English 174: Literature, Self, and Society

Professor Noelle Brada-Williams
Class: MW 1:30-2:45 PM, BBC 122
Office: FO 110
Office Hours: 2-3 PM Wednesday and additional times by appointment
Phone: 924-4439
Email:awilli@email.sjsu.edu (no attachments)
Website: www.sjsu.edu/faculty/awilliams

A sampling of American literature from a variety of time periods, classes, races, and genders will be used to examine the role of the individual within society and specifically the role of the artist or intellectual within his or her community.  The course will also examine how structural inequalities produced by perceived hierarchies such as race, class, and gender affect (and are represented within) American literature, culture, and institutions.  In this course students will learn how to describe social actions by various groups (religious, gender, ethnic, racial, class, disability, sexual orientation, and/or age related, etc.) that have led to greater equality and social justice.  Students will also learn to recognize and appreciate constructive interactions among people from different cultural, racial, and ethnic groups.  The course will mix historical and sociological approaches with the study of literature.   

Course Objectives:
1. To gain an awareness of the range of cultural experiences and productions that make up American literary and cultural history.
2. To explore perceived hierarchies such as race, class, and gender and the impact of forms of inequality on American institutions and vice versa.
3.  To strengthen our abilities to engage literary text and to analyze both its form and content as well as its historical contexts.
4.  To hone students' reading, writing, researching, and critical thinking skills through the practice of intellectually challenging analyses.

Coursework includes reading assignments (see schedule below); two five to seven-page formal literary analyses (which must include research); and a midterm and final exam composed of both essay and identification questions.  Late formal paper policy: keeping in mind the many emergencies and unforeseen events that can occur in the average SJSU student's life, I have a very generous extension policy.  As long as you give me the request in writing (complete with a new deadline) before the paperís due date, most requests for an extension will be granted.  If the original deadline is passed by a  student who has not received an extension or an extended deadline has been passed, 10% of the total points possible will be taken off for lateness up to one week.  An additional 10% will be taken off the top of the paper score for lateness up to two weeks.  NO PAPERS WILL BE ACCEPTED ONCE TWO WEEKS HAVE PASSED WITHOUT AN EXTENSION. To receive credit, the two formal papers must to be submitted both in hard copy to the professor and electronically to turnitin.com.  You may register for this class on turnitin.com by using the course ID number "1164671" and the password "society." "Participating" is defined in this class as doing the reading and being able and willing to respond to the comments and questions of both the professor and your fellow students on a daily basis.  Reading quizzes will be given frequently to ensure that students are indeed completing and understanding the readings.  These quizzes will determine the participation grade for the day on which they are given.  Note that each student in this class will write well over 3,000 words (actually a minimum of about 5,700 – 6,600 words when the informal writing assignments are added up), much of which will be informed by library research; these written assignments will be appropriately spaced throughout the semester to allow for regular instructor feedback on student work.
Paper One
5-7 page analysis w/ research
Paper Two
5-7 page analysis w/ research 
9 1-page analyses 
Final Exam
essay and I.D.'s
Class Participation/Quizzes
Up to 30 class meetings/quizzes

The following statement has been adopted by the Department of English for inclusion in all syllabi:

In English Department Courses, instructors will comment on and grade the quality of student writing as well as the quality of ideas being conveyed. All student writing should be distinguished by correct grammar and punctuation, appropriate diction and syntax, and well-organized paragraphs.
The Department of English reaffirms its commitment to the differential grading scale as defined in the SJSU Catalog ("The Grading System").  Grades issued must represent a full range of student performance: A = excellent; B = above average; C = average; D = below average; F = failure.  Courses graded according to the A, B, C, No Credit system shall follow the same pattern, except that NC (No Credit) shall replace D or F.  In such classes NC shall also substitute for W (Withdrawal) because neither grade (NC or W) affects students' GPA.

