Readings and Assignments

Note: Readings and assignments are due on the day they are listed on the syllabus. Changes or additions to the readings may occur throughout the semester. These will be announced in class.



The Making of an American (dream): Conversations Past and Present

“Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself. (I am large, I am multitudes.)”

Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”




M 8/22             Introduction to course / description of class objectives / A Lexicon of Critical Terms.


The Puritan Origins of the American Self

W 8/24             Edward Taylor’s “Huswifery” and Anne Bradstreet’s “On the Burning of My House” print out readings here. See also, anonymous Puritan poem, “Man A Nothing.”


The Making of an American (dream)

M 8/29             The Age of Reason: Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Part I.


W 8/31             Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Parts I-II (through page 75); contemporary cultural connections: the self-made man in the 21st century (Nike ad).



M 9/5              Labor Day Holiday, no classes, offices closed.


The American Dream Revisited: Contradictions of Self and Place

W 9/7              Modernism & the Jazz Age: The Great Gatsby, chs. 1-6. Assign guidelines for essay 1.


M 9/12             The Great Gatsby, chs. 7-end (study questions).


W 9/14             Conclude Gatsby and begin Little Miss Sunshine.


M 9/19             Little Miss Sunshine cont.-


W 9/2              Conclude Little Miss Sunshine; workshop ideas for Essay 1. Discuss Claims versus Observations/ Thesis and Introductions.


                        The Transcendental ‘I’ and A Rhetoric of Individualism

M 9/26             American Romanticism & Transcendentalism: Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” print reading here.


W 9/28             Draft workshop for Essay 1: Bring two typed copies of your draft.



Self Reliance: A Modern Consumptive Fantasy

M 10/3             “Self-Reliance” cont.- / advertisement discussion.



W 10/5             Midterm/review session—study guide.


M 10/10           Midterm Exam: Bring a large bluebook.


Representing Hyperreality: Grizzly Man and the Absolute Fake

W 10/12           Begin “Grizzly Man.”


Friday, Oct 14

Last day to withdraw with grade of W


M 10/17           “Grizzly Man” cont.-


W 10/19           Conclude “Grizzly Man” – textual intersections of realism, romanticism, and naturalism.


One Nation, Under One Self… Race Relations and His-Story

M 10/24           The Rise of Realism: Frontier Humor & Local Color: Huckleberry Finn, chs. 1-22.


W 10/26           The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, chs. 23-33. Assign guidelines for essay 2.


M 10/31           The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, chs. 34-end.



Race Relations and Her-Story

W 11/2             Postmodernism & Magical Realism: Beloved (Part I).


M 11/7             Beloved (Parts I-II).


W 11/9             Beloved (Part III); brainstorm for Essay 2.


Spaces of/for Resistance: Mapping the Insides and Outsides of National Identity

M 11/14           The Semiotics of Race in Popular Culture: The Searchers & “Indian mascots” cartoons.


W 11/16           Draft workshop for Essay 2: Bring two typed copies of your draft to class (for a grade)


M 11/21

} Thanksgiving Recess, no classes (Nov. 21-25)

W 11/23


M 11/28           First Indian on the Moon: “My Heroes Have Never Been Cowboys.”


W 11/30           First Indian: “Song,” “Alcoholic Love Poems,” “Influences,” & “Gravity.”

                        ESSAY 2 DUE



M 12/5             Last day of class: First Indian: “A Reservation Table of Elements,” “Reservation Mathematics,” & “First Indian on the Moon.” Course evaluations / distribute topics for final exam (take-home essay).


Revised Banweb Schedule for Final Exam ~

3:30-4:45 classes .................................. Thursday, Dec. 8, 2-4:55 pm. I will collect your final exam during this time.


Note well: Grades will be posted to BanWeb following the final exam period. No grades will be distributed via phone or email.