ENG2200 E244 Fall 2017 – American Literature I

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ENG2200 E244 Fall 2017 – American Literature I
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Professor(s)
Department
English
Course Code
ENG 2200
Semester / Year
Fall 2017
Course Description

American Literature I

American Literature I is a survey of American Literature from the origins of the nation to 1865. In this course we will interrogate the very concept of an “American” Literature, and explore some of the theoretical and historical questions about what defines the nation, its writing and its traditions. There are many possible texts to choose from in this designated period, so our reading will necessarily be selective. Historically, we will begin with the early days of the Republic and continue through the Civil War (and beyond). In particular we will spend quite a bit of time discussing the institution of chattel slavery, the importance of slave labor in the global economic market during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, the struggle over abolition that led up to the Civil War, and the importance of race in the formation of American citizenship and identity. By reading a short list of selected authors, writing about their work, and discussing this work together in class, it is my hope that you will come away from this class with a better understanding of American literature and the complex history of the nation in which this body of work was produced.