Fall 2011 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
This course develops and focuses the practice of interdisciplinary study in the School of Arts and Humanities, and is intended primarily for upper-division majors within the School. The course will develop the skills necessary to “read,” or interpret, a wide range of texts in an equally wide range of disciplines—philosophy, history, social thought, poetry, fiction, and photography. Attention will also be paid to learning how to write and create texts, to developing the skills necessary to explicate, interpret, and make coherent arguments, as well as to express ideas. The texts for this semester will focus on American thought and culture in the 30 years leading up to the Civil War. Thematically, they will be texts concerned with the representation of slavery and freedom, and with the various cultural meanings attached to those terms. By focusing on the way that ideas about freedom and slavery were embedded in different textual forms—history, fiction, political argument, autobiography, legal brief—we will examine the multiple meanings of freedom and slavery in antebellum culture and develop methods of reading different textual forms.
Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Paul Finkelman, ed., Dred Scott v. Sanford
Walter Johnson, Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market
Herman Melville, Benito Cereno
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Norton Critical Ed., E. Ammons, ed.)
Mason Lowance, ed., A House Divided
The Complete Lincoln-Douglas Debates
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
A series of four written assignments, between 2 and 8 pages, focused on specific skills, including one full revision of a 5-page paper; class attendance and participation.