Fall 2014 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Starnaman, Sabrina
Discipline and Number
LIT 3323 Section 001
MW Time 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM
Course Title
The American Renaissance 1820-1865

Description of Course:

This course explores American literature from 1820 to 1865 concerned with key issues of the day such as: slavery, sexuality, women’s rights, the treatment of the insane, European American-American Indian relations, the changing nature of labor (i.e. increased employment in factories and white-collar offices), and America’s preoccupation with the supernatural. We will examine literary genres common to the time such as: captivity narratives, gothic horror, protest literature, slave narratives, and popular serialized fiction.

Required Texts:

Texts May Include:

Captivity Narratives
A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison. dictated to James Everett Seaver (1824)
Hope Leslie, Catharine Maria Sedgwick (1827)
“The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether,” Edgar Allan Poe. (1844)
“What’s the Point of a Revolution? Edgar Allan Poe and the Origins of the Asylum” Theaters of Madness: Insane Asylums and Nineteenth- Century American Culture. Benjamin Reiss (2008)
Women of the Asylum: Voices from behind the Walls, 1840-1945. Jeffrey Geller and Maxine Harris, editors. (1994) [selections]
“Out of the Attic: Gender, Captivity, and Asylum Exposés.” Theaters of Madness: Insane Asylums and Nineteenth-Century American Culture. Benjamin Reiss (2008)

Melville and Hawthorne
“Bartleby the Scrivener,” Herman Melville (1853/56)
The House of Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne (1851)

Slavery, Gender, and Bodies
“Ain’t I a Woman,” Sojourner Truth (1851)
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe. (1852)
Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom William and Ellen Craft (1860)
“’We wish to Plead our own Cause’: Independent Antebellum African American literature, 1840– 1865.” Joycelyn Moody. Cambridge History of African American Literature (2011)

Leaves of Grass. Walt Whitman (1855)

Gender, Work, and Disability
“Ain’t I a Woman,” Sojourner Truth (1851) [Revisit in class discussion]
The Hidden Hand (or Capitola the Madcap). E.D.E.N. Southworth (1859)
Life in the Iron Mills; or the Korl Woman. Rebecca Harding Davis (1861)
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe. (1852) [Revisit in class discussion]
“Benevolent Maternalism and the Disabled Women in Stowe, Davis, and Phelps,” Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature. Rosemarie Garland-Thomson (1997)

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Assignments will likely include:

Discussion questions submitted by students
Reading quizzes (unannounced)
Final analytical paper (the final paper will be submitted in segments throughout the semester)
-Paper topic proposal
-Annotated bibliography
-Rough drafts (2)
-Final draft (2800-3000 words)

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