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Intro. to Literature in the U.S.

ENGL 080.001
instructor(s):
TR 1:30-3

The United States emerges as a nation in the period between 1776 and 1787. This emergence is predicated on a colonial history that includes not only the conflicts between colonists and mother country that lead to the Revolutionary War but conflicts between Europeans and Indians; and Europeans and Africans that extend past the Revolution and the Civil War into the present moment. Complicating these conflicts of cultural difference and inseparable from them are conflicts of class and gender that are themselves ongoing, as well as new imperial adventures (the U.S. war with Mexico, for example). This historic complex of conflicts forms both the context for and the subject matter of the literatures of what will become the United States as they emerge in various forms from Columbus to the Civil War. Within this time period, this course will introduce students to a representative sampling of these forms to be taken from a list that includes: Native American oral narratives (origin stories and Trickster tales); documentary narratives of European colonization (the journal of Columbus, the accounts of the Coronado expedition into the Southwest, William Bradford's Of Plymouth Plantation) and the African diaspora (Olaudah Equiano); European narratives of Indian captivity (Mary Rowlandson and Mary Jemison), slave narratives (Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs); autobiography (Benjamin Franklin and William Apess), political declarations and manifestos (Winthrop's "A Model of Christian Charity," The Declaration of Independence, the Federalist, the Constitution, David Walker's Appeal, the Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments, Thoreau's "Resistance to Civil Government," Apess's "Eulogy on King Philip"), legal cases(Cherokee Nation v. Georgia and Dred Scott v. Sanford), ethnographies (Roger Williams' A Key into the Language of America; and Lewis Henry Morgan's League of the Iroquois); essays (Emerson); poetry (Phillis Wheatley, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson) and fiction (Melville, Poe, Child, Stowe, and Ridge).