The university has defined plagiarism as "The act of incorporating the ideas, words, sentences, paragraphs, or parts of, and/or the specific substance of another's work, without giving appropriate credit, and/or representing the product as one's own work;" (excerpt from the complete policy at http://www2.sjsu.edu/senate/S04-12.htm). Plagiarism or cheating in English 174 will result in a failing grade.  The incident will also be reported to the university for possible further action.  All quotes must be enclosed in quotation marks or, when more than three lines, put in an indented block like the quote above.  Full citation of the original author and source must also be included. Your final requirement in the course is to be courteous and professional to both classmates and the professor.  I realize that most people take this as a requirement in their daily lives and this statement does not need to be reiterated here.  However, people sometimes forget that the classroom is a professional setting and rules that govern a business meeting apply here.  For example, devices such as cell phones need to be turned off; coming to class late is unacceptable.  Disrespectful behavior (toward the professor or classmates) will result in a loss of participation credit and possible removal from the class.

Six Required Texts:

Reading and Writing Schedule (Due at BBC 122 1:30 to 2:45 PM):

August 25, W: Introduction: Assortment of 17th, 18th and 19th century  American Poetry

Week One:
August 30, M: All of Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself" and additional discussion of poetry received on August 25.
September 1, W: Continue discussion of Whitman and begin background on Frederick Douglass. Informal Writing #1 Due

Week Two:
September 6, M: Labor Day Holiday
September 8, W: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (17-113) Informal Writing #2 Due

Week Three:
September 13, M: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (to 196)
September 15, W: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (197-282)  

Week Four:
September 20, M: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (283-353) Informal Writing #3 Due
September 22, W: Breadgivers (Read Book I — pp. 1-154)

Week Five:
September 27, M: Breadgivers (Read Book II — pp. 155-236)
September 29, W: Breadgivers (Read Book III — pp. 237-297) Informal Writing #4 Due

Week Six:
October 4, M:  View Angels in America: Millennium Approaches (Chapter 1 in class)
October 6, W: Paper 1 due. View Angels in America: Millennium Approaches (Chapter 2 in class)

Week Seven:
October 11, M: View Angels in America: Millennium Approaches (Chapter 3 in class/conclude discussion) in class.  House of Mirth  (to page 96/through chapter VII)  The bibliographical and critical materials in this edition are recommended reading for our unit on Wharton.
October 13, W: House of Mirth (to page 167/through chapter XIV)

Week Eight:
October 18, M: House of Mirth (to page 239/through chapter VI of Bk. II)
October 20, W: House of Mirth (finish novel/to page 305) Informal Writing #5 Due

Week Nine:
October 25, W: Invisible Man (read intro and novel to page 97/through chapter 3)
October 27, W: Invisible Man (to page 195/through Chapter 9)

Week Ten:
November 1, M: Invisible Man (to page 295/through Chapter 13)
November 2, T: National Election Day
November 3, W:
Invisible Man (to page 382/through Chapter 17)

Week Eleven:
November 8, M: Invisible Man (to page 478/through Chapter 22)
November 10, W: Invisible Man (finish/to 581) Informal Writing #6 Due

Week Twelve:
November 15, M: Complete Zoot Suit (to page 94)
November 17, W: Zoot Suit Continue discussion.  Informal Writing #7 Due

Week Thirteen:
November 22, M: Paper 2 Due. Tripmaster Monkey (at least first two chapters/to 65)
November 24, W: Tripmaster Monkey (to page 130/through Chapter 3)
(Thanksgiving November 25)

Week Fourteen:
November 29, M: Tripmaster Monkey (to page 222/through Chapter 5)
December 1, W: Tripmaster Monkey (to page 288/through Chapter 7)

Week Fifteen:
December 6, M: Tripmaster Monkey (finish/to 340) Informal #8 Due.
December 8, W: Langston Hughes, "I Too" and "Let America Be America Again"  Informal Writing #9  on a close-reading of either of Hughes' poems or an outside event — reading, video, performance ‚ that is relevant to this class.

Final Exam for 174: Thursday December 16, 12:15 to 2:30

Please note that these pages are maintained solely by Dr. Brada-Williams and only after her teaching, researching, and grading responsibilties are done.  Faulty links and dated material inevitably find their way in. 
Forward suggested links or emails with graphics to noelle_williams@yahoo.com
Last updated October 2004.