ENGL 250 A: American Literature

Meeting Time: 
TTh 3:30pm - 5:20pm
Location: 
* *
SLN: 
14262
Instructor:
Bob Abrams
Robert Abrams

Syllabus Description:

         

Prof. Robert E. Abrams

Zoom sessions  T, Th, 3:30-5:20

Email: rabrams@uw.eduTel: 206-765-0547

 

                                                 URGENT: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

Let me emphasize that this section of the course has not been listed as entailing a “W” credit, largely because the emphasis is on the careful reading of a large and representative selection of American texts.  However, I was notified that some students may have mistakenly enrolled in English 250A on the assumption that they would receive “W” credit. While I was informed that I am not required to do so,  I’m provisionally volunteering to offer “W” credit to students (assuming that this constitutes a small group) who mistakenly enrolled on the assumption that they would receive “W” credit, and who need such credit urgently at this point in their studies. (Let me caution that this would  require substantially extra writing including revision in keeping with the requirements for a “W” course.)

I’m willing to offer this possibility provided that it entails a reasonably small group of self-selected students: i.e., if you didn’t enroll under the expectation that you would be getting “W” credit, please don’t ask for it at this time.   But for students who are truly in urgent need of “W” credit,  please email me as soon as possible—and no later than Thursday, Jan 7, at 12 noon—indicating that you enrolled in the course seeking “W” credit, and that it is urgent that you receive “W” credit  this quarter. Email me at rabrams@uw.edu

Provided that students in this category in fact represent a small, manageable group, your option would  be as follows: instead of the two short essays that have been assigned, you would write a more extensive, 10-12 page essay (not including endnotes) on texts and issues covered in this course.  The first draft of this extended writing project would be due on Friday, Feb 19, at 11:59 PM, in response to one of the prompts which you would receive ahead of time. This due date, strictly enforced, would give me time to get your essays back to you no later than March 4 with instructions for a revision, which would fall due on March 15.  Let me emphasize that since this extended writing project is for “W” credit, if you seek such credit, your command of writing skills would count heavily in addition to content in my grading of your essay, and your essay—a draft followed by a revision—would count for 50 percent of your final grade. For students who are currently weak writers, it is expected that you would work closely with an online tutor at the UW Writing Center to remedy your problems prior to a submission of a final, revised draft of your essay. The link to the Writing Center is as follows:

www.lib.washington.edu › ougl › owrc

Let me add that the essay plus revision fulfills the requirements to add "w" credit to a course.

Let me also emphasize that in addition to this extended writing project,  students seeking “W” credit will still be required to take the final examination scheduled during exam week, which will cover all lectures (take careful notes) and all readings that are assigned.  

 

Course Description:

We'll read a wide variety of literary texts written by a diversity of American authors to cover a range of issues, including American colonial history, the struggle to write poetry in fresh, innovative ways, white/Native-American relations, the rise of American feminism, and slavery followed by its long aftermath.  Reading assignments—most of which will be available in the “Pages” section of Canvas to minimize your book purchase expenses—will be manageable, and they are designed to cover a wide spectrum of American issues in a range of literary forms. 

One text is available for purchase at the University Bookstore: Scott Momaday, The Way to Rainy Mountain.  For your convenience, all other readings for this course will be available in the Pages section of Canvas.

Class Format:  I will begin each class with a lecture, which may run up to 60 minutes. You will then have a 10-minute break.  This will be followed by class discussion.  Feel free to enter commentary into the chat box which I’ll review during the break, thereafter using your various chats as springboards to start discussion.  Let me add that in deference to these unsettled times of the pandemic, I will not be taking attendance.  I will, however, be video recording all class sessions, and this will allow you to review these sessions online in an asynchronous manner when you can't make it to a lecture or to the discussion period thereafter.                

Important Notice:

Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Faculty Syllabus Guidelines and Resources. Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form available at: https://registrar.washington.edu/students/religious-accommodations-request/.

 

Assignments:

  1. All reading assignments are best completed before the class sessions in which they are assigned.  

 

  1. PLEASE NOTE. IF YOU NEED EXTRA HELP WITH YOUR WRITING, THE UNIVERSITY OFFERS EXTENSIVE FACILITIES TO AID STUDENTS, AND YOU SHOULD TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE FACILITIES IN ORDER TO SUCCEED IN THIS COURSE. OPEN THE FOLLOWING LINK TO SEE WHAT HELP IS AVAILABLE: https://www.lib.washington.edu/ougl/owrcStudents who believe that they have especial trouble writing polished, error-free essays in English should make every effort to take advantage of the facilities offered by the University on the way to composing their essay.

 

  1. For students not seeking “W” credit: two 3- 4 page essays are due Jan 26 and March 4.  Each essay will count 25 per cent.  Essay prompts will be available reasonably ahead of  assignment due dates, and you will find these prompts in the “Announcements” section of Canvas.  Check all Announcements on a regular basis.  This is very important in a remotely delivered course.

