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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Language and Communications Studies Department
Course Prefix and Number: ENGL 371
Course Title: Ethnic Traditions in American Literature
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Study of authors and literary works belonging to a specific ethnic tradition in American literature (e.g. African American Literature, Asian American Literature, Chicana/Chicano Literature, Native American Literature). Prerequisites: ENGL 112 and a previous 200-level or higher English course. Course meets Multicultural graduation requirement. Occasional Offering.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

ENGL 112 and a previous 200-level or higher English course.

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Occasional Offering.


A comprehensive anthology of literature that represents the selected tradition, and which should be supplemented by 2-3 well-chosen, inexpensive, college-level editions of books by authors belonging to that tradition.

Or, a careful selection of inexpensive, college-level books by 5-8 authors belonging to that tradition.

Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe the characteristics of an ethnic tradition in U.S. literature.
  2. Analyze multiple genres produced within an ethnic tradition in U.S. literature.
  3. Identify the historical and cultural forces influencing an ethnic tradition in U.S. literature.
  4. Discuss authors and authorial concerns within an ethnic tradition in U.S. literature.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of the critical reception of literature belonging to an ethnic tradition in U.S. literature.
  6. Write argumentatively about literary works.
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:
  • Throughout the course, in discussion and writing, students must be asked to relate the works studied to one another, and to the selected literary tradition.
  • Because this course represents an upper-level English elective, it bears a distinctive responsibility for teaching advanced knowledge within the discipline. Students must read and write intensively, and they must engage in serious literary study that includes the use of peer-reviewed scholarship. This course must require advanced students to complete both in class and out of class projects (such as midterms, finals, group reports, quizzes, research papers). The course reading load should be at least 1000 pages, and may comprise less than this minimum only if the instructor is accounting for a significant amount of assigned poetry. 
  • Department policy requires a minimum of 4000 words (about 16 pages) of graded student writing, including an argumentative research essay that incorporates scholarly secondary criticism. Multiple essays should be assigned, and the research essay should account for no more than half of the total assigned page-count for the course.
  • Department policy requires that assignments include at least one common reading of a secondary, peer-reviewed article or chapter.
  • Class discussion of selected works and terminology essential to the study of ethnic traditions in literature
  • In class exams, including a final exam that requires students to analyze a range of works belonging to the ethnic tradition in U.S. literature, and to explain the generic characteristics of those works, as well as their historical, cultural, and authorial contexts.
  • 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: 30

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at the Columbia College Stafford Library.  You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Peter Monacell Date: April 11, 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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