University of Kentucky
Texts: 1) Heath Anthology of American Literature (D.C. Heath, pbk) 2. James Fenimore Cooper, Last of the Mohicans ISBN # 0-14-039024-3 (Penguin, pbk) 3. Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron Mills ISBN # 0-935312-39-0 (Feminist Press, pbk)
Requirements will include: fulfilling your grade contract by: completing all readings on time, participating in discussion, mid-term identification/essay exam, group performance, writing think-pieces, revising think-pieces, final identification/essay exam.
1. DISCUSSION/PARTICIPATION: This class is a learning community, and the quality of each class discussion will, in large part, depend on your investment in it, as well as your preparation for it. I will seldom lecture in this course. I will expect you, individually and as a class, to take responsibility in large part for classroom dynamics and discussion. I expect you to treat one another's ideas with seriousness and respect. If this idea of generous interchange does not appeal to you, then this isn't your course. This part of your responsibility to your contract will be based on your class presence (in the qualitative as well as quantitative sense). My evaluation here will focus on: a) your attentiveness, b) useful verbal contributions to the class's information/idea pool, c) useful contributions to classroom dynamics. Word to the wise: if you aren't present, you aren't doing well in this part of your contract.
2. THINK PIECES: I have attached to the back of this syllabus a guide, which I want you to respond to on a (roughly) per-class-week basis. You may choose to respond to one, or to more than one reading on the basis of a common theme or issue, or on affective appeal. I will collect entries every Thursday: you must attend to turn one in; you are responsible for turning the total specified in the grade contract. These should be thoughtful responses to one or more of the readings for the week: they should not reduplicate (though they may respond to) classroom discussions. Typed, double spaced. I will not keep track of these for you. you are an adult: pace yourself. I reserve the right to refuse to count think pieces that are lazy or sloppy.
2a. THINK PIECE REVISIONS: all of you will complete at least one think piece revision, a process which will include scheduling a conference with me to discuss a piece I've already commented on; having that conference with me, and then rewriting your think-piece to make it even sharper and clearer. Revisions are due no later than the beginning of the final period.
3. GROUP DRAMATIC PRESENTATION: This is a project in which, as part of a group, you will be assigned to a "cut" from Royall Tyler's "The Contrast." Your job will be two-fold: In a twenty minute presentation, you will present the cut (a dramatic performance, complete with costumes and props if you so desire), and you will offer critical background and interpretive commentary on the play, including some attention to how your play bears on material we have discussed in class to date. Thus your grade will be based on: proficiency of the performance, the originality and entertainment qualities of that performance, and on the quality of insight into the play as it is reflected both in the dramatic cut and in the group's analysis. You will have a week to work on the project in your group, and then the class will devote a week to viewing each others' presentations. Group grade stands for individual grade.
4. MIDTERM AND FINAL: Each exam will test for half the semester, with the option of some cumulative material in the essay section only of the final examination. No preview on identification for either (of course); full preview on essay one week before the exam on each. Both exams are open book, open note, open dictionary. You may not use neighbors' materials. This will be graded as per contract specifications.
Contract Terms caveat emptor: default grade for any broken contract is F. You have until three weeks before the end of the class to renegotiate for a higher or lower grade.
C: Complete all readings; participate satisfactorily in discussion; miss no more than 5 classes participate fully and satisfactorily in group performance project take both mid-term and final, receive at least a "c" grade turn in 6 satisfactory think pieces, and one revision
B: Complete all readings; participate satisfactorily in class discussion; miss no more than 4 classes participate fully and satisfactorily in group performance project take both mid-term and final; receive at least a "c" grade turn in 7 satisfactory think pieces; two revisions
A: Complete all readings; participate satisfactorily in class discussion; miss no more than 3 classes participate fully and satisfactorily in group performance project take both mid-term and final; receive at least a "c" grade turn in 8 satisfactory think pieces; 2 revisions turn in one "option" paper (think piece on extra reading)
Repeat: Note on Contract: if you need to renegotiate your contract, you may at any time up until Thanksgiving. After that point, if you break contract, you FAIL. The ball stays in your court!
