ENGL 2150: Literature in 20/21st Century Contexts, Topic: Movement and Mobility (Spring 2020)


ENGL 2150: Literature in 20/21st Century Contexts, Topic: Movement and Mobility

Section# 009 Tuesdays & Thursdays from 8:00-9:15AM, DAN 414

Section# 010 Tuesdays & Thursdays from 9:30-10:45AM, DAN 414



INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Jennifer Forsberg

EMAIL: jforsbe [at] clemson.edu



OFFICE HOURS: Tuesdays & Thursdays

12:15-1:15PM, Wednesdays 2:00-4:00PM,

and by appointment



This course explores the influence of movement and mobility on 20/21st century literature. In an era of fast growing technology and wide-circulating media, the readings from this course test the individualism of the road and trace the politics of migration. We will study the complex expressions of movement, mobility and access in relation to national traditions, identity formation, and environmental impact.



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., in reading responses, multimedia arguments and exams), and informal ways (e.g., in class discussion, in-class writings, etc.).




  • Butler, Octavia. Parable of the Sower, 1993.
  • Electronic/Web Texts Linked from Canvas. Please save as a PDF in order to make annotations for reference and class discussion. Printing not required.
  • Laptop computers per classroom task/reading assignment.


Accurate and complete in-text citations and a works cited are required for any and all versions you use for your assignments. If you aren’t sure how to cite your version visit the Purdue Owl Online.





Our class meetings will help to facilitate your skills in critical writing and close reading and to prepare you for the tasks required of this course. The more classes you attend the better you can expect to do on your writing tasks, midterm exams, and quizzes. I will circulate an attendance sheet to track that you have attended a minimum of 22 class meetings. I do not differentiate between excused or unexcused absences, so use the flexibility of this policy carefully: if you miss in-class activities you cannot make them up. Students who do not attend the minimum amount of meetings (including exams and regardless of add date) may be dropped from the class at the university drop date, or if still enrolled, have their final grade reduced by 15%. It is your responsibility to keep up with how many classes you have attended; I will report where you stand at midterm only.


If you miss important information regarding assignments or exams please check with your peers or look to Canvas for announcements or updates.


Course Disruptions

Any exam scheduled at a time that class is cancelled due to inclement weather will be given at the next class meeting. I will announce all extensions or postponements of assignments or exams via Canvas within 24 hours of the weather related cancellation.

In the event that I am late for class, please check Canvas for an update and wait 10 minutes before dismissing yourself.


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, or by simply stopping in.


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 course requires the use of computer technologies inside and outside of class. You should bring your laptop to class with batteries fully charged. You are expected to use your technology effectively and responsibly. When class tasks do not require a laptop it should be put aside.


 Office Hours

I hold office hours on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 12:15PM-1:15PM and on Wednesdays from 2:00-4:00PM in Strode 502. Please come by and utilize the help I am ready to offer. During busy times of the semester (near major assignments and the final weeks) I suggest that you contact me for a scheduled appointment so I can guarantee you time. I check my email Monday through Friday from 8AM-4PM. You should not expect to hear from me outside of those times and need to plan accordingly if you have questions about an upcoming deadline or reading.

While I am happy to look over sample claims or help you brainstorm via email (no attachments please), I only review drafts in person during office hours. Please plan accordingly if you would like this detailed feedback in advance of our deadlines.




Grading System:

Clemson University’s grading system is described in the 2019-2020 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 2 weeks of that score’s release.


Due Dates and Late Work Policy

All assignments are due to Canvas the start of class on the due date (per your section) unless otherwise specified. If work is submitted after the deadline it will be considered late and will incur a 50% deduction for each day. Assignments more than 48 hours late can earn no credit. Since we will often discuss quiz results in class, no late quizzes will be accepted.


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.


If you miss an EXAM you must notify me in advance of the examination period or immediately thereafter to re-schedule a time to take it within 1 calendar week (the following week during office hours). If you know in advance you have a scheduling conflict, please contact me as soon as possible to schedule a time immediately before or after the examination period.


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, ENGL2150 and the SECTION/TIME.

