Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Gillian H Harkins
ENGL 250
Seattle Campus

American Literature

Introduces American culture through a careful reading of a variety of representative texts in their historical contexts.

Class description

For SUMMER 2007: National Belongings. This course provides an introduction to studies of American literature and culture. The course surveys a broad range of historical materials, from Puritan proclamations of American Exceptionalism to political and literary texts of the early Republic, mid-nineteenth-century texts on abolition and Manifest Destiny to mid-twentieth-century texts on the Cold War and civil rights. We will focus in particular on how “America” has been constructed through changing narratives of national history. This summer we will ask how different narratives create or contest the meaning of belonging in national history. What does it mean to “belong” in the United States? How have practices of national belonging changed over time, and how have different narratives about history been used to make sense of these changes? In this class we will explore the ways that changing narratives forms – from oral speeches, newspapers to popular music and animation – have shaped the making and re-making of the American past. Our primary texts will include Charles Brockton Brown, Wieland: Or, The Transformation; Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Salve Girl; Herman Melville, Benito Cereno, and John Okada, No No Boy.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional ENGL course descriptions.
Last Update by Sherry May Laing
Date: 03/22/2007