Studies in American Literature, Winston-Salem State U, Spring 2018

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English 3313: Studies in American Literature (Fall 2018)

Course Description

In English 3313, we will chart a course through American literary history, exploring how major literary figures, texts, and movements emerged along with the U.S. nation-state. We’ll move more thematically than chronologically, considering how writers from the colonial period through the present day addressed three topics: America as a contact zone, where different cultures encounter and contend with one another; the concept of a national literature that would define U.S. culture; and American culture’s location within global systems. In our class discussions and in your critical writing, you will ask and answer questions such as: What can careful analysis of literary works reveal to us about the norms, anxieties, and power structures of their time? What effects can literary works produce, both within their readers and within society writ large? How does our sense of national identity and its place in the world emerge from the form, style, and content of American literature?

Keywords Assignments

You will be engaging with keywords projects in three ways throughout the semester:

  • Critical readings from the Keywords for American Cultural Studies book [1].
  • Regular keywords responses in which you articulate a clear, specific, and intellectually astute connection between a keyword for that unit and a reading assigned for that week. Each response should be at least 400 words, should incorporate relevant quotations from the reading, and must distinguish itself from previous posts. These contributions will be available online at 3313 Keywords Responses throughout the semester.
  • A final keywords essay in which you either expand on an existing keyword essay or write an essay on a keyword of your devising. This will be your final project for the course. Like the keywords essays we have read and to which we've responded this semester, your essay should include: research into the history of the keyword; a survey of the keyword’s significance within American literature and culture, with specific and well-developed examples; and informed discussion of relevant scholarly conversations. These essays will be posted online at 3313 Keywords Essays the end of the term.

Instructions for First-Time Users

Students: Students enrolled in this class need to create an account, and then email me your user name so I can give you privileges to edit and create pages. I recommend choosing a name that I can recognize, but remember that anyone in the world can access this site, so it would be best not to use your first and last name. If I were a student, I'd be "RebeccaE." Please note: You can only modify pages once I have activated your account.

  1. To create an account, click on the link in the top right-hand corner of this page.
  2. Submit all the information requested on the registration page. Make sure to remember your user name and password.
  3. Email me your user name so I can activate your account. You will not be able to edit pages in this Collaboratory until you have received a reply to that e-mail.
  4. Even before I activate your account, you're welcome to experiment with editing pages in the Sandbox. Check out the Help and FAQs pages for tips on how to format pages.
  5. Once you get an email reply from me, you'll be able to edit pages.

Other Visitors to the Site: If you're not enrolled in this class, you can still read and comment on the work we're generating throughout the semester. This is a work in progress, so please check back for new additions and developments. You're also welcome to me with any questions or comments about our course.

Test area--do this after you've received an e-mail from Professor Evans saying you're approved

As soon as you've been approved as a collaboratory participant (and to make sure you have been approved), go into the page linked below. In it you'll find a blank page (if you're the first to open it); otherwise you'll find other people's contributions. . Open the "edit" tab for the page and then add a phrase or sentence that includes your name (alphabetically in the list). For example, if your name is Jane Doe, you could write "Jane Doe was here." First click "preview" to make sure it's right, then click Save the page, and you should see a sentence that says "Jane Doe was here." If you can't do this, you aren't properly signed in or haven't been approved yet. Make sure you're signed in, and if you are, check with me to get yourself approved as a participant.

Helpful Tips and Links

  • The best browsers to use for editing are the most recent versions of Firefox and Internet Explorer because they support the MediaWiki editing toolbar. Other browsers may not support the toolbar. However, it's very easy to add and edit text without the toolbar. For very simple coding instructions, check out the Cheat Sheet of Wiki Markup Language (i.e., how to code in this environment).
  • Another editing option is the Wiki Edit app for iPads.
  • A page for new users, with basic information about how to do the things you need to do.
  • Here is a longer list of commands you can use to format text.


Note: It is possible to get an e-mail notifying you when pages are changed. In preferences, click "Email me on page changes."