Survey of American Literature 1865-Present—Writing Intensive (online)

Section 01
Maureen Konkle
Asynchronous online
Course Description

This class is about conflicting realities in U.S. writing, from the close of the Civil War to the present day.  We will look at the kinds of stories different groups of people told about themselves and the places they lived, how some groups were invisible to others (despite being right there), how other groups struggled to tell stories about their humanity in the face of ignorance and violence.  We will address the usual -isms of the survey (realism, naturalism, modernism, postmodernism) but be concerned with two overarching questions:  Why were these writers compelled to tell the stories that they told at that particular moment in time? What can those works and their conflicts tell us about how these writers viewed the U.S., its history and potential future? Writers include Mark Twain, Charles Chesnutt, Sherwood Anderson, Edith Wharton, Nella Larsen, James Baldwin, James Welch, and Toni Morrison. This course counts as an English Department diversity credit.

This is a Writing Intensive course; we'll spend time working on writing through generating ideas, producing drafts, participating in peer review, and revision. Activities include brief response papers, four medium-length critical analysis papers, and one final, longer, summative paper.