Introduces American culture through a careful reading of a variety of representative texts in their historical contexts.
This course examines the concept of American literary form by reading across a variety of texts. We begin the course with a reading of a slave narrative and end with an investigation of what has been called a Magical Realist novel. Along the way, we will examine the relationship between the historical contexts in which a text is written and the texts themselves. No doubt American literary form looks differently in the mid-nineteenth century than it does at the beginning of the twenty-first. Yet we will also consider the ways that earlier texts anticipate later formal strategies, and the ways that contemporary texts include traditional narrative techniques and styles.
In addition to a course reader, texts may include: Douglass, Frederick. *Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave* ISBN: 9780674034013. Chopin, Kate. *The Awakening* ISBN: 9780393960570. Anderson, Sherwood. *Winesburg, Ohio* ISBN: 9780393967951. Wright, Richard. *Native Son* ISBN: 9780060837563. Diaz, Junot. *The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao* ISBN: 9781594483295.
Student learning goals
1.Students are able to contextualize and analyze the materials or topics covered, historically, politically, culturally.
2.Students are able to perform competent close readings of course texts.
3.Students understand the investments, contexts, and effects of the kind of close reading skills and approaches under study.
4.Students have a fundamental knowledge of genres and/or arguments about genre.
General method of instruction
Reading, writing, lectures and discussion.
Successful completion of at least one university-level composition course is highly recommended. Students should expect to read and write each night for the duration of the quarter.
Class assignments and grading