welcome to english 205 major american authors ii

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Course Description:

This course studies the development of American literary culture in terms of representative works by a selection of major American writers from 1865 to the contemporary period. I have used two principles of inclusion in selecting writers for the course: first, authors who have exerted an enduring influence on American literature, and second, a sampling of both recent and less traditional voices that represent the ethnic diversity of the “American experience.”

Course Objectives / Student learning outcomes:

The course is designed to help students understand how American literary culture has developed and how it continues to develop in the contemporary period.

By the end of the course, students should be able to

  • analyze selected literary works beginning with the Mark TwainÂ’s great American class Huckleberry Finn and ending as far into the 20th century as time allows. This is a survey course so we will try to get as much of a variety of readings as possible, but some works are more challenging and controversial than others; we focus on these works, but we will still get a rich diversity of the American experience in literature after 1865.
  • review historical, cultural, and philosophical contexts that influenced the writings,
  • make connections to the twenty first century, that is, to see this literature as relevant, still breathing works of art that speak to modern generations and the issues that confront us today – not merely to see literature as specimens of literary archaeology, not just digging up old bones.
  • debate the works in relation to a “canon” of writings that represents and speaks to a multi-cultural society.
  • examine human nobility and frailty through the study of literature.
  • watch the United States of America grow up as we read our national heritage of writings. We will examine the “American Dream” (we are all created equal) vs the “American nightmare” (ethnic cleansing and slavery) – and watch these contradictions unfold in the writings of the women and men who not only settled, but also raised and nurtured this country, and – maybe most importantly for this class – established a national “ethos” that represents the American experience, the literary heritage that has shaped our culture today.

Required Text:

The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Shorter 9th Edition, 1865 to the Present (Volume 2). Eds. Robert S. Levine, et al.

ISBN: 978-0-393-26453-1

Course Requirements

Careful reading of all assigned literary selections and the headnotes to the authors (see Learning Modules for specific assignments)

Weekly discussion postings based on the reading selections (minimum of two substantial posts per week) 20%

4 unproctored quizzes on the reading assignments (2 before the midterm; 2 after the midterm) 20%

Proctored Midterm Examination 30%

Proctored Final Examination 30%

You must complete all work to pass the course. Incompletes will be assigned only for extreme situations–usually serious illness and hospitalization.

Remote Proctoring

This course uses Proctorio for verification of student identity and for monitoring student activities while completing selected exams. Although there is not a human watching you take your exam, the software will record audio and video during the exam, so make sure you are following the guidelines set by your instructor while testing. You should select a quiet, private space for testing. Students must own a webcam and have a built-in or standalone microphone associated with their computer to use Proctorio. Specific instructions regarding the use of Proctorio are offered on the remotely proctored exams in the course. For more information about Proctorio, see the FAQs at https://proctorio.com/faqs.

Technical requirements:

Microphone (integrated or separate)

Webcam (integrated or separate)

Browser: Chrome (https://www.google.com/chrome/browser/desktop/)

Internet Connection: Cable Modem, DSL, or better.

If you are not willing or able to secure these technical requirements, you will need to take your exams at one of the Extended Campus sites.

For the midterm and final exams in this class, you must use Proctorio. You will need to have a photo ID to show at the beginning of the exam, and you should plan to dress appropriately for the test (no pajamas or revealing clothes, please!). No notes, books, phones, tablets, or electronic devices such as Apple watches, Google glasses, or Ipods are allowed in the testing area. Please do not smoke, eat, or drink during the exam period . Both the midterm and the final exam are timed for two hours, though it may not take you the entire time that is allowed. You must take the exam in one sitting. In the event something triggers an alert in Proctorio, I will be the one reviewing the audio and video, so don’t do anything during the test that you would not want me to witness. 🙂

I hope you will find this online proctoring process convenient and not too difficult to use.


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