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Online classes

Effective: Early Spring 8-Week 2017/2018

ENGL 241: American Literature I

Course Description

Survey of American literature from Early Contact and Puritan literature through 1865.

Prerequisite: ENGL 112

Proctored Exams: Final



Syllabus Contents

Textbooks

Required

  • Lauter, Paul, ed. . (2013). The Heath Anthology of American Literature: Volume A (7th). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
    • [ISBN-978-1-133-31022-8]
  • Lauter, Paul, ed. . (2013). The Heath Anthology of American Literature: Volume B (7th). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
    • [ISBN-978-1-133-31023-5]

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.


Course Overview

This course offers a survey of American literature from its many early starting points until the rise of the literary movement called Realism (roughly until the Civil War). The text that we are using, The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Volumes A and B, offers a refreshing view of this material by fully exploring the other voices beyond the English settlements, without losing more traditional voices.

Many of these selections are forms, or genres, that are not encountered as frequently in literature classes, including diaries, journals, travel narratives, captivity narratives, slave narratives, sermons and essays, as well as usual poetry and fiction. This makes for an intriguing mixture, which, together, should give us a unique insight into what will become American.



Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.


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.

Grading

Grading Scale
Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
D 600-699 60-69%
F 0-599 0-59%
Grade Weights
Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (16) 250 25%
Literary Analysis Essays (3) 450 45%
Midterm Exam 150 15%
Final Exam 150 15%
Total 1000 100%


Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Introduction Discussion 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 1 15 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 2 15
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 15 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 4 15
Proctor Information N/A Sunday
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 15 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 6 15
Literary Analysis Essay 1 150 Sunday
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 15 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 8 15
Midterm Exam 150 Sunday
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9 15 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 10 15
Literary Analysis Essay 2 150 Sunday
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11 15 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 12 15
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13 15 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 14 15
Literary Analysis Essay 3 150 Sunday
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 15 15 Thursday/Saturday
Discussion 16 15
Final Exam 150 Saturday
Total Points 1000

Assignment Overview

Discussions

Each week you will respond to questions on each of the reading assignments. Apart from Week 1, there will be 2 discussion posts each week; the initial posts are due Thursday 11.59 pm CT. For Week 1, Introduction Discussion is due Wednesday. The first and the second discussions’ original posts are due Thursday. You will also be expected to respond to posts by at least 2 of your classmates by the end of the week (Sunday 11.59 pm CT except for Week 8 when it’s due Saturday 11.59 pm CT) of the discussion in order to advance the discussion. Your initial post should be at least 250 words in MLA style and should reflect your engagement with the readings by including evidence from the texts in the form of quotations and paraphrases to illustrate your ideas. Your responses to posts by your peers should be substantial, at least 100 words each in MLA style. Also include specific examples from the readings. Discussions are graded at 15 points each. The Introduction Discussion is worth 10 points.


Literary Analysis Essays

In Weeks 3, 5, and 7 you will write Literary Analysis essays, advancing interpretative arguments about the readings of the course. The papers are due on the Sundays of Weeks 3, 5, and 7 at 11.59 pm CT. All papers should be 3-4 pages in length containing approximately (1000 words). They must be written in the MLA format. They must be double-spaced with Times New Roman 12-point font and 1 inch margins. All papers must also be written specifically for this course in this session. Recycled work from a previous course in whole or in part will not be accepted. All work must be in your own words.


Exams

There are two exams in this course: Midterm Exam and Final Exam. The Midterm exam opens 12.01 am CT, Monday and close at 11.59 pm CT, Sunday of Week 4. The Final exam opens 12.01 am CT, Monday and close at 11.59 pm CT, Saturday of Week 8.

The exams comprise passage identifications from the readings, short answer questions on terms and concepts relevant to early American literary history, and longer essay type questions on the themes and topics covered in this course. The Midterm exam is based on the topics covered in Weeks 1 through 4. The Final exam is based on the topics covered in Weeks 5 through 8.  Each exam is worth 150 points and has 8-10 questions. You will have 2 hours to complete each exam.  You will have only 1 attempt to answer the questions.  

The Midterm Exam will not be proctored, and you may have access to books and notes during the exam. The Final Exam will be proctored, and you will not have access to books and notes when you complete the exam. You must submit the “Student Proctor Information Submission Form” to the Proctor Information Dropbox by the end of Week 2. This form and additional information about Proctoring is located in the Content area of the course. Each Columbia College site has its own hours and methods for handling proctoring. There is a proctored Final Exam at the end of this course. You have two hours to complete your final exam. It is based on the readings for Week 5-8. No notes, books, or other resources are allowed.



Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Week 1: Beginnings to 1700
Readings

Heath Anthology, Volume A:

Beginnings to 1700, pp 1-17

In Focus:

  • America in the World, pp 107-9;
  • Of Cannibals, pp 110;
  • de Las Casas, pp 114-5

New Spain, pp 116-21

Columbus, pp 122-35

De Vaca, Relation, pp 147-60

John Smith, pp 315-29

Introduction Discussion

Please get to know each other here. Say a bit about yourself, your interests, your goals, favorite books, etc.

Discussion 1

The Colonial Period

Compare the readings describing European expectations about America by Montaigne and de Las Casas, with the accounts of exploration by Columbus and Cabeza de Vaca. How would you contrast the way that America was imagined by Europeans with these descriptions of what European explorers actually encountered in America? How do these accounts by Columbus and Cabeza de Vaca confirm these expectations, and how do they not? 

Discussion 2

The Early English Colonies

Describe what we learn about the English colonists and their relations with Native Americans through John Smith’s account. How would you describe the role of Pocahontas in Smith’s written history? Do you see any evidence in the text that Smith might be exaggerating his version of events? 

Week 2: The New England Colonies
Readings

Heath Anthology, Volume A:

New England, pp 359-63

Thomas Morton, New English Canaan, pp 364-77

John Winthrop, Modell of Christian Charity, and Journal, pp 378-96

Anne Bradstreet, poems, pp 437-51

Mary Rowlandson, Narrative of the Captivity, pp 480-513

Discussion 3

The Pilgrims and the Massachusetts Bay Colony

Compare Thomas Morton’s vision in The New English Canaan with John Winthrop’s “Modell” for the Mass. Bay Colony. How would you compare the style and tone of each text? What hopes does Winthrop have for the Mass. Bay Colony, and what is his view of dissenters, such as Roger Williams or Anne Hutchinson?

Discussion 4

Poems and Diaries

Compare the tone of Bradstreet’s poems with that of Rowlandson’s captivity narrative. What do we learn from these very different texts about the lives of women in the New England colonies during this period? What roles and expectations for women can you see expressed in these texts?

Proctor Information
Submit your proctor form to the appropriate Dropbox folder by the end of the week. Remember to “Save” the form before placing it in Dropbox. See the Content area for more information.
Week 3: The Eighteenth Century
Readings

Heath Anthology , Volume A:

Eighteenth Century, pp 613-31

Jonathan Edwards:

  • Intro pp 700;
  • Personal Narrative pp 711+;
  • Sinners pp 723+

Ben Franklin

  • Way of Wealth, pp 913+; 927-34;
  • Autobiography, pp 935-97

Crevecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer, pp 1006-18

Thomas Paine, Age of Reason, pp 698-99; 1060-64

Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, pp 1080-1100

Discussion 5

Jonathan Edwards and Benjamin Franklin

Compare and contrast the use of personal narratives in Edwards’s texts and Franklin’s. What images and arguments stand out for you as the strongest in his “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”? What incidents from Franklin’s life as a young man described in his Autobiography best reveal his character?

Discussion 6

A New Nation

How would you compare the views of Jefferson and Crevecoeur on slavery? How would you compare the views of Crevecoeur and Paine on reason and human nature? Based on these comparisons, what key dilemmas or contradictions about the newly independent USA do you see described in these readings?

Literary Analysis Essay 1

Write an essay on no more than two of the readings from Weeks 1-3 of the course. Choose two works from different genres (poetry and sermon, essay, and autobiography, etc.) and develop an argumentative analysis of how these texts depict any of the themes discussed so far. Possible themes, among others, include:

  • Native America and slavery
  • Gender and the roles of women
  • Puritanism and religious dissent
  • Revolution and the new nation

Your essay should have an argumentative thesis that clearly and specifically states how the theme you have chosen to focus on is depicted in the texts you are analyzing. Place your thesis statement as the final sentence of your introduction. Make sure you introduce the texts you are writing about in your introduction and use your thesis statement to explain how you interpret them specifically.

A strong argumentative essay will:

  1. Analyze specific examples from the texts themselves, using quotations from the texts as evidence for your interpretation. Use close reading techniques to analyze the texts in detail, and pay careful attention to the specific genre of the text you are considering.
  2. Focus on a specific theme in your analysis. You cannot analyze every aspect of these texts so choose only the details and examples that allow you to explore your essay’s topic clearly and effectively.
  3. Provide a thesis statement and analysis that tell us something significant about these texts that we might not have considered otherwise.  Be ambitious in your analysis and tell us something interesting.

