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Course Syllabus

Course: ENGL 2510

Division: Humanities
Department: English & Philosophy
Title: Masterpieces of American Literature I

Semester Approved: Fall 2014
Five-Year Review Semester: Fall 2019
End Semester: Fall 2020

Catalog Description: This course focuses on the development of ideas, movements, and genres in American literature from exploration and settlement to Romanticism as illustrated through representative texts.

General Education Requirements: Humanities (HU)
Semesters Offered: Fall
Credit/Time Requirement: Credit: 3; Lecture: 3; Lab: 0
Clock/Hour Requirements: 0

Justification: A lower division survey of American literature is standard at most colleges and universities. This course will transfer as general education, elective, or major credit. It fulfills general education credit within the Humanities category (HU) and a major requirement for English majors.The Humanities are a group of academic disciplines that study the many ways by which humans have attempted to understand themselves and their world. At Snow College, the Humanities focus on cultural traditions that are expressed largely through text or which have a strong textual component: languages, literature, and philosophy. The methods by which the Humanities study culture are at once analytical and interpretive, objective and subjective, historical and aesthetic.

General Education Outcomes:
1: A student who completes the GE curriculum will have a fundamental knowledge of human cultures and the natural world, with particular emphasis on American institutions, the social and behavioral sciences, the physical and life sciences, the humanities, the fine arts and personal wellness.  An important goal of this course is to foster an appreciation of literature in general. After completing this course, students are prepared to recognize and enjoy literary works for intellectual as well as visceral reasons. Students read and discuss a selection of significant and representative American literature texts from exploration and settlement to 1865 in order to understand its development. Quizzes, writing assignments, examinations, special projects, and class discussions will ask students to consider readings in a variety of contexts.

2: A student who completes the GE curriculum can read, retrieve, evaluate, interpret, and deliver information using a variety of traditional and electronic media. Students read a variety of primary texts and are quizzed on content. Discussion questions, writing prompts, and writing assignments are designed to elicit constructive and critical responses (e.g. "What values or beliefs are being transmitted through this piece of literature?" "What is the author trying to communicate through this piece of literature and what strategies does the author employ to accomplish that goal?").

3: A student who completes the GE curriculum can speak and write effectively and respectfully as a member of the global community, and work effectively as a member of a team. Students write on a regular basis demonstrating the validity of various theses in diverse writing assignments. Writing assignments are designed around the collaborative model and incorporate all elements of the writing process. Written assignments will be returned with suggestions for improving the student's writing skills.

6: A student who completes the GE curriculum can reason analytically, critically, and creatively about nature, culture, facts, values, ethics, and civic policy. Students are asked to critically evaluate rhetorical choices the author makes in order to understand and interpret the literature. Students are also asked to understand the development of ideas, movements, and genres in American literature as reflected through representatives texts. Students will demonstrate their ability to read and think critically about literature, understand its context, and interpret meaning through essay exams, papers, and class discussion.

Student Learning Outcomes:
Ask and explore a variety of philosophical and theoretical questions about human thought and experience. Through the study of a representative selection of American literature texts from 1492-1865, students will examine a variety of philosophical questions about human thought and experience (i.e. good versus evil; necessity of war; social inequities like race, gender, class, and sexuality; boundaries). Class discussions, essays, and essay-exams will allow students to demonstrate they can articulate ways in which American authors have asked and answered various questions; they will also allow students to demonstrate they can participate in the conversation. 

Understand how knowledge is created through the study of language systems, literature, and/or philosophy. Through the practice of close reading (literary analysis), students will understand how knowledge is created within the field of literature. Students will be able understand how such things as history, audience, authorial choices in relation to the text, and personal biases impact the reading of a text. Students will be asked to demonstrate their ability to read closely on exams and in written assignments. 

Understand cultural traditions within an historical context and make connections with the present. Students will understand cultural development in the United States from 1492-1865 as presented through literature. They will also be able to discuss representative works of American literature in historical context and be able to articulate connections with contemporary culture. Class discussions, quizzes, and exams will allow students to identify, contextualize, and explain various authors, works, and movements in American literature. 

Critically read and respond to primary texts (original, uninterpreted) from a Humanities' perspective. Students will be able to read, interpret, analyze, and respond to a representative selection of primary literary texts. Reading strategies, writing assignments, discussion, and exams will allow students to demonstrate an ability to read critically in order to understand, explain, and evaluate literary texts. 

Write effectively within the Humanities discipline to analyze and form critical and aesthetic judgments. Students will be able to write interpretive/analytic/argumentative papers that are supported through textual analysis. They will be given feedback from both the instructor and classmates on written drafts and then given an opportunity to revise. 

English 2510 covers a selection of major literary works of American literature that represent the literature of exploration and settlement, religious writings, Native American oral and written traditions, Puritanism, the establishment of the Republic, slavery, Transcendentalism, and Romanticism. The course will focus on close reading, literary conventions, historical influences, contextual and textual analysis, interpretation, synthesis, critical thinking, and writing.

Key Performance Indicators:
Class Participation: 10-15% of final grade. 

Writing assignments: 30-50% of final grade. 

Exams: 30-50% of final grade. 

Quizzes: 20-30% of final grade. 







Representative Text and/or Supplies:
The texts will vary according to departmental decisions and instructors' wishes. The following is representative of the kind of anthology that will be used. The instructor may also include representative novel(s) as part of the reading curriculum.

Baym, Nina. The Norton Anthology of American Literature: Shorter Edition. Vol. 1. Current edition.

Pedagogy Statement:

Maximum Class Size: 30
Optimum Class Size: 20