Course Template
The following information should be available to students as a part of all syllabi for this course.

Course Information
Number: ENGL 2130
Catalog Name: American Literature
Instructor sub-title (optional)

Instructor Information
Instructor's name:
Office Location:
Office hours:

Required texts and other readings/materials

  • Individual instructors may assemble a group of texts that will allow them to meet the objectives and specifications. No particular anthology or editions of the required texts are specified.

Course description

  • A survey of important works of American literature. Required for English majors. May count for credit in Area C.2. Prerequisites: ENGL 1101 and ENGL 1102.
  • A further specific description pertaining to this section of the course may be added.

Course Goals

  • Students will develop the ability to recognize and identify significant achievements in American literature.
  • Students will understand the relevant social, historical, and aesthetic contexts of these literary works.
  • Students will appreciate the implications of theoretical and critical approaches to such literature.
  • Students will develop enhanced cultural awareness and analytical skills.
  • Students will demonstrate their command of academic English and of the tenets of sound composition by means of thesis-driven analytical prose.

Program Goals

  • Oral and written communication will be characterized by clarity, critical analysis, logic, coherence, persuasion, precision, and rhetorical awareness (Core Curriculum learning outcomes I)
  • Cultural and Social Perspectives: Cultural and social perspective will be characterized by cultural awareness and an understanding of the complexity and dynamic nature of social/political/economic systems; human and institutional behavior, values, and belief systems; historical and spatial relationship; and, flexibility, open-mindedness, and tolerance. (Core Curriculum learning outcomes III)
  • Aesthetic Perspective: Aesthetic perspective will be characterized by critical appreciation of and ability to make informed aesthetic judgments about the arts of various cultures as media for human expression (Core Curriculum learning outcomes V)
  • This course fulfills the Area C.2 requirement in the core for all students.
  • Area C (Humanities/Arts) Learning Outcomes:

    1. To develop the ability to recognize and identify achievements in literary, fine and performing arts;
    2. To have an appreciation of the nature and achievements of the arts and humanities; and
    3. To develop the ability to apply, understand, and appreciate the application of aesthetics criteria to "real world circumstances.
  • This course fulfills an Area F requirement for English majors (all tracks) in the core.
  • This course fulfills one of the core-level language arts requirements for Middle Grades Education majors.
  • This course contributes to the program goal of equipping students with a foundation in literary history and the issues surrounding literary study in contemporary culture.
  • This course broadens students' desire and ability to take pleasure in their encounter with literature.

General topics and assignments appropriate to those topics

ENGL 2130 serves as an introduction to the authors, texts, and genres, as well as the literary, cultural, and political paradigms of American literature from its colonial beginnings to the present. Given the vast scope, complexity, and constant scholarly refashioning of the field, the department acknowledges that this course cannot achieve comprehensive coverage. Nevertheless, instructors agree to develop a course that

  • Reflects the connections and disjunctions of American literary history by covering authors, texts, and critical paradigms from the colonial beginnings to the present;
  • Covers a variety of genres and modes of expression, including fiction (the novel and the short story), creative non-fiction (the autobiography, the slave narrative, and the essay), poetry, oral narratives, and drama;
  • Emphasizes the contested nature of American literature and culture by contrasting and comparing historically canonical/dominant literary traditions with commonly marginalized and/or multicultural voices that have challenged the mainstream canonical view of America;
  • Provides an introduction to major literary movements and paradigms of American literary history, including literature of contact and colonization, Puritanism and religious literature, Romanticism/Transcendentalism, Sentimentalism, Realism, Regionalism, Modernism, Harlem Renaissance, and Post-Modernism). Presentations should stress both the usefulness and limitations of such categories.
  • Balances complete texts with excerpts or selections;
  • Covers all periods within the literary history of the United States, including the colonial era, the era of the early republic, the romantic era, the age of realism, modernism (early twentieth century), post-modernism (late twentieth century), and the contemporary era (texts written within the past 30 years).

Assessment activities

  • May include various combinations of instruments ranging from reading quizzes, response papers, and presentations to exams and longer essays, including documented essays.
  • All sections must include at least (10) ten pages of writing in order to meet departmental expectations.
  • Two to three analytical essays and two to three exams should be required.

Other policies

  • Departmental plagiarism policies
  • Other policy statements specific to this class should be included on the syllabus.
  • Dates for completion of all assignments should be provided.
  • Students should be expected to come to class, prepared and able to participate
  • MLA style should be emphasized and required on out of class essays.