Print Version

Effective: Summer 2013

Prerequisites: Prerequisite: One of the following: ENGL 1A, 1AH, 1S & 1T or ESLL 26.
Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Humanities Transferable: CSU/UC
4 hours lecture. (48 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • A successful student will be able to read literary texts of various genres and literary movements and subsequently actively and critically assess those works within 19th and 20th century contexts for denotative and connotative meaning, structure and development, and connections between literal and figurative detail.
Description -
Introduction to multicultural American Literature in the Modern Age (1914-present) with emphasis on the courageous contributions and literary innovations of diverse authors of Asian American, African American, Anglo American, Latino American, and Native American heritage, including Harlem Renaissance authors such as Hughes and Hurston; the radically experimental fiction of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner; the rise of modernist poets such as Eliot, Stevens, and Williams; Beat Generation authors such as Kerouac and Ginsberg; Native American authors such as Momaday and Erdrich; feminist poets such as Plath and Rich; and Asian American writers such as Bulosan and Hong Kingston. Special emphasis on the role of these diverse writers in continuously redefining the nature of American literature in the 20th Century, and thereby reshaping American national identity as the United States becomes a global superpower.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. Develop critical thinking skills by:
    1. Evaluating, understanding, and interpreting major literary texts of this period.
    2. Applying a variety of critical and theoretical criteria to evaluation of modern literature.
    3. Analyzing and comparing competing cultural representations of America and its peoples by Native American, African American, Asian American, Anglo American, and Latino American writers of the modern period.
    4. Appraising the literature through interpretations and arguments in written and oral forms.
    5. Collaborating in clarifying, explaining, and resolving interpretive issues or problems.
    6. Comparing widely divergent male and female perspectives regarding the form and function of literature in society.
    7. Tracing the role of race and class in the evolution of American literature and society.
  2. Acquire knowledge of the major periods, writers, texts, documents, and debates in American literature from 1914 to the present by:
    1. Applying the historical and the most recent tools of literary criticism.
    2. Analyzing the rich and diverse Native American, African American, Asian American, Anglo American and Latino American cultural influences on the development of the uniquely American literary genres and voices of this period.
    3. Analyzing the development of a distinctive national political and aesthetic culture as reflected in the major writers and texts of this period.
    4. Analyzing the variety of ethical, philosophical, political, religious, and social perspectives in the literature of this period.
    5. Investigating the depiction of male and female gender roles in the development of the literature of this period.
    6. Assessing the origins and impact of reconstruction, race segregation, and economic class divisions in American literature and society.
    7. Demonstrating via discussion and in writing an awareness of the way America??s past has shaped its linguistic and literary present.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
None required.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Critical Thinking: Students will develop critical reasoning skills and a broad knowledge of common literary critical theories through these specific activities:
    1. Employing a variety of contemporary literary critical approaches, such as textual, historicist, reader response, structuralist, archetypal, psychological, feminist, postcolonial, and cultural criticism.
    2. Recognizing the major literary innovations of the period, including modernism, stream-of-consciousness narration, the use of antiheroes, non-linear plots, multiple perspectives, and postmodernism.
    3. Studying examples of criticism and rhetoric of the periods to understand what features of literary style were most valued by writers during their own eras.
    4. Identifying the role of literary representations in fostering significant social movements such as the civil rights movement, the women??s rights movement, the gay rights movement, and the sexual revolution.
  2. Periods, Authors, Genres: Students will develop knowledge of the relevant texts and concepts in the evolution of Early American Literature including:
    1. Modernist poetry and poetics by Pound, Eliot, Stevens, HD, Moore, and/or others.
    2. Modernist fiction by authors such as Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Singer and others.
    3. Harlem Renaissance aesthetic and political manifestos by authors such as Cullen, Hurston, McKay, and Hughes
    4. The literature of social criticism as practiced by Dreiser, Sinclair, and/or Steinbeck
    5. Poetry and prose by Beat Generation authors such as Ginsberg, Kerouac, and Snyder
    6. Native American texts by authors such as Momaday, Erdrich, and Sherman.
    7. Asian American fiction and poetry by authors such as Bulosan, Hong Kingston, Chaeng-Rae Lee, Mirikitani, and Mura.
    8. Latino/a texts by authors such as Morraga, Anzaldua, Cisneros, and Annaya
    9. Postmodern texts by authors such as Vonnegut, Pynchon, and Morrison
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Quizzes (comprehension, basic interpretation)
  2. Participation in class discussion
  3. In-class essays and tests, including final exam (analysis, argument, self-analysis, new synthesis)
  4. Formal papers (analysis, argument, self-analysis, new synthesis)
  5. Preparing and leading discussion groups
  6. Posters, oral presentations, critical reading journals, and similar activities
Representative Text(s) -
Baym. Nina, ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Vol. C Eighth Edition. Champaign, IL: Norton, 2011.
Lauter, Paul, ed. The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Vol C. Sixth Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2009.

Disciplines -
Method of Instruction -
  1. Lecture presentations and classroom discussion using the language of literary criticism and analysis.
  2. Reading of a wide range of American literature from 1914 to the present, focusing on historical and cultural contexts.
  3. Group presentations on major American authors and their works.
Lab Content -
Not applicable.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Reading assignments include selections from the Norton Anthology of American Literature, 7th edition (ed. Nina Baym) and supplementary readings in a course reader. Authors studied include T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, John Steinbeck, Allen Ginsberg, N. Scott Momaday, Sandra Cisneros, Toni Morrison, Kurt Vonnegut, and Thomas Pynchon.
  2. Writing assignments include in-class Midterm and Final exams in which students closely analyze key passages and link the passages to an author's body of work, addressing historical and literary contexts. Writing assignments also include out-of-class essays analyzing how a text reflects a particular literary movement, style, or period.