Please label your files for uploading carefully and thoughtfully to ensure proper delivery. For example: LastNameFirstNameAssignmentName and be in a .doc or .pdf form. Please save GoogleDocs to PDF before uploading to secure your formatting!

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 Short Critical 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.


Quiz Forgiveness

While there is no mathematical equation to calculate how many quizzes may be forgiven, I tend to assess class engagement, student preparation and gauge the quality of class discussions around each midterm exam. The greater the effort I see on your behalf as a whole, the more quizzes I am likely to drop via Canvas.



NOTE: ALL assignments must be submitted in an ELECTRONIC format to Canvas with the exception of midterm exams that will be written in class in hard copy.



You will complete timed reading comprehension quizzes via Canvas for most assigned readings. These quizzes can be taken only once, are open book/open note, and must be completed by the start of your class time on the scheduled date we will discuss the text/author in question. While most quizzes will be multiple choice, I will occasionally include a short response question to help ready you for other course tasks including writing practice. When these question types are assigned I must review and handscore your quiz, so expect your final results to take a few extra days. Please note: late quizzes will not be accepted after the deadline and will be manually marked as zero.

Quizzes are worth 15% of your total course grade.


Short Critical Essay

Early in the term we will break into small reading groups to facilitate discussion of Tillie Olsen’s poem “I Want You Women Up North to Know.” Each reading group will be responsible for highlighting/showcasing their assigned topic, as well as articulating their own interpretation of the Olsen poem and its meaning. Our class discussion, as such, will offer multiple and diverse interpretations of the Olsen poem. Your short critical essay, to be completed individually, will argue your own original interpretation of Olsen’s poem (through quoted evidence), its greater success (does it do what it aims to do?), and explain how it engages issues of mobility and movement per our class focus. Your essay should follow the Booth structure and make a claim that allows your analysis to denote the significance and implications of your reading. Your essay should be a maximum of 400 words and must include quoted evidence, close reading, and analysis to support your argument. No outside sources are required or recommended. Include accurate in-text citations and a works cited for full points (MLA preferred, but APA or Chicago accepted). 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 for the revision of this essay.

The Short Critical Essay is worth 15% of your total grade.




Midterm Exams

We will have two midterm exams to be completed in class in a full-size blue/green book (at the bookstore). You may (and should try to) use the same book for both exams. Unlike your reading comprehension quizzes, these exams will draw primarily on literary and historical contexts and ask you to reflect on major concepts from lecture. These exams have two parts:

  • Part 1: Identification will ask you to connect important quotes to their Author, the Title of the text, and provide a brief statement of significance (why it is important, telling of a style, concept, etc).
  • Part 2: Short Response will ask you to identify, close-read and explore the importance of key concepts or class conversations based on a short essay response that draws from a selected textual passage and uses that passage as textual evidence to support your argument.

We will take dedicated time to review for each midterm the class period before the scheduled exam date.

Each midterm exam constitutes 15% of your final grade, for a total of 30%.


In-Class Writing and Critical Practice Tasks

You will regularly be expected to come to class with an analysis/reading prepared, submit sample claims to Canvas, engage in peer review, or prepare a Spark Video to advance class discussion. While these tasks are not substantial, they will help ready you for future assignments and aim to ensure that you have familiarity and resources for the tasks in this class.

In-class writing and critical tasks are a total of 25% of your grade.


Multimedia Literary Argument

This assignment asks you to construct a dynamic multimedia argument about any two texts of your choosing from the course and a current event/issue article published within the last 12 months (March 2019 to the present). Using the Booth structure in translation for visual presentation, your slides should develop and argue the connection 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 with visual, audio and video elements. You will present a 4-5 minute version of your project the final week of class where you will give and receive feedback, which will help you finalizing your submission.

The Multimedia Argument is worth 15% of your total grade; presentations & giving feedback are worth (7%), and the final submission is (8%).





