LIT 312 American Literature I:
Beginnings to the Civil War
Image: Thomas Cole, Desolation from The Course of Empire (1833-366) [Oil on canvas]
Reading early American literature requires wrestling with the varied mindsets, conflicts, and discontinuities of our nations embryonic history. In this course the first of two American literature surveys at MSUB we will read widely across genres and styles to consider how literature both reflected and defined the colonial and early national periods, roughly 1600-1865. This version of LIT 312 has particular emphasis on the materiality of literary production in antebellum America: a time when science and technology were transforming American landscapes and, in turn, the forms and themes of literature before the Civil War. The course is organized into three units. Each unit takes up a different set of themes, genres, and interpretive strategies to strengthen students abilities to navigate the complex relations between poetics and context, literature and history. In addition to maintaining their own course websites (with weekly postings about the readings), students will take unannounced quizzes, write three essays, and formally present their work to classmates in the final week of the semester.
Course Information Instructor: Tom Nurmi Email: email@example.com Meets: TTH 12:10-1:40, LA 627 Office Hours: W 2-5, LA 425 or by appointment Required Books: The Norton Anthology of American Literature,
9th Ed. [Package 1: Vols. A & B] Ed. Robert Levine. New York: Norton, 2016. [ISBN# 978-0393264548]
* By enrolling in this class, you agree to all terms, assignments, and responsibilities. You agree to treat the course as professional work, including all email exchanges, and attendance is mandatory. You should not be late, and you should not miss classes. If you arrive more than 10 minutes late or leave more than 10 minutes early, you are counted absent. Missing any more than two classes will result in a two percent (2%) deduction from your final grade, per absence. * If you have a legitimate conflict, please discuss it with me ahead of time. Any work missed as a result of tardiness or absence is your responsibility to make up. Quizzes are not made up; however, if you give 24 hours notice before an absence, you may take an alternate quiz.
* The Academic Support Center in the Student Union Building (http://www.msubillings.edu/asc/) offers a variety of services to help you as well. You should also be familiar with the MSUB Student Policies & Procedures Handbook for information on appropriate behavior and academic integrity. * MSU Billings is committed to providing equal access. If you anticipate barriers related to the format or requirements of this course, please meet with me so that we can discuss ways to ensure your full participation in the course. If you determine that disability-related accommodations are necessary, please contact Disability Support Services (657-2283; located in the College of Education, Room 135). We can then plan how best to coordinate your accommodations. * Should you need help for health or counseling, there is a mental health counselor on campus at Student Health Counseling Services, 2nd floor Petro (657-2153). If you feel overwhelmed, angry, depressed, or need help or support, please contact Student Health Service in the SUB (657-2153) or after hours: Billings Clinic Emergency Department (657-4150), Billings Clinic Hospital Emergency Room (2800 10th Ave N), or Community Crisis Center (259-8800), 704 N 30th.
After successfully completing LIT 312, students will have:  Demonstrated careful and critical reading of American literature between 1600 and 1865, with special attention to the relation between poetics and historical/philosophical contexts.
 Articulated a perspective on a specific passage in a text that speaks to broader issues of style, theme, or history in early American literature, with clear, effective writing in service of an evidenced argument.  Identified the major themes, movements, forms, and problems in early American literature, with specific authors and works to support your claims.
 Produced a research-based essay on an issue in American literary history using primary and secondary sources (with special emphasis on digital information technologies and digital Humanities tools).
Assignments and Grading
Essay 1 20%
Essay 2 20% Final Essay 20%
Final Presentation 10%
Daily Syllabus * Note: Assignments are subject to changes. It is your responsibility to stay current. Any reading assignments not included in the required texts will be available on the D2L course website.
