English 4384-01W Senior Seminar
Regionalism and Literature

MW 2:00-3:15 PM
TLC 2237

Dr. Randy Hendricks
TLC 2223
  Home Page

Exit Interview Schedule TBA




Course framework & Individual projects

Course objectives

Course policies

Requirements and grades

Schedule--contains additional links

Texts and materials



Assignment for Short Essay 1

 Assignment for Short Essay 2

Assignment for Short Essay

Group Presentation Assignments
Group Assignments
Group Presentation Critique Assignment
The Seminar Paper
     Strategies for Selecting a Topic
     Literature Review
     Prospectus Assignment      
 Prospectus Critique Assignment
 First Draft Critique Assignment
Second Draft Critique Assignment
Third Draft Critique Assignment

Other Important Information

Conference Schedule  Forthcoming
Editorial Decisions Checklist
Exit Interview: Questions and Schedule
Schedule forthcoming

 Required Texts and Materials


1. Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories (Norton Edition)
2. Hendricks and Perkins, eds.  For the Record:  A Robert Drake Reader
3. Course packet
4. An anthology of essays produced by the class.  (Students who wish to a have a copy will pay a $5 nonrefundable deposit to the instructor against the cost of printing the bound volume.  The balance will be paid on delivery.)
5. Access to a good college level composition handbook and the MLA Guide for Writers of Research Papers, as well as, of course, a good dictionary.
Course Objectives
1. To examine traditional and current theoretical and practical issues about the discipline and students’ professional lives after graduation.
2. To reflect upon and analyze implications of students’ course of study, especially with regard to the seminar topic.
3. To read, understand, and discuss texts related to a specific literary problem with regard to the topic of the seminar.
4. To work independently and collaboratively toward production of an anthology of essays by class members on the topic of the seminar.
5. To develop, research, and execute a substantial literary argument with regard to the topic of the seminar.
6. To make effective oral presentations (both individual and collaborative) on reading assignments.

Course Policies and Expectations

1. Because this course is a seminar, student participation (needless to say, attendance) is mandatory.  Each assignment will receive an individual grade but the individual grades will then be merged into one grade for each category (for example, grades on all three response papers will be averaged to compute one single grade).
2. Late work will not be accepted except in the case of a dire emergency.  You instructor will have the final word in all such cases.  Because the process of this seminar and the because of the collaborative nature of the work, you will receive a zero on any work not submitted on time.  Presentations may not be made up.
3. As a senior English major engaged in a serious endeavor, you should know that I expect you to come to each class prepared and willing to participate and to treat all peers with interest and respect.  In such a course, it is not enough simply to read the assigned materials.  Students must engage them, apply them to your own experience in this discipline, question them, and be able to use them in forming your own projects.
4. The seminar paper is the primary demonstration of your achievement in this course.  Conception of the project, drafting, researching, and editing will probably involve much more work, depth, and discipline than in any course you have taken previously.
5. Editing others’ work, including making comments about revisions of grammar, style, organization, and content, is a requirement in this course, and we take seriously the notion of collaboration.  Your editing remarks will be graded in terms of serious and thoughtful assistance balanced with respect for the ideas of others.
6. The class project of an anthology requires that you submit your final seminar paper both on paper and a diskette (or you may submit it online) saved in Word97 format.  Publication of your essay in this anthology requires that you fully complete each step in the process of writing the paper.  In order for your paper to be included in this collection, you must successfully complete all steps in this process to meet minimum criteria for the paper.

Course Requirements and Grades:
1.  Seminar paper (including drafts) 50%
2.  Presentations   20%
3.  Short Essays   20%
4.  Editing Exercises and Participation  10%
5.  Required exit interview  0%


Note:  Any student who, for whatever reason, cannot commit to the tight schedule of and the discipline required for this course would be well advised to drop it.

W Designation
A course designated as a W (Writing intensive) course meets certain established criteria for incorporating both "writing to learn" and "writing to communicate" processes.  This course meets those criteria through the following activities and assignments:

Writing to learn:
(1) One-minute papers at the end of class meetings.
(2) Short response papers on readings before or at the beginning of class meetings.

Writing to communicate:
(1) Three short analytical papers
(2) written preparation for reports
(3) formal editing/critique of student papers
(4) research paper

Course Framework and Project Selections

The senior seminar usually focuses on a professional issue that involves debate and conflict.  Regionalism and regionalist theory, once a vibrant issue for debate in American literature before falling out of favor, has recently reemerged as a significant movement in critical theory.  There are important similarities and key differences between this new theorizing of regional writing and the traditional views which afford us an opportunity for a rich experience in reading and adding our thoughts to the debate.

