ENGL313 - American Literature
Syllabus:
Section(s):

A detailed study of selected major texts of American literature from th 17th century to the 20th century. Issues such as race, gender, and regionalism. Authors such as Franklin, Hawthorne, Dickinson, Hemingway, and Morrison.

This course will consider various political, cultural, and literary developments in America from independence to today. Reading diverse authors and genres (short stories, memoirs, novels, poetry, dramatic performances, graphic novels, etc.), we will explore the shifts and changes to the literary and cultural landscape and contemplate what threads run throughout. Along the way, we’ll ask such questions as…

  • How does literary culture help define national identity? Alternatively, how might literature expand and/or challenge conventional conceptions of national identity?
  • How do we define “America” and/or “American”? How does the meaning of “America” and “American” change from declaring independence to the closing of the American frontier to an age of rapid globalization?
  • Who do we consider “American”? Who controls claims to American identity? How do these categories change over time?
  • What is “American” literature? How does it reflect on and respond to specific historical and political moments? What political and cultural structures and values shape American literary expression? Who is its audience? What purposes does it serve?

Potential authors include: Benjamin Franklin, Phillis Wheatley, Anne Bradstreet, Washington Irving, Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Helen Hunt Jackson, Frederick Jackson Turner, W.E.B. DuBois, James Weldon Johnson, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Ernest Hemingway, May Miller, Zora Neale Hurston, Hisaye Yamamoto, Gloria Anzaldúa, Sherman Alexie, Kyle Baker, and Lin-Manuel Miranda