Unit 1: Beginnings
9/7 Introductions * Beginnings to 1820 (Norton Anthology of American Literature, 9th Ed.: Vol. A, pp. 3-25)
9/12 Indigenous America
* Indigenous Literary Traditions and Origin of Stories (Seneca) [D2L] * N. Scott Momaday, The Man Made of Words [D2L] * Selected Native American poetry [D2L]
9/14 Colonial America & The Atlantic World
* John Winthrop, bio (Norton A, pp. 176-8) & selections from Model of Christian Charity (pp. 183 & 188-9) * Anne Bradstreet, bio & The Prologue (pp. 216-20), and The Author to Her Book, In
Memory, On My Dear Grandchild & Here Follows (242-44) * Pirates of the Caribbean [D2L]
9/19 American Liberty [Post 1]
* On the Discourse of Liberty and John Locke, selections from Concerning Civil Government [D2L] * Thomas Jefferson, bio & Declaration of Independence (Norton A, pp. 702-10) * Benjamin Franklin, bio (pp. 439-42), selections from Autobiography & slave advertisement [D2L] * J.H.S.J. Crvecoeur, bio & selected Letters from an American Farmer (pp. 634-50).
9/21 American Frontiers
* American Literature, 1820-1865 (Norton Vol. B, pp. 3-11) * Washington Irving, bio (Norton A, pp. 996-98) & Rip Van Winkle (pp. 1003-15)
9/26 American Frontiers [Post 2]
* James Fenimore Cooper, bio & selections from The Pioneers (Norton B, pp. 62-80) * Lydia Sigourney, Fallen Forests (p. 112)
9/28 American Frontiers
* Native Americans: Removal and Resistance (Norton B, pp. 308-327)
Unit 2: What Is This New American?
10/3 The Transcendental [Essay 1 Due]
* American Literature, 1820-1865 (Norton B, pp. 12-21) * Ralph Waldo Emerson, bio (pp. 178-81) & Self-Reliance (pp. 236-53)
10/5 The Transcendental
* Henry David Thoreau, bio (pp. 950-52) & Walden, Ch. 1 (pp. 969-93)
10/10 The Transcendental [Post 3]
* Walden, Ch. 1, 2 & 3 (pp. 993-1028)
10/12 The Transcendental * Walden, Ch. 11, 17 & 18 (pp. 1079-86 & 1125-44)
10/17 The Poetic [Post 4]
* Emily Dickinson, bio (pp. 1654-58), F. 446 (p. 1674) & Fascicle 16 [D2L]
10/19 The Poetic * Dickinson, Fascicle 16 [D2L]
10/24 The Poetic [Post 5]
* Dickinson, selected Envelope Poems [D2L]
10/26 The Technological * Science and Technology in the Pre-Civil War Nation (pp. 1268-1293)
10/31 The Gothic [Post 6]
* Edgar Allan Poe, bio (pp. 604-8) & The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar (pp. 690-96) 11/2 The Gothic
* Nathaniel Hawthorne, bio (pp. 328-32), Preface to The House of the Seven Gables (pp. 569-70) & The-Birth Mark (pp. 377-88)
11/7 The Gothic [Post 7]
* Herman Melville, bio & Hawthorne and His Mosses (pp. 1410-1425) 11/9 No Class
Unit 3: Unset t l ing Race , Class & Gender 11/14 Race and Slavery [Essay 2 Due]
* Slavery, Race, and the Making of American Literature (pp. 769-91)
11/16 Race and Slavery * Frederick Douglass, bio (pp. 1159-63), selection from Narrative of the Life (pp. 1171-77 only) & What
to a Slave Is the Fourth of July? (pp. 1236-39)
11/21 Race and Slavery [Post 8] * Harriet Jacobs, bio (pp. 909-10) & selections from Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (pp. 910-931)
11/23 No Class, Thanksgiving
11/28 Antebellum Labor [Final Essay Proposal Due] [Post 9]
* Melville, The Bachelors of Paradise and the Tartarus of Maids (pp. 1495-511)
* Frances Osgood, Rags! Rags! Any Rags to Sell? [D2L] * Lydia Sigourney, To a Shred of Linen [D2L]
11/30 Antebellum Labor
* Rebecca Harding Davis, bio & Life in the Iron Mills (pp. 1696-1724)
12/5 Whitman and the City [Post 10] * Emerson, letter to Whitman, July 1855 (p. 307) * Walt Whitman, bio (pp. 1294-97) & Song of Myself 1-15 & 51-2 (pp. 1312-23 & 1356)
12/7 Whitman and the War
* Drew Gilpin Faust, Preface to This Republic of Suffering (2008) [D2L] * Whitman, The Wound-Dresser (1379-81)
12/12 Final Essay Presentations, 10 AM: LA 627 [Final Essay Due on D2L]