Calendar: NB: page numbers indicate where entry begins; read entire entry for author unless page numbers or title descriptions indicate otherwise For All authors, read Heath introduction. * = to be handed out class prior
Week One: Thur. 8/28 Class Introduction: What is America? What is American Literature? What is Democracy? Contract discussion
Week Two: Tue: 9/2 read: Iroquois, or Confederacy of the Five Nations (59) Lecture on Native America Thur: 9/4 Changing Woman and the Hero Twins (41) Creation of the Whites (115); (option paper: How America Was Discovered; 182) Contract Due
Week Three: Tue: 9/9 Columbus excerpts (116) Cabeza de Vaca (128) Thur: 9/11 Laudonnere (145); Champlain (173); Smith (184)
Week Four: Tue: 9/16 Winthrop: ONLY "Modell of Christian Charity" (226) Thur: 9/18 Rowlandson, Captivity (340); Edwards, ONLY "Personal Narrative" (573)
Week Five: Tue: 9/23 Ashbridge (595); Woolman (607) Thur: 9/25 Crevecoeur (819)
Week Six: Tue: 9/30 Franklin, from Autobiography, pts. One and Two (753) Thur: 10/2 Occom: Short Narrative of My Life (939); continue discussing Franklin (option paper: Equiano's Narrative excerpts)
Week Seven: Tue: 10/7 Declaration drafts (890); *Articles of Confederation; *Constitution Thur: 10/8 Federalist and Anti-Federalist Contentions (1193) (Mid-term Preview Distributed)
Week Eight: Tue: 10/14 Wheatley: On Being Brought from Africa (1057); To the University of Cambridge (1059); Letter to Samson Occom (1066) and intro; Haynes Thur: 10/16 (Self-Evaluation of participation to date due) Paine "An Occasional Letter" and intro (851; 853); Murray On the Equality of Sexes and intro (1011)
Week Nine: Tue: 10/21(Midterm) Thur: 10/23 The Contrast (1101) and group set up
Week Ten: Tue: 10/28(no class: meet w/groups) Thur: 10/30(no class: meet w/groups)
Week Eleven: Tue: 11/4 Performances Thur: 11/6 Performances
Week Twelve: Tue: 11/11 Last of the Mohicans Thur: 11/13 LOM discussion contd. (option paper: on Apess or Boudinot)
Week Thirteen: Tue: 11/18 Douglass Narrative Thur: 11/20 Hawthorne "Rappacini's Daughter" Poe "Fall of the House of Usher"
Week Fourteen: Tue: 11/25 (last day to renegotiate contracts) Emerson Nature (option paper: Thoreau "Walking") Thur: Thanksgiving
Week Fifteen: Tue: 12/2 Life in the Iron Mills Thur: 12/4 Melville "Paradise of Bachelors, Tartarus of Maids" (Final Preview Distributed)
Week Sixteen: Tue: 12/9 (Self-Evaluation of participation for second half of semester due) Fern (1948) "Independence," "Working Girls"; Harper (1963) "Slave Mother," "Free Labor"; Hentz excerpt (1902) Thur: 12/11 Chesnutt excerpts (1922), Lincoln excerpts (1931); class wrap-up
Contract Agreement Form Instructions: Circle the grade you wish to contract for, sign on the line, and return to D. Nelson on September 4.
C: Complete all readings; participate in discussion; miss no more than 5 classes participate fully in group performance project take both mid-term and final, receive at least a "c" grade turn in 6 satisfactory think pieces, and one revision
B: Complete all readings; participate in class discussion; miss no more than 4 classes participate fully in group performance project take both mid-term and final; receive at least a "c" grade turn in 7 satisfactory think pieces; two revisions
A: Complete all readings; participate in class discussion; miss no more than 3 classes participate fully in group performance project take both mid-term and final; receive at least a "c" grade turn in 8 satisfactory think pieces; 2 revisions turn in one "option" paper (think piece on extra reading)
I wish to contract for the above-circled grade. I understand that I am responsible for completing the terms specified therein; I understand that failure to complete the terms of this contract by the end of the course and/or renegotiate this contract before Thanksgiving can result in a failing grade. (Signed): ______________________________________________________________
Think piece guide: What I'm looking for is two pages of (typed, double-space) writing that demonstrates a real attempt at critical thinking in a way that engages some of the reading and some of the things we've been talking about in class. Please refer to the text specifically when you are making arguments about it. I reserve the right not to count lazy or sloppy think-pieces. This is to say: unless it demonstrates a serious attempt to think about the writing, it won't count as a think piece. Here are some ways of approaching your think piece. Respond to and develop further a strand of classroom discussion. Be sure to be specific about the terms of the discussion and the particular aspects and passages of the text your own arguments/feelings/response refer to. What verbal artistry did you notice about the piece? (Connotations, symbolism, metaphor, vivid and concrete description, allusion, allegory, rhyme, rhythm, consonant sounds, irony, punning, visual layout [for poetry], plotting). Did you like its artistry or no? Why, or why not? What about the cultural (ethnic/racial/class/historical) context of the work seemed familiar to you? What about the cultural context work seemed alien or incomprehensible to you? What did you learn from the piece about your own culture? the writer's culture? What historical issues does this reading raise? What kinds of historical information might help us discuss this text? How does it challenge what you thought you knew about this period? What other readings usefully compare to this piece? What issues does the comparison raise? How might these issues be useful to classroom discussion? What other readings usefully compare to this piece? What issues does the comparison raise? How might these issues be useful to classroom discussion?