<>The course is divided into three main parts.  First we will read and discuss some of the significant works of regionalist criticism and theory, old and new.  Once we have identified and discussed some of the key issues of the debate, we will turn to four primary texts, Jewett’s The Country of the Pointed Firs, Drake’s Survivors and Others, and Allen’s Annie Hall and Crimes and Misdemeanors, to see how the issues apply to and are reshaped by actual literary works.  Finally, we will turn to the production of the individual and class projects.

                                                                                                                                                                                   Written Assignments
                                            Date                                                      Reading Assignments                                             & Class Activities     

Aug 15


Jordan's Introduction to Regionalism Reconsidered

Davidson's "The Diversity of America," "Regionalism in the Arts," "Regionalism and Nationalism in American Literature"

Lorrigio, "Regionalism and Theory"
Kowalewski, "Bioregional Perspectives in American Literature"
Sept   3


Franks, "The Regionalist's Community:  Indigenous versus Outsider Consciousness in Deledda's La Madre and Lawrence's Sea and Sardinia"
Preliminary Reports on Topic Selection

Pryse and Fetterley, Introduction to American Women Regionalists; Pryse, "Reading Regionalism:  The 'Difference' It Makes"
(in Jordan); Pryse, Introduction to The Country of the Pointed Firs (in text)

Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs Short Essay 1 Dues

Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs
Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs
For the Record.  "Reading Robert Drake: An Introduction," the essay "All this Material and Other Such Things" (p. 267), and the first nine stories (through "Now, Baby, Do You Know One Thing") in the volume. Group 1 Presentation
For the Record.  Remaining stories in the volume, the essay "What I Write About: Death and Old Women," and the following sections of the interview with Drake:  "On a Sense of Audience" (202), "On Teaching Writing" (235), "On Storytelling" (236), "On Types of Humor" (238), "On the Ear and the Eye" (252).
Oct     1

Group 2 Presentation
Allen, Annie Hall



Allen, Annie Hall

Allen, Annie Hall

Prospectus Due/Prospectus Critiques in class

Short Essay 2 Due

Progress Reports/Bibliography

Individual consultations

Individual consultations; 

NO CLASS:  Instructor away for conference

First Draft Due
Nov    5

 Second Draft Due

 NO CLASS:  Work on third draft.


Third Draft Due



Progress Reports and Partner Critiques

Fourth Draft Due/ Copyediting

NO CLASS:  Thanksgiving

Short Essay 3 Due

Fifth draft due


 Dec     3

Course Evaluations

Finalize Editorial Decisions

Exit interviews conducted this week


Final draft with electronic file due.


An Inventory to Aid in Topic Selection

1. What courses in English have you had?
2. In which of those courses have you studied regional literary texts?  How were they presented in relation to the rest of the course readings?
3. What specific regional texts have you read?
4. What texts have you read that are not usually described as regional but that might be open to regionalist interpretations?
5. How might regionalist readings of a literary work relate to other critical approaches?  Formalist?  Reader Response?  Cultural?
6. What, generally, is your attitude toward regionalism in literature?

Literature Review

You will be deeply engaged in collective and individual research this semester, and all research begins with a review of what has been written about your topic already.  Each of you will become grounded in a specific body of literature depending on your choice of topic.  We will take you a long way in the theoretical review of literature in section 1 of the class, but you will initiate your own research geared more specifically to your topic.  Throughout the lit. review, extensive reading, detailed notes, and scrupulous documentation are key.  You conduct research in order to place your ideas in a context as well as to shape your own writing about a topic. It is not the goal of research to find a few quotations to plug into your paper at appropriate places.  Though you will look at a good many more pieces for your working bibliography, your Works Cited page should list 6-10 items, perhaps more if your particular project calls for it.

The Seminar Paper

The Seminar paper is central to the class and will probably be far more extensive in terms of the process of writing than you have experienced in other classes.

Because the paper (50% of your grade) will be published in a collection and preserved by the department, you writing is a very public activity.  The first important thing to remember is that the class is now your peer group of editors; you should begin with a healthy respect for each others' work but part of your job is to critique, in  helpful ways, the progress of your peers' projects and, in the same way, be willing to use the critiques and others on your own.

Also, the work on this paper takes up the majority of the class after mid-term.  This fact has two serious implications: one, you must choose a project subject early and you must complete a draft early; second, you must show extreme discipline and maturity about scheduling and work (note that you have other reading assignments and three shorter essay in the addition to the seminar paper).  Any student who cannot make this effort this semester is encourage to withdraw.

