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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Humanities Department
Course Prefix and Number: ENGL 242
Course Title: American Literature II
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Survey of American literature from 1865 to the contemporary. Prerequisite: ENGL 112. G.E. Offered spring.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): ENGL 112.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered Spring.
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 Literature
By Nina Baym, ed. and others (Norton)
Heath Anthology of American Literature
By Lauter, Paul (Cengage Learning)
Course Objectives

  • To understand American literature in multiple forms from 1865 to the contemporary period. 

    Measurable Learning
    • Delineate the periods of American literary history from 1865 to the contemporary period.
    • 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.
    • Discuss how American literature after 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 , essay, fiction, poetry, and drama.
    • Periods examined should include:
    • Realism and Naturalism
    • Modernism
    • Postmodernism
    • Contemporary
    • Departmental policy requires a minimum of 3,000 words (approximately 12 pages) of graded student writing for this course.
    • This course must contain significant reading that recognizes ethnic traditions in American LIterature after 1865, for example reading of Harlem Renaissance figures and/or other African American writers, and/or writers belonging to  Chicano/Chicana, Jewish American, Native American, Asian American traditions.
    • In class exams, including a final. Part of the final exam must assess knowledge of how literary texts represent American history and culture after 1865; part of the final exam must require students to demonstrate knowledge of how genres operate in American literature after 1865.

    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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