Course Policies and Info

Course Description
Close reading and analysis of significant American texts, authors, genres, and/or periods with a critical emphasis on relevant  concepts such as ideology, canonicity, identity politics, difference, assimilation, and cultural appropriation. Students will explore how such categories as race, gender, ethnicity, social class, region, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, and/or ability have been constructed and performed through literature. Course content will vary depending on instructor.

Course Objectives for Students

  • gain awareness of the range of cultural experiences that make up American literary traditions;
  • explore various literary genres which have shaped (or been reshaped by) representations of identity and difference in America;
  • develop an understanding of the complex political and aesthetic functions of American literary canons;
  • apply theories of difference, assimilation and cultural appropriation to readings in and against the American literary
  • learn about various theories of identity in the context of reading and responding to literary and critical texts;
  • strengthen abilities to read, discuss, analyze and write about literary texts.

Goals for All PSU Literature Courses

  • To understand texts in their cultural and historical contexts
  • To develop critical and creative analytical practices
  • To write about texts w/depth and clarity
  • If applicable, to employ research skills in writing about lit and/or film.


  • Moodle Postings (14%): Students have multiple postings due each week to the Moodle Discussion Forums;
  • Kaltura Videos (12%): Students have two video analyses due;
  • Reading Quizzes (9%): Students will have regular reading quizzes;
  • Papers (20%): Students will have a number of short papers and homework writings due throughout the semester;
  • Presentation (10%): Students will have one major presentation during the semester;
  • Comic (4%): Students will create one comic during the semester;
  • Sexuality Project (9%): Students will have one project due, which will have two components: a creative component worth 40% and a written analyses worth 60%.
  • Class Participation (4%): This measures student engagement, enthusiasm, and contribution; students are rewarded for respectful, energetic, and thoughtful participation; shy students are rewarded for pushing themselves to speak up, and very talkative students are rewarded for learning when to let others have time to speak;
  • Attendance (4%): At the end of the semester you will be awarded full Attendance points if you have 3 or fewer absences.  If you have from 4-6 absences, you will be awarded 1/2 credit for Attendance.  If you have more than 6 absences, you will receive no credit for Attendance.  There is no need to inform me about the reason for your absences since you receive those 3 free absences to use for reasons such as illness, death in the family, school travel, sports, and other serious matters.  If you have a devastating emergency which will cause you to miss two weeks or more of school, you should contact Undergraduate Studies so that they may advise you on the best course of action.
  • Final Exam (14%): A cumulative exam measures reading comprehension, critical thinking, familiarity with theoretical models, and skill with literary interpretation.

Required Texts

TITLE:Lone Ranger & Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

TITLE: Brokeback Mountain
Author: Proulx
ISBN: 9780743271325

Author: Edson
ISBN: 9780571198771

TITLE:Secondhand World

TITLE:Reluctant Fundamentalist

TITLE:Fun Home

TITLE:Times Square Red, Times Square Blue

Academic Integrity
You must adhere to the Academic Integrity policy as outlined in the PSU Academic Catalog.  Anyone violating this policy will be reported to the English Department chair, and then sent before the Academic Integrity panel for a hearing.  Here are the basics of what I expect, in addition to full compliance with this policy:

  • all work is your own;
  • if you get information or ideas from books, articles, the internet, or interviews with live people, you need to cite that information or those ideas using MLA style;
  • you may not purchase papers and turn them in as your own work;
  • you may not turn in a paper that you yourself wrote for an assignment for a different class;
  • all presentations and Powerpoints must also include citations.

Plymouth State University is committed to providing students with documented disabilities equal access to all university programs and facilities. If you think you have a disability requiring accommodations, you should immediately contact the PASS Office in Lamson Library (535-2270) to determine whether you are eligible for such accommodations. Academic accommodations will only be considered for students who have registered with the PASS Office. If you have a Letter of Accommodation for this course from the PASS Office, please provide the instructor with that information privately so that you and the instructor can review those accommodations.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.