MLA style guides and samples can be found under the General Resources tab in the content section.

Week 4: Contested Visions
Readings

From Heath, Volume A:

Contested Visions, pp 1215-17

Olaudah Equiano, Narrative Life, pp 1259-96

Judith Murray, pp 1297-8; On the Equality of the Sexes, pp 1305-12

Phyllis Wheatley’s poetry, pp 1348+

From Heath, Volume B:

Early 19th Century, pp 1539-74

Native America, pp 1575-77

Expansion, pp 1720-22

The Cultures of New England, pp 1780

Apess, An Indian's Looking-Glass for the White Man(from Eulogy on King Philip), pp 1795-1801

Emerson, pp 1822-25;The American Scholar, pp 1855-68

Discussion 7

Other Voices

Compare Equiano’s descriptions of slavery and freedom with Wheatley’s. Also, trace Murray’s key arguments about the equality of the sexes. How would you contrast the styles of each of these pieces, and what do they tell us about the positions and possibilities for women and slaves in the early republic?

Discussion 8

Transcendentalism and Early Nineteenth-Century America

How does Apess look at religion and use it in his essay “An Indian’s Looking-Glass”? What values are proclaimed even in the first paragraph of the essay? Compare the values of Apess’ essay with the work of Emerson. What tone and topic does Emerson set in the first paragraph of “The American Scholar”?

Midterm Exam

It will include passage identifications from the readings, short answer questions on terms and concepts relevant to early American literary history, and longer essay type questions on the themes and topics of the course. It will cover readings assigned up to and including Week 4. It comprises 8-10 questions.  It is worth 150 points. Only 1 attempt is allowed. The duration of the exam is 2 hours. It is an open book exam and will not be proctored.

Week 5: Resistance
Readings

From Heath, Volume B:

Henry David Thoreau, pp 1976-78; Resistance, pp 1979-95

William Lloyd Garrison, pp 2118-25

Angelina Grimke, Appeal to the Christian Women, pp 2144-53

Frederick Douglass, Narrative, pp 2163-2234

Thomas Higginson, Nat Turner’s Insurrection, pp 2321-24

Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, pp 2338-66

Discussion 9

Thoreau, Abolition and Resistance

What problem does Thoreau see with majority rule, and what does he define as a man’s duty? Explain his attitude regarding “unjust laws,” and how do you interpret the essay’s very last paragraph? Compare and contrast the approaches of Garrison and Grimke in making their appeals against slavery. How does the use of Christian arguments against slavery compare with Nat Turner’s religious inspiration?

Discussion 10

Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs

What key events stand out in Douglass’s and Jacobs’s accounts of slave life? Why are reading and writing so important in their narratives, and how would you explain the differences between the effects of slavery on men and women in particular based on these descriptions?

Literary Analysis Essay 2

Write an essay on no more than two of the readings from Weeks 4 and 5 of the course. Choose two works from different genres (poetry and sermon, essay, and autobiography, etc.) and develop an argumentative analysis of how these texts depict any of the themes discussed so far. Possible themes, among others, include:

  • Native America
  • Gender and the roles of women
  • Abolition and slavery
  • Transcendentalism

Your essay should have an argumentative thesis that clearly and specifically states how the theme you have chosen to focus on is depicted in the texts you are analyzing. Place your thesis statement as the final sentence of your introduction. Make sure you introduce the texts you are writing about in your introduction and use your thesis statement to explain how you interpret them specifically.

A strong argumentative essay will:

  1. Analyze specific examples from the texts themselves, using quotations from the texts as evidence for your interpretation. Use close reading techniques to analyze the texts in detail, and pay careful attention to the specific genre of the text you are considering.
  2. Focus on a specific theme in your analysis. You cannot analyze every aspect of these texts so choose only the details and examples that allow you to explore your essay’s topic clearly and effectively.
  3. Present a thesis statement and analysis that tell us something significant about these texts that we might not have considered otherwise.  Be ambitious in your analysis and tell us something interesting.

 MLA style guides and samples can be found under the General Resources tab in the content section.

Week 6: Development of Narrative
Readings

From Heath, Volume B:

Sojourner Truth, pp 2454-61

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Eighty Years and Declaration, pp 2473-79

Development of Narrative, pp 2480-3

Washington Irving, Legend of Sleepy Hollow, pp 2519-40

Edgar Allan Poe, pp 2691-93;Fall of the House of Usher, pp 2706+;

Nathaniel Hawthorne, Intro 2603;

  • "Young Goodman Brown," pp 2621+;
  • "The Birthmark," pp 2641+;
Discussion 11

Other Voices

Compare and contrast the statements made by Sojourner Truth’s speeches and Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s “Declaration.” What makes each of these texts particularly effective? What do you think is significant about the way Truth contrasts the rights of black women with women in general?

