ENGL 2140: American Literature, Labor and Identity (Online)

PDF: Summer2018_ENGL2140_Syllabus


 Clemson University

Summer II 2018

ENGL 2140: American Literature

Section# 403, Online Instruction

Dates: June 27, 2018 to August 1, 2018


INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Jennifer Forsberg


‘OFFICE’ HOURS: Videoconferences available by appointment through Adobe Connect or Skype




This class explores the periods, concepts and themes of American Literature between 1600-1945. Given this large period of time, we will focus on literary texts including the essay, the short story, the novel, poetry and drama and prioritize conversations that relate to the way American literature defines, represents and justifies work, while investigating the dynamic motivations for doing so. This course will include topics that range from the importance of social class to national identity, and examine the varied socio-historical configurations of race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality as diverse accounts of the American experience.



The primary objective of sophomore literature classes in the arts and humanities is to provide you with the skills necessary to perform close readings of texts in a variety of genres, including but not limited to poetry, novels, short stories, and plays. By close reading these texts you will not only refine your ability to critically engage with the world, but also enhance your ability to understand diverse rhetorical situations and form substantiated opinions and arguments. Our focus on close reading will make you more confident in your ability to analyze literature (and any kind of text, ideally), as well as write about literature in both formal (e.g., argumentative responses, multimedia arguments and exams), and informal ways (e.g., close reading activities, etc.).


  • The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Shorter 8th ISBN: 978-0-393-91885-4
  • Electronic/Web Texts Linked on Canvas. Please Save as a PDF to make annotations for reference



*Note: many of these texts are available online for free. It is your responsibility to ensure the editions you locate are reliable and correspond to the sections we cover in class lectures and for quizzes. Additionally, you must include accurate and complete in-text citations and a works cited for any and all versions you use in your assignments.




Course Pace and Design:

You may work at your own pace through each week’s assigned module, but each week must be completed by Sunday at 11:59PM. (Note: Modules 3 and 5 contain mid-week deadlines.) You cannot move ahead to the next week’s modules until you have completed the previous module and we reach that module’s Monday 12AM start. These staggered deadlines are arranged for your success and allow me time to provide feedback on your work. Please be sure to see the Tips for Navigating the Course Page on Canvas and the Module menu for details on how this breaks down each week. Deadlines are best viewed in the Syllabus menu.







Each module contains the following components:


Module Content, including:

  • Access Points: A quick guide to readings and resources for that week. This includes a Prezi presentation link with videos that serve as a “lecture” type guide through the readings and major concepts.
  • Period Overview with Historical Context, Timelines and Maps


Assessment of the Content, including:

  • Period Introduction Quizzes
  • Reading Comprehension Quizzes
  • Midterm Exam (Module Three)


Writing About the Content, including:

  • Close Reading Activities: (Modules Intro & One)
  • Truth Essay: Arguing About the Archive (Module Two)
  • Multimedia Activity (Module Four)


Suggested Study Plan for each Module


1.     Start with the ACCESS POINTS content and resources for that week’s module. This includes quick details for the week and a custom Prezi (think of it as what you would get in an in-class lecture) that will help you connect major ideas and concepts. You can (and should) revisit this after you read your texts and can explore it component by component as you proceed through the week’s tasks.

2.     Skim (yes, skim!) the assigned PERIOD INTRODUCTION in your copy of The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Supplement the main ideas with the PERIOD INTRODUCTION OVERVIEW, TIMELINE and MAPS included in each module.

3.     Start reading the ASSIGNED TEXTS indicated in the module, including skimming the author headnotes. Try to make connections to what you previewed in the Access Points and within the Period Introduction. Read the literary text with purpose. Consider the following questions: what does the author want you to do or think and why? What is the purpose of the text and/or what argument the author is making? What are the primary areas of interest or concern? How does the style or form impact the message of the text? 
How is the text emblematic of the historical period? If you can respond to these questions for each text, you will be better prepared for the assessments. Also pursue the questions from the Prezi to get a better feel for the material.

4.     Take the PERIOD INTRODUCTION QUIZ (as you are reading, ideally). Pay particular attention to the feedback given for wrong answers and consider revisiting parts of the introduction that you may not have fully understood.

5.     Take the READING COMPREHENSION QUIZZES to gauge how well you’ve understood the assigned texts for the module. Each Question offers detailed feedback that will help you improve your close-reading skills.

6.     Plan and compose the WRITTEN component for the module. Doing this after you have worked through a majority of the content will help you make better connections and construct a stronger argument.


Course Disruptions

In the event that Canvas is down at the time of a submission deadline, you must email me your work in a .doc or .pdf attachment to avoid late penalties. This will act as a time stamp, but you must still submit your work on Canvas when it returns online. No Google Docs will be accepted.




Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty

The following is Clemson’s official statement on “Academic Integrity”: “As members of the Clemson University community, we have inherited Thomas Green Clemson’s vision of this institution as a ‘high seminary of learning.’ Fundamental to this vision is a mutual commitment to truthfulness, honor, and responsibility, without which we cannot earn the trust and respect of others. Furthermore, we recognize that academic dishonesty detracts from the value of a Clemson degree. Therefore, we shall not tolerate lying, cheating, or stealing in any form.”
The instructor will deal with plagiarism on a case-by-case basis. The most serious offense within this category occurs when a student copies text from the Internet or from a collective file. This type of academic dishonesty is a serious offense that will result in a failing grade for the course as well as the filing of a formal report to the university. See the Clemson site below for information about Academic Integrity and procedures regarding the violation of Clemson policies on scholastic dishonesty: http://www.clemson.edu/academics/academic-integrity/




The Writing Center (307 Academic Success Center building)

The Writing Center is a free tutoring service available to the entire student body, regardless of major or academic standing. It provides students opportunities to discuss questions or problems related to academic writing—from generating a topic and thesis to organizing a draft and integrating appropriate citations. The Writing Center’s goal is to help Clemson students become confident and effective writers. You can make an appointment with a tutor by visiting the Writing Center’s website (http://www.clemson.edu/centers-institutes/writing/), by calling them at 864-656-3280. While they have limited hours during the summer, the writing center still aims to be a resource for you on-demand and will do their best to schedule time for you as permits.


Students with Disabilities

It is university policy to provide, on a flexible and individualized basis, reasonable accommodations to students who have disabilities. Students are encouraged to contact Student Disability Services to discuss their individualized needs for accommodation. For more information visit http://www.clemson.edu/campus-life/campus-services/sds/index.html


Title IX (Sexual Harassment) Statement

Clemson University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, veteran’s status, genetic information or protected activity (e.g., opposition to prohibited discrimination or participation in any complaint process, etc.) in employment, educational programs and activities, admissions and financial aid. This includes a prohibition against sexual harassment and sexual violence as mandated by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. This policy is located at http://www.clemson.edu/campus-life/campus-services/access/title-ix/. Mr. Jerry Knighton is the Clemson University Title IX Coordinator and is also the Director of Access and Equity. His office is located at 111 Holtzendorrf Hall, 864.656.3181 (voice) or 864.565.0899 (TDD).


Technology Requirements

This is an online class and you should be equipped with the appropriate materials (internet access, word processing, computing capabilities) to ensure your access to the content and required tasks. Please utilize Clemson’s CCIT resources for troubleshooting your technology should errors or issues arise.


Email and Office Hours

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns about the course. This includes clarification about assignments as well as confusion about the content. I check my email from 8A-4P Monday through Thursday and you should not plan to hear from me outside of those hours. This means you need to plan ahead if you have questions about assignments or deadlines. Should you require more detailed discussion or feedback on your work/progress, I am also available for videoconference via Adobe Connect or Skype by request.




Grading System:

Clemson University’s grading system is described in the 2017-2018 Undergraduate Announcements, p. 25-27.  Grades of A, B, C, D, F, I, P, NP and W may be given in accordance with academic regulations. For more information on this grading system, please see the Registrar’s web site at http://www.registrar.clemson.edu/html/finalGrades.htm.


Every point matters. I aim to provide you timely and detailed feedback and opportunities to improve your score throughout the term. For that reason I do not entertain requests to round your final grade at the end of the term, but do have a policy to award students who stand at 69.5, 79.5, 89.5 and above the next letter grade.


Grading Policy

Canvas Grade Book is a helpful tool for keeping watch on your overall grade in real time throughout the course. It is your responsibility to keep up with your grades and contact me if you believe there is has been an error in your earnings. Any concerns must be addressed within 1 week of that score’s release.


Due Dates and Late Work Policy

All assignments are due to Canvas at the scheduled deadline. Check the schedule often to make sure you don’t miss any deadlines. Any work submitted after the deadline will be considered late and can earn only a maximum of 50% within 24 hours, but will earn NO credit after the 24-hour window.


Any extension must be documented in writing and established in advance of the missed deadline. Early and proactive communication with me about your situation can only help you do well in class. All assigned work may be turned in early for evaluation and/or pre-planned absences.


Written Assignments

Writing assignments will be graded on the strength of the argument, the structure in which that argument is conveyed, the use of evidence to support the argument, and the clarity of the essay’s style.  A “C” paper reports, reviews, or summarizes.  A “B” paper makes an argument (in other words, it has a claim and gestures toward a counterargument).  An “A” paper reveals the author’s prior engagement with the issue in the essay, produces a strong, contestable claim, and provides and close-reads textual evidence to persuade the reader of that claim’s viability. A poorly structured attempt to report, review, or summarize is unlikely to get as high as a “C.”  By the same token, an “A” essay not only shows how the essay participates in a pre-existing argument: it must do so with confident self-awareness.


