Print Version

Effective: Summer 2016

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 -
  • Students will be able to apply crucial critical concepts from the work of one author to the work of another author from the same historical period (for example, applying ideas presented in W.E.B. Dubois' "The Souls of Black Folk" to an analysis of Booker T. Washington's "Up from Slavery) as evidenced by a graded essay or graded journal.
Description -
Introduction to representative works of multicultural American Literature in the wake of the Civil War (1865-1914) including satirical works by Mark Twain; the experimental poetry of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson; autobiographical and political texts by African American leaders Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Dubois; Mexican vaquero fiction; early Asian American texts; and Native American autobiographies. Emphasis on the radical innovations in literary forms, themes, language, and philosophy which shaped America's new identity as an emerging world power within a period of fierce conflicts within American society over race, class, and gender roles.

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 the literature of this period.
    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 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 development of race and class in the evolution of American literature and society.
  2. Acquire knowledge of the major periods, writers, texts, documents, and debates of American literature from 1865-1914 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 -

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 experimental forms of poetry, dialect, psychological realism, naturalism, local color, and stream-of-consciousness narration.
    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 creating (and subverting) significant American political ideologies of the era, including race segregation, imperialism, isolationism, women's suffrage, and the conservation movement.
  2. Periods, Authors, Genres: Students will develop knowledge of the relevant texts and concepts in the evolution of Early American Literature including:
    1. Ongoing development of experimental verse forms by poets such as Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman.
    2. Increasingly powerful use of satire, dialect, and first-person narration by authors such as Mark Twain and Stephen Crane.
    3. Fictionalized portraits of vaqueros, cowboys, and frontiersmen by Latino and Anglo American authors
    4. Psychological realism in the fictions of authors such as Edith Wharton and Henry James
    5. Studies of African American culture and politics by authors such as Washington and Dubois.
    6. Native American autobiographies by authors such as Sarah Winnemucca, Zitkala Za, and Standing Bear.
    7. Early Asian American fiction by authors such as Sui Sin Far and Onoto Watana.
    8. Portraits of Spanish California by Helen Hunt Jackson, Joaquin Miller, and others.
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. Poster presentations, oral presentations, critical reading journals, and similar individualized 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 on the history and interpretation of the assigned texts.
  2. In-class discussion of the assigned text including instructor-guided interpretation and analysis.
  3. Group presentations on inquiry projects focusing on key tools and skill sets in literary interpretation.
Lab Content -
Not applicable.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Daily assigned readings of from 5-50pages drawn from recognized canonical works in American literature
  2. Brief introductory and literary critical readings designed to familiarize students with ongoing debates and perspectives in the study of American literature.
  3. Bi-weekly journals requiring research, summary, interpretation, analysis, and synthesis of original texts.
  4. Weekly essay examinations requiring in-depth analysis and synthesis of assigned texts