 

  1. You will be required to take a final examination available on Canvas between 9 AM, Weds, Mar 17, and 6:30 PM Thurs, Mar 18, at which point the exam will become due.   You will probably not need all this time to complete the exam—especially if you’ve done all readings and have reviewed all lectures during the quarter.  But this large window of time is open to you in consideration of your busy, crowded schedules during exam week.  During this window of time, you will be able to take portions  of the exam, to migrate away from it, and then to return to the exam to complete remaining responses to questions.  

 

PLAGIARISM:

NOTE CAREFULLY:  ALL WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS IN THIS COURSE SHOULD REPRESENT YOUR OWN THINKING AND WRITING.  IN OTHER WORDS, THEY SHOULD NOT BE PLAGIARIZED.  PLAGIARISM IS A VERY SERIOUS OFFENSE, AND ALL CASES OF PLAGIARISM IN THIS CLASS WILL BE REPORTED TO THE UNIVERSITY FOR APPROPRIATE DISCIPLINARY ACTION.

The following statement was prepared by the Committee on Academic Conduct in the College of Arts and Sciences. It amplifies the Student Conduct Code (WAC 478‐120).

One of the most common forms of cheating is plagiarism, using another’s words or ideas without proper citation. When students plagiarize, they usually do so in one of the following six ways:

  • Using another writer’s words without proper citation. If you use another writer’s words, you must place quotation marks around the quoted material and include a footnote or other indication of the source of the quotation.
  • Using another writer’s ideas without proper citation. When you use another author’s ideas, you must indicate with footnotes or other means where this information can be found. Your instructors want to know which ideas and judgments are yours and which you arrived at by consulting other sources. Even if you arrived at the same judgment on your own, you need to acknowledge that the writer you consulted also came up with the idea.
  • Citing your source but reproducing the exact words of a printed source without quotation marks.

This makes it appear that you have paraphrased rather than borrowed the author’s exact words.

  • Borrowing the structure of another author’s phrases or sentences without crediting the author from whom it came. This kind of plagiarism usually occurs out of laziness: it is easier to replicate another writer’s style than to think about what you have read and then put it in your own words. The following example is from A Writer’s Reference by Diana Hacker (New York, 1989, p. 171).

o Original: If the existence of a signing ape was unsettling for linguists, it was also

startling news for animal behaviorists.

o Unacceptable borrowing of words: An ape who knew sign language unsettled linguists

and startled animal behaviorists.

  • Borrowing all or part of another student’s paper or using someone else’s outline to write your own paper.

                                                           

                                                            Course Schedule

Jan 5: Introduction to the Course           

                                                    New World Promise and Hope                                    

Jan. 7: Emerson: selections from “Nature,” from “The American Scholar,” and from "The Divinity School Address." (Remember: with the exception of the novel, The Way to Rainy Mountain, all readings for this course are to be found in "Pages.” )

Jan. 12: Emerson: Selections from "Circles," from "The Poet," and from "Experience.” 

Jan. 14: Whitman, “Song of Myself”

Jan. 19:   Continued discussion of “Song of Myself”

                      Revisiting the American Colonial Past: The Dark Side of American History

Jan 21:  Hawthorne, “Young Goodman Brown” 

Jan 26: Hawthorne, “My Kinsman, Major Molineux”   FIRST PAPER DUE.  See Announcements for your choice of prompts.

                                 White America and Native American Cultures and Worlds

Jan. 28:  Margaret Fuller, Summer on the Lakes

Feb 2: Preface to “Chief Seattle’s Speech,” “Chief Seattle’s Speech,” and the selections in “Native American Speech Excerpts” 

Feb 4: Scott Momaday, The Way to Rainy Mountain. Copies available at the UW Bookstore.

                                       The Rise of American Feminism

Feb 9, Feb  11:  Kate Chopin, The Awakening

Feb 16: Gillman,  “The Yellow Wallpaper”   

                                  American Slavery and Its Long Aftermath

Feb 18:  Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

If you are seeking “W” credit for this course, the draft of your extended writing project is due FRIDAY, FEB 19, 11:59 pm.   See Announcements ahead of time for instructions.  This deadline will be strictly enforced.  Late drafts will be docked .1 point for each late day.

Feb 23:  W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk  (first of two sessions)  

Feb 25:  Second Session on The Souls of Black Folk. 

Mat 2:  Ellison, “Harlem is Nowhere,”  and opening chapter of Ellison, Invisible Man

Mar 4: SECOND ESSAY DUE.. See Announcements ahead of time for instructions.  Continued discussion of Invisible Man.

FOR STUDENTS SEEKING WRITING CREDIT, CORRECTED DRAFTS, INCLUDING INSTRUCTIONS FOR REVISION, WILL BE SENT BACK TODAY.  REVISIONS ARE DUE MARCH 15, 11:59 PM.  THIS DEADLINE WILL BE STRICTLY ENFORCED.  LATE SUBMISSIONS WILL BE DOCKED .1 POINT FOR EACH LATE DAY.

Mar 9:  Continued discussion of Invisible Man.

March 11: Course Conclusion

Final examination available on Canvas between 9 AM, Weds, Mar 17, and 6:30 PM, Thurs, Mar 18, at which point the exam will be due.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Catalog Description: 
Introduces American culture through a careful reading of a variety of representative texts in their historical contexts.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Credits: 
5.0
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
October 13, 2020 - 4:30am
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