The formal assignments each have their own rubric on Canvas on which you will be graded. Please visit the Assignment Location to see this rubric as you draft and finalize your work and ensure you have met the requirements.



All formal writing should be formatted with 1” margins, be double-spaced, and have a heading that includes your FULL NAME, THE DATE, THE ASSIGNMENT, ENGL2140.

Please label your files for uploading carefully and thoughtfully to ensure proper delivery. For example: LastNameFirstNameAssignmentName and be in a .doc or .pdf form.






Revision Policy

Your major assignments will receive thoughtful feedback from me in line comments, rubric comments and submission comments. This feedback is an important to consult in order to improve the quality of your work as well as fully understand the writing process. In that aim, you may revise the Truth essay, but must do so within THREE DAYS (counting weekends and the day returned) from the day it is originally returned. For example, if I return work on Monday AM revisions must be turned in by Wednesday at 11:59PM. No late revisions will be re-graded. Assignments submitted beyond the original deadline will still have the appropriate late penalty deducted from their revised final score.



NOTE: ALL assignments must be submitted in an ELECTRONIC format to Canvas in a .doc or .pdf (Google docs will not be accepted).


Period Introduction Quizzes:

These quizzes are open book and open note and aim to reinforce your knowledge of important concepts, historical contexts and literary conversations for each module. You have limited time to complete each quiz (3 min/question) and can take it only once. Be sure to take the quiz only when you are prepared to do so. Period Introduction Quizzes are worth 10% of your total course grade.


Reading Comprehension Quizzes:

These quizzes are also open book and open note to best facilitate your mastery of the content and gain insight into important concepts related to the texts assigned each week. You have limited time to complete these quizzes (3 min/question or 6 min/short response) and can only do so once. Be sure to take the quiz only when you are prepared to do so. Note: Though most quizzes will be multiple choice, I will occasionally include short response or fill-in-the-blank questions. When these question types are assigned I must review and handscore quizzes, so expect your full results/score to take a few extra days. Reading Comprehension Quizzes are worth 20% of your total course grade.


Arguing About the Archive: Truth Essay

Your first paper for this class will be a focused and concise argument of no more than 450 words that analyzes the Gage and Robinson transcriptions of Sojourner Truth’s speech. You will not simply compare and contrast the speeches, but rather forge an interpretative argument about their overall impact, collective interests and/or political associations in order to contribute a clear statement of significance based on the critical inquiry and analysis of the two versions. Your essay should follow the Booth structure, making claims for each text arguing an original interpretation of each transcription. You must support your argument with quoted evidence, close reading, and provide a focused discussion and analysis. Your essay needs to be in MLA format, include accurate in-text citations and a works cited for full points. Full details and examples are available on Canvas. You will receive thoughtful and timely feedback on your essay so that you may improve your critical reading and writing for future tasks, as well as the revision of this essay. This paper is worth 15% of your total grade.








Midterm Exam

We will have one midterm exam that will take 60 minutes at any time during the 72-hour window in Module 3. Unlike your reading comprehension quizzes, these exams will draw primarily on literary and historical contexts and ask you to reflect on major concepts from course materials. This exam has two parts:

  • Part 1: Identification of Concepts will ask you to explore important quotes by providing a brief statement of significance (why it is important, telling of a style, concept, etc).
  • Part 2: Short Response will ask you to identify a selected textual passage and use that passage as textual evidence to support an argument that includes constructing a claim supported by close-read evidence to explore the importance of key concepts or class conversations.

This midterm exam constitutes 25% of your total grade.


Close Reading Activities

In the early weeks of class you will be expected to practice making claims and perform close reading activities to prepare you for future assignments. Consider these tasks not only practice for the skills you need for larger assignments, but also a way to familiarize yourself with the resources available for this class.

Informal writing and critical tasks are a total of 10% of your grade.


Multimedia Literary Argument

This assignment asks you to construct a dynamic multimedia argument about two assigned texts of your choosing from the course (excluding Truth) and a current event/issue article published within the last 12 months (July 2017 to the present). You may select the platform of your choice for this assignment (i.e. Prezi, Powerpoint, Spark, Wix, etc). Using the Booth structure in translation for visual presentation, your slides should develop and argue the connection, relationship and significance between your 2 course texts and the article. Though you must use textual evidence and include in-text citations and a works cited, this multimedia argument should not be purely textual and needs to be designed thoughtfully. You will submit your multimedia argument in Module Four, and complete (2) peer reviews in Module Five. The Multimedia Argument is worth 20% of your total grade (including 5% for peer reviews).


