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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Humanities Department
Course Prefix and Number: ENGL 241
Course Title: American Literature I
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Survey of American literature from Early Contact and Puritan literature through 1865. Prerequisite: ENGL 112. G.E. Offered odd Fall.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): ENGL 112.
Course Rotation for Day Program:

Offered odd Fall.

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

A suitable anthology of American literature. The texts listed below are representative. Other texts may also be required as appropriate.

The Norton Anthology of American Literatyre
By Edited by Nina Baym
Heath Anthology of American Literature
By Edited by Paul Lauter
Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Identify the periods of American literary history from early contact and Puritan literature through 1865.
  2. Identify major and some minor authors of these periods.
  3. Explain historical and cultural contexts of literary works.
  4. Write argumentatively about literary works.
  5. Apply the terminology of literary study to interpret works in multiple genres.
  6. Demonstrate revision of argumentative writing about early American literary works.
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:
  • A chronological examination and discussion of all major literary periods, drawing on a selection of multiple literary genres including, but not limited to, sermons, essay, slave narratives, fiction, and poetry
  • Periods examined should include:
    • Early Contact
    • Puritan
    • Enlightenment and Federal
    • Transcendentalism 
    • Romanticism
  • Departmental policy requires a minimum of 3,000 words (about 12 pages) of graded student writing for this course.
  • Students must write a series of two literary analysis essays that require students to analyze one or more primary texts, and which do not require the use of secondary literary criticism. More than two essays may be assigned in the course.
  • This course must contain a focus on the ethnic diversity of American literature, which may mean the inclusion of Native American creation myths and/or focus on slave narratives and other writing by African Americans.
  • In class exams, including a midterm and a final. Part of the midterm must ask students to apply terminologies of the English discipline to literary works, as well as to discuss genres appearing in the works studied.
  • Part of the final exam must include some questions asking students to identify and/or explain the historical, cultural, and authorial contexts of literary works.
  • Instructors may be asked to collect information from the assignments specified in the Major Topics/Skills section. This information will be provided to the English program for evaluation.

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 25

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Peter Monacell Date: April 15, 2015
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course learning outcomes and cover the subjects listed in the Major Topics/Skills to be Covered section. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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