Discussion 12

Irving, Hawthorne and Poe

How would you compare the style of Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” with the style of the stories by Hawthorne and Poe? Describe what Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark” and Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher” have to say about the theme of obsession. What, if anything, do the obsessions of Aylmer and Roderick Usher have in common, and what do we learn about each character by the end of their stories?

Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Week 7: Stowe and Melville
Readings

From Heath, Volume B:

  • Harriet Beecher Stowe, from Uncle Tom’s Cabin, pp 2770-2814
  • Herman Melville, pp 2846-49;
    • Billy Budd, pp 3026+
    • Bartleby, pp 2850-78
Discussion 13

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

What aspects of the reality of slavery can you find portrayed in this novel, and how would you compare the novel with the personal narratives that we have read in previous weeks? How does the novel use literary techniques to bring the reality of slavery to life?

Discussion 14

Melville

Compare the use of symbolic imagery used by Melville to portray the characters of Billy and Claggart. How is Billy described at the end of the novel in the scene during which he is hung? What do you think this text has to say about the theme of freedom, and how might you compare the situations of Billy and Bartleby from “Bartleby the Scrivener”? 

Literary Analysis Essay 3

Write an essay on no more than one of the readings from Weeks 6 and 7 of the course. Use your essay to develop a close analysis of one text focusing on any of the themes and topics of the course.

Your essay should have an argumentative thesis that clearly and specifically states how the theme you have chosen to focus on is depicted in the text you are analyzing. Place your thesis statement as the final sentence of your introduction. Make sure you introduce the text you are writing about in your introduction and use your thesis statement to explain how you interpret them specifically.

  1. Note: in this essay, you will focus on only ONE of the works assigned for Weeks 6 or 7.
    A strong argumentative essay will:

    Analyze specific examples from the primary text itself, using quotations from the text as evidence for your interpretation. Use close reading techniques to analyze the text in detail, and pay careful attention to the specific genre of the text you are considering. 
  2. Focus on a specific theme in your analysis. You cannot analyze every aspect of the primary text so choose only the details and examples that allow you to explore your essay’s topic clearly and effectively.
  3. Your essay’s thesis statement and analysis should tell us something significant about the primary text that we might not have considered otherwise.  Be ambitious in your analysis and tell us something interesting.
Week 8: Whitman, Dickinson and Davis
Readings

From Heath, Volume B:

Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron-Mills, pp 3114-45

Whitman, pp 3218-21;

  • from Song of Myself; I Hear America Singing, p 3287;
  • I Saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing, p 3292;
  • When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer, p 3305;
  • As I Lay, p 3312

Emily Dickinson, pp. 3379-91

Discussion 15

Rebecca Harding Davis

What do you learn about the life situations of the workers in the mines through this novel? What aspects of the style of this text would you describe as realistic?

Discussion 16

Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson

How would you compare the style and tone of Whitman and Dickinson's poems, and how do you think the forms of the poems reflect their subject matter? How would you describe the way the speakers in each poet's poems portray themselves, and what seems to be their statements on the diversity of American life?

Final Exam

It will includes passage identifications from the readings, short answer questions on terms and concepts relevant to early American literary history, and longer essay type questions on the themes and topics of the course. It will cover readings assigned up to and including Week 8. It comprises 8-10 questions. It is worth 150 points. Only 1 attempt allowed. Its duration is 2 hours. It will be a proctored exam, It will not be an open book exam.



Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism

Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.

Non-Discrimination

There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted. Late assignments will normally not be accepted and will receive no credit.  You may not submit discussion posts or written assignments late unless you have a health or family emergency and have made an arrangement with the me; I reserve the right to request documentation of such emergencies.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

Proctor Policy

Students taking courses that require proctored exams must submit their completed proctor request forms to their instructors by the end of the second week of the session. Proctors located at Columbia College campuses are automatically approved. The use of ProctorU services is also automatically approved. The instructor of each course will consider any other choice of proctor for approval or denial. Additional proctor choices the instructor will consider include: public librarians, high school or college instructors, high school or college counseling services, commanding officers, education service officers, and other proctoring services. Personal friends, family members, athletic coaches and direct supervisors are not acceptable.


Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.


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