Module Access Points

& Resources

Period introduction Assigned Readings Assessment


Written Component







Runs from Wednesday

June 27th to

Sunday July 1nd









Welcome to the Course:

Navigation Tips


Suggested Study Plan


Access Points: Introduction




Textbook: Beginnings to 1700 (pp. 3-18)



Overview, Timeline & Maps


Christopher Columbus:   From Letter to Luis de Santangel Regarding the First Voyage &

From Letter to Ferdinand and Isabella Regarding the Fourth Voyage (pp. 24-28)

John Smith: From A Description of New England (pp. 69-72)



Introduction to the Class: Scavenger Hunt Quiz


Period Quiz: Beginnings to 1700


Reading Comprehension Quizzes: Columbus & Smith


Due by Sunday, July 1st @ 11:59PM


Close Reading Activity 1 —Annotation and Active Reading





Due by Sunday, July 1st @ 11:59PM





The Character of the American


Runs from


July 2nd to


July 8th







Access Points: Module





Textbook: 1700 to 1820 (pp. 157-168)


Canvas: Overview, Timeline & Maps


Sarah Kemble Knight: From The Private Journal of a Journey from Boston to New York (pp. 171-177)


Benjamin Franklin: Selections from The Autobiography Parts 1 & 2. See Access Points for (pp.) and passages.


J. Hector St. John de Crévecoeur: From “Letter III” in Letters from an American Farmer (pp. 309-319)



Period Quiz: 1700 to 1820


Reading Comprehension Quizzes:

Knight, Franklin & Crévecoeur


Due by Sunday, July 8 @ 11:59PM


Close Reading Activity 2: Crafting Arguments;


Respond to a Peer’s Close Reading Activity 1


Due by Sunday, July 8 @ 11:59PM





American Expressions, or Expressions of America


Runs from Monday

July 9th to Sunday

July 15th


Note: Last day to drop a class or withdraw without a final grade is Tuesday, June 10th




Access Points: Module Two





Textbook: 1820-1865 (pp. 445-464)


Canvas: Overview, Timeline & Maps


Ralph Waldo Emerson: from Nature (pp. 508-511) and “Self-Reliance” (pp. 549-556).


Frederick Douglass: Selections from The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Chapters: Preface, I-III; V-VII, X-XI; pp. 938-965; 971-978; 987-998)


Sojourner Truth: “Speech to the Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, OH 1851” (pp. 775-6)



Period Quiz: 1820-1865


Reading Comprehension Quizzes: Emerson, Douglass


Due by Sunday, July 15 @ 11:59PM




Truth essay

Due by Sunday, July 15th @ 11:59PM











American Politics and Reform


Runs from Monday

July 16th to Sunday

July 22nd






Access Points: Module



Midterm Review



Textbook: 1865-1914

(pp. 1265-1279)


Canvas: Overview, Timeline & Maps


Harriet Jacobs: from Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Ch. 1; 7; 10; 14; 21 & 41) (pp. 819-838)


Walt Whitman: “Song of Myself” Sections 1-5, 48 & 51 (pp. 1024-1027; 1065; 1066-67)


Henry David Thoreau: from “Resistance to Civil Government” (pp. 843- 852 ( ¶ ends: “I lost all remaining respect…pitied it”)




Period Quiz: 1865-1914


Reading Comprehension Quizzes: Whitman,


& Jacobs


Due by Sunday, July 23rd @ 11:59PM



àMidweek Deadline:


MIDTERM EXAM must be completed in the 72 hours between 12:00AM Thursday 7/19 and 11:59 PM Saturday 7/21





Race, Gender and Class in America


Runs from

Monday July 23th to Sunday

July 29th






Access Points: Module Four


Textbook: 1914-1945

(pp. 1837-1855)



Overview, Timeline & Maps


Booker T. Washington: “The Atlanta Exposition Address” from Up From Slavery (pp. 1633-1641)


W.E.B. DuBois: “Of Our Spiritual Strivings” from The Souls of Black Folk (pp. 1715-1722)


Zitkala Sa from Impressions of an Indian Childhood (Ch. 1, 2 & 7) (pp.1823-1830)



Period Quiz: 1914-1945


Reading Comprehension Quizzes:


Washington, DuBois, & Sa


Due by Sunday, July 29th @ 11:59PM


Multimedia Argument


Due by Sunday, June 29th @ 11:59PM




Race, Gender and Class in America


Runs from


July 30th to Wednesday August 1st





Access Points: Module Five




William Faulkner: “Barn Burning” (pp. 2188-2200)


Richard Wright: “The Man Who Was Almost A Man” from Eight Men (pp. 2244-2253)



àMidweek Deadline:


Reading Comprehension


Faulkner &



Due by Wednesday Aug 1st @ 11:59PM


àMidweek Deadline:


Peer Reviews of Multimedia Argument

Due by Wednesday, 8/1 @ 11:59PM