropriate theoretical language in both written and oral communication.

Demonstrate knowledge of major trends in American literature.

Identify major writers, their works, and their contributions to American literature.

Demonstrate the ability to follow appropriate MLA documentation guidelines.

Analyze literature from diverse cultures.

Demonstrate the ability to conduct primary source research.

Demonstrate their ability to synthesize the information learned in the class through a final project

Assessment

Students will be graded on their ability to think critically through papers, paper presentations, tests, online communication, and their discussions in class.

Students will be graded on their ability to integrate key terms and concepts in their papers and on at least one test.

Students will be asked to demonstrate their knowledge of the 20th and 21st Century Literature through assignments such as the mid-term and final exam, the oral presentation, and short papers.

Students will be tested on their ability to identify the authors, their works and how they fit into American culture.

The three critical papers and research project will be graded on how well they show the students ability to follow MLA guidelines.

Students will be graded on how well they analyze the literature from writers of diverse backgrounds.

Students will have to demonstrate useful results from library archives and other avenues of research via bibliographic documentation in their papers.

Students will be asked to synthesize their knowledge of American literature and the current and historical intellectual, social, and political climate into a final paper and exam.

Other Information

This course is managed and delivered using Blackboard (Bb), Zoom, and Starfish, which are accessible through the Okta portal. Bb is used for actions such as obtaining class activities and assignments, receiving and sending communications, posting or submitting your work, and accessing your grades. This class is organized around learning modules in Bb. Learning modules are themed units that contain the course content. Learning modules run from Sunday to Saturday and vary in length. Modules are made available on Sundays around 3pm and close on Saturdays at 11:59pm. This class is structured as a hybrid course. In general, Mondays will be used to provide an overview of the module/material, lecture, and discussion. Wednesdays are for lecture and discussion. Most Fridays will be used as flex days where student can work independently to complete readings and assignments. Flex Fridays can also be used to receive one-on-one help by making an appointment. I may use Flex Fridays for small group activities. Flex Fridays are indicated in the Schedule of Activities that is included in every learning module.