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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 Fall.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): ENGL 112.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered 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 Objectives
  • To understand American literature in multiple forms, beginning with Early Contact and Puritan literature and moving through 1865.
Measurable Learning
  • Identify major and some minor authors of these periods.
  • Define and distinguish literary genres of the periods.
  • Articulate themes and historical context of all works.
  • Apply the terminology of literary study to interpret the texts.
  • Discuss how American literature up to 1865 represents diverse ethnic traditions.
  • Explain the concept of canon and how problematizing this concept helps to challenge social inequality.
Topical Outline:
  • 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.
  • 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 final. Part of the final exam must assess knowledge of how literary texts represent American history and culture; part of the exam must require students to demonstrate knowledge of how genres operate in American literature through 1865. part of the final exam must require students to explain the how the concept of canon appears in American literature, and how this concept might be questioned. Data from final exams will be collected as an assessment measure for the English program.

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: Johanna Denzin Date: May 15, 2014
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 objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. 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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