LITR231 American Literature to 1865
Department of Language & Literature: Literature
Course Number and TitleLITR231 American Literature to 1865
Number of Credits3 credits
Minimum Number of Instructional Minutes Per Semester2250
Other Pertinent Information
- The Department of Language and Literature has determined that all literature courses must require a minimum of at least 2500 words in writing assignments.
- During the first week of class, the instructor provides students with a weekly suggested reading schedule for the semester.
Catalog Course DescriptionThis course surveys the development of American Literature from the Colonial beginning to Whitman, emphasizing a thorough acquaintance with the work of significant writers of the period, including women and minorities, in their historical and cultural context.
Required Course Content and Direction
- Course Students will
- analyze literature through discussion and writing;
- demonstrate an understanding of such literary terms, themes, strategies, and issues as are relevant to the works being studied;
- express their understanding of the relationship between literature and the historical/cultural contexts in which it was written;
- demonstrate a basic knowledge of the chronology of authors, literary periods, and literary movements;
- articulate their awareness of the major recurrent patterns, themes, psychological insights, and concerns in the works read;
- examine literature in relationship to the diverse values and concerns of the country, exploring both historical and philosophical heritage, and viewing literature as one aspect of a total pattern, not an isolated discipline; and
- demonstrate the ability to view the literature from the perspective of diverse cultural groups and in the context of current social struggles, as well as through various schools of modern criticism.
- Core (if applicable) Category I
- demonstrate knowledge and awareness of some components of our society's cultural heritage such as artistic, historical, linguistic, literary, and philosophical foundations;
- compare, contrast, analyze, and/or defend differing world views and practices; and
- demonstrate the ability to think independently by reading critically, thinking analytically, and communicating effectively in oral and/or written formats within the context of studying diversity in our culture.
- understand and express the meaning and significance of a variety of communications (Interpretation);
- identify the explicit and implied features of a communication, especially in arguments that put forth a conclusion. (Analysis skills);
- integrate and/or combine knowledge from multiple sources to create new knowledge. (Synthesis);
- assess the credibility of a communication and the strength of claims and arguments. (Evaluation Skills);
- communicate and justify clearly the results of their reasoning. (Presenting Arguments Skills).
Cultural PerspectivesStudents will
Critical Thinking and Problem SolvingStudents will
Planned Sequence of Topics and/or Learning Activities:Students read selectively the work of American authors from the age of exploration to the Civil War. The instructor, although not confined to authors on the following list, shall include at least
- selections from exploration literature and Native American literature
- three Puritan era writers, one of whom must be a poet (suggestions: Bradford, Edwards, Bradstreet, Sewell, Taylor, Wigglesworth, Mather, Thomas Morton, and Winthrop)
- Franklin and one other Colonial writer (suggestions: Byrd, Crevecoeur, Freneau, Hamilton, Madison, Paine, Jefferson, Rowlandson, Wheatley, and Woolman)
- Cooper or Irving, and a slave narrative (or excerpts of one), and at least two other writers from the first half of the nineteenth century (suggestions: Brown, Alcott, Bryant, Chief Joseph, Chief Seattle, Davis, Douglass, Jacobs, Fuller, Longfellow, Stowe, Whittier)
- Emerson, Hawthorne, Melville, Poe, Thoreau, Dickinson, and Whitman, emphasizing the major works of these authors.
- Students enter the courses both with and without training in verbal analysis of literature; therefore, a subsidiary set of objectives dealing with literary analysis may be imported as individual student needs dictate.
- Reading remains the basic learning method available to students although various means of instruction are employed: Lectures, group discussion, mock trials, role playing, individual or group presentations to the class, team teaching, library research, etc.
- Through reading, writing, discussion, and various class activities, students identify, explain, and analyze the following: formal elements of the literature, particularly images, image patterns, narrative strategies, diction, and structural divisions of the work; themes and thematic patterns; literary periods, movements, and terms as appropriate to the literature.
- The writing requirement will be in complies with Department standards for literature courses, a minimum of 2,500 words. Writing assignments reflect the course goals that students can comprehend, interpret, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate the literature.
- Because there are no prerequisites for literature courses, it is important that students understand the kind and quality of the writing expected.
- Students use various critical approaches as ways of assigning the meanings in the work; these include but are not limited to the major critical schools--humanistic, ethical, socio-cultural, historical (both the history of events and the history of ideas), psychological, mythical, and formal.
Assessment Methods for Core Learning Goals:
- Course To evaluate all course-specific learning goals and objectives, instructors may determine the depth and quality of student comprehension and critical thinking through several analytical essays (2500 words total required), exams, quizzes, journals, oral or multi-media presentations, class discussions, conferences with individual students, service learning projects, and other methods as necessary to course content.
- Core (if applicable) To evaluate all Core learning goals and objectives, instructors may determine the depth and quality of student comprehension and critical thinking through several analytical essays (2500 words total required), exams, quizzes, journals, oral or multi-media presentations, class discussions, conferences with individual students, service learning projects, and other methods as necessary to course content.
Reference, Resource, or Learning Materials to be used by Students:Instructors choose an anthology of American literature, which the may supplement with additional readings.
See individual course formats.
Teaching Methods EmployedSection VIII is not being used in new and revised syllabi as of 12/10/08.
Review/Approval Date - 3/99; Core Goals/Objectives added 3/04; revised 6/08, Revised 5/2010