The paper might be longer than others you have done.  The projected length is 12-15 pages.  Essays should all be as uniform as possible both in length and research quality.  You should have at least 6-10 substantive sources in the Works Cited of your final draft, perhaps more, depending on you topic.  You will, of course, consult a much higher number of works in the course of your individual research.

Assignment for Short Essay 1

In this three-page (typed, double-spaced essay) you will respond to some element of one or more of the theorists we will have studied by September 10.  Your approach may be to analyze or compare as you consider implications of the theorists’ ideas for literary study.

Prospectus Assignment

A one page abstract that defines your subject, your approach, and the context within which you
will explore it.  See  Sample Prospectus

Against Modernist Assumptions:
Reading Robert Drake's What Will You Do For an Encore?

    The structures of Robert Drake's stories recall a pattern that seems anachronistic on the surface, yet close scrutiny reveals that certain elements of their traditional form as "tales" function as critiques of abstract modern values.  Their tendency to decenter abstract literary and cultural values and Drake's treatment of place make it possible to read the stories in the light of traditional regionalist theory as represented by a critic like Donald Davidson.  Yet other tendencies in the stories link them to certain basis tenets of a more recent feminist regionalism reflected in the revisionist criticism of Marjorie Pryse, Judith Fetterley, and others.

    Drake's self-consciousness as a regionalist is reflected in his assumption that contemporary readers need to be taught how to comprehend his characters.  In his story "The Living Room," for example, he goes to great lengths to explain how a modern understanding of the word natural differs from an older understanding that was disappearing from the West Tennessee of his boyhood in the 1930's and 1940's.  Drake is also a traditional regionalist in his handling of place.  Woodville, his fictional town, is a compendium of the inner problem for his narrator, not the backdrop for fond reminiscence of quaint and peculiar folk.

    The oral nature of Drake's fiction links it both with an older understanding of regionalism and with more recent feminist claims that regionalism is a genre practiced by women writers and which, among other traits, tends to present reading as a metaphor for listening.  Readers of Drake's stories feel less written at than talked to because of his colloquialism and folk rhythms, but his illusion of talking is also sustained by certain repetitions of detail that position the reader/listener in relation to the characters of the tale at hand.

    Drake is working now, and successfully, in his own version of an art form scholars believe ceased to be relevant around the turn of the century or to be exclusive to women.

Prospectus Critique Assignment

Author Name:
Partner Name:

1.  Does the prospectus open with general remarks linking the specific topic of the project with the notion of "regionalism" or at least the potential to investigate the topic for a link with regionalism?  If yes, bracket those sentences in the abstract.
    If no, suggest a potential strategy to the writer:

2.  Does the prospectus mention what specific author/authors are to be studied, the specific texts to be considered, the particular region(s) and period(s) from which they derive?  If yes, star those statements on the abstract.
    If no, suggest where such information should go:

3.  Does the prospectus offer any general remarks about the regional conflicts to be explored or remarks that clearly link the project to related critical approaches:  formalism, feminism, bioregionalism, etc.?   If so, are they logical and developed enough to set a context?  Remark:
    If not, should they?  Why or why not?  Should the writer include such characteristics by research in the appropriate area?

4.  What particular ideas or sentences seem unclear, awkward, illogical, or just undeveloped?  BE SPECIFIC.

5.  What suggestion could you offer the writer in terms of how to fill out the prospectus?  (You do not have to know about the topic to suggest what kinds of things could be included).

Group Presentation Assignment

Group 1:  A reading of Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs in light of regionalist theory.
Group 2:  A reading of Drake's short stories in light of regionalist theory.

Each group should present a thesis-directed argument that highlights insights into the fiction provided by the critics and/or how the work of fiction demonstrates the limitations of a critic's argument.  In other words, the report should provide critiques of both the fiction and the criticism.  Do not treat the criticism (or the fiction) as sacred text.  Be selective.  Though you will be required to discuss more than one critic, you should not try to do all of them.  Let the work of fiction itself guide you in this selection.

This assignment will naturally require some out-of-class work as a group.  Divide the work logically and fairly among/between you.  Each member of the group should present at least one distinct point of the presentation and each should take approximately the same amount of time.

Additional Requirements:  25-30 minute presentation, a clear and organized photocopied handout outlining the points you'll be covering, engagement of the class in discussion.