Important Dates to Note:

  • Jan 14, Tue: Last day to register or add a class
  • Jan 22, Wed: Last day to drop a class or withdraw from the University without a W grade
  • Feb 20, Thurs: Midterm One
  • Mar 13, Fri: Last day to drop a class or withdraw from the University without a final grade
  • Mar 16, Mon- Mar 20, Fri: Spring Break
  • Apr 9, Thurs: Midterm Two


Date Reading To Prepare for Class

All texts linked on Canvas unless noted

Assignments & Quizzes

Due At Start of Class

Thursday, 1/9


Introduction to course, syllabus and schedule.


Intellectual Inventory: Mobility and Movement in the 20th century


Mileage Generator





Tuesday, 1/14


London, from The Road, “Confession”      


Today is the last day to add a class

Q: London




Thursday, 1/16


Orwell, from Down and Out in Paris and London, Chapter 1 (Canvas)



Q: Orwell


Adobe Spark Video: 3 Places




Tuesday, 1/21


Steinbeck—“Leader of the People”


Olsen Reading Groups Assigned for 1/30


Tomorrow is the last day to drop a class without a W

Q: Steinbeck




Thursday, 1/23



Kerouac, from On the Road (section 1 -3 in part 1)




Claim and Body Development Practice



Tuesday, 1/28



Wright, “The Man Who Was Almost a Man”





Q: Wright


Thursday, 1/30



Olsen, “I Want You Women Up North to Know”:

Reading Group Activity (read the poem and prepare your assigned topic)



Tuesday, 2/4



O’Connor, “The Life You Save May Be Your Own”


Q: O’Connor



Thursday, 2/6


Williams, “This Is My Country Too”



Q: Williams


Short Critical Essay Due



Tuesday, 2/11



Alexie, “This is What It Means to Say ‘Phoenix, Arizona’”



Q: Alexie



Thursday, 2/13


Butler Parable of the Sower, day 1 (Chapters 1-15)

(not on Canvas; you must buy or check out a copy!)


Q: Butler 1



Tuesday, 2/18


Butler Parable of the Sower, day 2 (Chapters 16-End)


Midterm 1 Review

Q: Butler 2



Thursday, 2/20: EXAM Midterm Exam 1

Tuesday, 2/25


Forster, “The Machine Stops”



Q: Forster



Thursday, 2/27


Attendance Update Circulated

Clarke, “History Lesson”


Multimedia Discussion: Arguing in Adobe Spark;


Manifesto Readings Assigned for 3/12


Midterm Grades Posted Tomorrow


Q: Clarke
Tuesday, 3/3 Rhys, “Let Them Call It Jazz” Q: Rhys


Claims practice



Thursday, 3/5



Cisneros, “Woman Hollering Creek”


Q: Cisneros



Tuesday, 3/10


Manifestos for the Millennium: In Class Discussion and Activity


What are the debates of the 20 & 21st century? What forms of movement and/or mobility exists?


Thursday, 3/12


Manifestos: Peer Review and Application.


Tomorrow is the last day to drop without a final grade


Manifestos for the Millennium Spark Video Due

Tuesday, 3/24



Anzaldúa, from Borderlands: The Mestiza Consciousness


Final Project Introduced


Q: Anzaldúa




Thursday, 3/26



Smith: “The Waiter’s Wife”



Q: Smith


Tuesday, 3/31



Lahiri: “Interpreter of Maladies”


Q: Lahiri




Thursday, 4/2


Kirkman, The Walking Dead, Vol 1: Days Gone Bye (all, or as much as you can!) (Canvas)


Q: Kirkman

Claim Practice


Tuesday, 4/7


Li “On the Street Where You Live”


Midterm 2 review

Q: Li


Thursday, 4/9


Midterm Exam 2
Tuesday, 4/14


Multimedia Workshop Day

Post to Canvas and Be Prepared to Discuss: Current event/issue article,

Course texts, Overall argument, Multimedia incorporation.

Note; Presentation Schedule Posted to Canvas by Tuesday @ 8PM

Thursday, 4/16 Presentations and Feedback: Panels A + B + C
Tuesday, 4/21


Presentations and Feedback: Panels D + E + F
Thursday, 4/24


Presentations and Feedback: Panels G + H

Multimedia Literary Argument Due to Canvas by Monday, April 27th @ 11:59PM