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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Travis J Sands
ENGL 350
Seattle Campus

Traditions in American Fiction

A literary form in which America has found its distinctively American expression. Selected readings among important novelists from the beginnings until 1900, including Cooper, Hawthorne, Melville, Twain, Chopin, James, and Wharton.

Class description

Fictive Citizens: Sexuality, Race and National Belonging, 1783-1898. In this course we will query the link between literature and national citizenship as each transformed from the post-revolutionary period to the U.S.’s emergence as an imperial power in the late 1800’s. As we work through clusters focused on discourses of masculinity and paternity, femininity and motherhood, and the “queer? subjectivities produced out of conditions of captivity, we will consider how formations of race, gender, and sexuality intersect in the literature of this period to form and transform the parameters of citizenship and national belonging. The primary readings for the course will most likely be clustered as follows: Cluster one: Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia; Brown, Clotel; Chesnutt, “The Sherriff’s Children?; Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson. Cluster two: Foster, The Coquette; Hawthorn, The Blithedale Romance; Austin, “The Walking Woman?; Chopin, The Awakening. Cluster three: Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Oloudah Equiano; Emerson, selected essays; Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Poe, “Ligeia?; Crane, “The Monster?; Melville, Billy Bud.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Several short papers, regular quizzes, and a final research project of some length.


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.
Last Update by Travis J Sands
Date: 11/02/2009