Group Assignments

Group 1:  

Group 2:  

Group 3:  

Presentation Critique Assignment

Length:  1 page, typed, double-spaced.  Due:  at meeting following the group presentation.
1.  Consider the opening--how well did you have a sense of what the whole report would cover?
2.  Consider the organization of the report--did the division of the parts of the report make sense?  did they seem roughly equal?
3.  Consider the individual topics of the report--did each point come across clearly or were some vague?
4.  Consider media--did you feel the need for additional ways to communicate terms, topics, ideas, etc.
5.  Consider the individual reporters--were they clear?  did they cohere with the rest of the group.
6.  Consider the final impression--did the purpose of the report seem relevant to the subject at hand?  did you feel that you benefited from the report?   did your understanding and appreciation of the topic increase?

Conference Schedule

To be completed later in the semester.

Assignment for Short Essay 2

In this three-page (typed, double-spaced essay) you will write an analytical paper on some element in Jewett's, Drake's or Allen's work in relation to the idea(s) of one critical theorist we have studied (or contrasting two).

First and Second Draft Critique Assignment

For this critique you will work with multiple partners.  For the first hour and a half, read and critique two papers.  During the final hour, confer and discuss the critiques with the authors, clarifying your comments and responding to each other's questions.

Author's Name:
Critic's Name:
Title of Essay:

1.  Read the essay carefully and, realizing that this is  first (or second) draft, comment on the general nature of the argument.  Use the following sentences for reading and critiquing.  Make any additional commentary that the paper seems to call for.  Generally speaking you should reserve comments on style and grammar for the third draft.

    What is the thesis?

    Is it direct and focused or is it disunified and fragmented?

    What are the major subtopics?

    Do they follow an organizational pattern that makes sense?

    What sections are the clearest and which ones need more elaboration?

    What is the connection to regionalism?

    Is there a consciously critical use of regionalism or does the paper apply regionalism as if it
    were a thing found in nature?

2.  After making notes on these points, write up your analysis and give it to the author.  Talk
     to the author in class about the paper.

Third Draft Critique Assignment

For this critique, you will work with a single partner.  Read the essay carefully at least once before writing any response.  The second time through follow the directions under the "Style Checker"  and then answer the questions below on the overall effectiveness of the paper.

Author's Name:
Critic's Name:
Title of Essay:

1.  Read the essay carefully.  The paper is still a draft but should now be nearing a final form.  Keep that in mind as you make your evaluation and comments.  Use the following questions for reading and critiquing.  Make any additional commentary that the paper seems to call for.  Comments on sentence structure, grammar, and style should be made on this draft using the "Style Checker."  Above all else, be helpful!

    What is the thesis?

    Is it direct and focused or is it disunified and fragmented?

    What are the major subtopics?

    Do they follow an organizational pattern that makes sense?

    What sections are the clearest and which ones need more elaboration?

    What is the connection to regionalism?

    Is there a consciously critical use of the term regionalism in the paper?

    Style Checker

2.  After making notes on these points, write up your analysis and give it to the author.  Talk
     to the author in class about the paper.

Editorial Decisions

Assignment for Short Essay 3

In this three-page (typed, double-spaced) essay, you will write a narrative account of your experience in the class, focusing on how your individual project evolved in relation to the rest of the class and assessing  your own accomplishment.

Exit Interview Questions and Schedule

Schedule to be made later in the semester

Questions for the English 4384 Exit Interview

General Questions

1.  What were the major factors in your decision ot become an English major?  What expectations did you bring tot he major having made that decision?

2.  Could you comment on specific courses within your study that were particularly strong in meeting your expectations or in playing a role in evolving or expanding expectations?  Could you specify reasons for their effectiveness?

3.  Would you also comment on ways that your course of study has failed to meet your expectations and why?

4.  What area of the curriculum should be strengthened to better serve not only the expectations you brought to or developed within the major, but also the general concerns of all majors?

5.  Have you been advised so that the curriculum has proved effective and coherent for you?  What is the pattern or direction in your use of the major?  If you see no pattern, how could the department better help students to have a coherent experience?

6.  How have English 2300 and 4384 worked to introduce and to conclude, respectively, your learning experience?

7.  How have your courses within the major served to complement course in other disciplines?  Has being an English major helped you to take advantage of interdisciplinary learning?

8.  What is your sense of the department's consistency regarding writing expectations and instruction in upper-division courses?  How could the department better serve its majors as writers?

9.  How has the major served to prepare you for your career?  Has your career choice changed or evolved during your study?

10.  How could we better serve our majors in career preparation?

Course-specific questions

1.  Comment on the structure and organization of this section of English 4384.  Among other things, you might want to address reading and writing assignments, class format, and general conception.

2.  How has this class allowed you to use and to expand what you have learned in the literature courses you have taken?

3.  How has this class allowed you to use and to expand what you have learned as a writer in the course of the major?

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