ENGL 2150: Literature in 20/21st Century Contexts: Representing Subjectivity in the Postwar (Fall 2017)

Clemson University

Section# 011 Tuesdays & Thursdays from 11:00A-12:15P, DAN 406

Section# 012 Tuesdays & Thursdays from 12:30P-1:45P, DAN 406


INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Jennifer Forsberg

EMAIL: jforsbe [at] clemson [dot] edu

OFFICE: Strode 502

HOURS: Tuesdays & Thursdays 1:45-3:00PM and by appointment




The twentieth century was a complex and dynamic time for not only getting to know oneself, but also communicating that self across various historical, social and cultural contexts. This class will move largely chronologically from just before WWII to the contemporary period to examine how postwar subjectivity is represented in British and American texts. These texts will qualify, quantify and challenge the expression of identity and personal autonomy in relation to race, gender, ethnicity, class, nationality and sexuality in an effort to characterize the century and its legacy in a new millennium.



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.).




  • The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Literature Since 1945 (Volume E): ISBN-13: 978-0393934809 or ISBN-10: 0393934802
  • (1) novel based on group assignment from the selections here: Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), Octavia Butler: Parable of the Sower (1993), Paul Beatty: White Boy Shuffle (1996), Zadie Smith: White Teeth (2000), Kazuo Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go (2006), Junot Díaz: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007)
  • Electronic/Web Texts Linked on Canvas. Please save as a PDF to make annotations for reference & class discussions.
  • Laptop computers per classroom task/reading assignment


*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 discussions and quizzes. In addition, you must include accurate and complete in-text citations and a works cited for any and all versions you use in your assignments.





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. Please attend class on time and when you are prepared to discuss that day’s assigned reading(s). The more classes you attend the better you can expect to do on your reading responses, midterm exams and quizzes. I will circulate an attendance sheet to ensure you have attended at least half of our class meetings and for administrative records. I do not differentiate between excused or unexcused absences, so use the flexibility of this policy carefully. Students who do not attend the minimum amount of meetings (14 sessions 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%.

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 in and out of class. You should bring your laptop to class with batteries fully charged. You are expected to use your technology responsibly and appropriately. When class tasks do not require your laptop, they should be put aside.


Office Hours

I will hold office hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Strode 502. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of my availability and the help I am ready to offer. Please let me know in advance if you plan to stop by 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 must plan accordingly if you have questions about an upcoming deadline or reading.




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 2 weeks of that score’s release.


Due Dates and Late Work Policy

All assignments are due to Canvas by the start of class (per your section) on the due date unless otherwise specified. If work is submitted after the deadline it will be considered late and will be worth a maximum of: 75% within 24 hours, 50% credit within 24-47 hours, but will earn no credit after 48 hours. Since we will 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 with the exception of midterm exams.


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.

While I am happy to look over sample claims or help you brainstorm via email, I only review drafts in person during office hours. Please plan accordingly if you would like this detailed feedback in advance of our deadlines.

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.


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, I will allow you to revise ONE reading response during the term. The response you select is up to you, but your revision must be resubmitted 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 with the exception of midterm exams that will be written in class in hard copy.



You will complete 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 8:00AM 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. When these question types are assigned I must review and handscore your quiz, so expect your final results to take a few extra days. Quizzes are worth 25% of your total course grade.


Q & A Reading Responses

2 times during the course you will construct a focused and concise reading response that offers a well-thought out frame to make a cohesive and singular argument about the two texts you have chosen from the list of possible options on Canvas. These responses have two parts: a question and an answer.


  • The Question Portion should be 75-100 words long. Your question should provide the necessary background, textual details, and state a clear, unified goal that can be answered in a short response. Avoid yes or no answers by providing detail and specificity in your question. In addition, emphasize issues related to a text or our class discussion to avoid unproductive and non-academic “how do you feel about this….” or “what do you think X intended…” or “what do you think X would have thought….” questions that cannot be proven with evidence and close reading.


  • The Answer Portion should answer the question you pose and argue an original interpretation of your 2 texts in no more than 350 words (yes, maximum). You must support your argument with quoted evidence, close reading, and focused discussion in a well-developed and well-organized argument as detailed in the Booth structure.


These responses need to be in MLA format and include 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 each response so that you may improve your critical reading and writing. You may also revise one of these responses per the policy above. Response 1 is worth 8% of your grade, while Response 2 is worth 17%, resulting in 25% 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.


  • 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.


Midterm exams are worth 25% of your total grade.


Novel Groups: Class Facilitation and Multimedia Project

Early in the term you will be assigned a novel to read independent of our regularly scheduled course readings. This novel will place you within the group you will be working with in the last third of the class. This assignment has two parts:


  • Class Facilitation: Your group will be responsible for facilitating a 30-minute discussion on the novel you’ve selected. Some of this will be providing biography, context and background, but should also involve the class through interactions, close-reading activities, interpretive arguments and connections to contemporary issues. Groups are encouraged to meet with me if they need guidance. All group members must participate in the facilitation to earn a grade. Each group will receive written responses/feedback from their peers to help construct or refine the content.


  • Multimedia Argument: This project should distill what you covered in the class facilitation, but should further develop close-readings, interpretive arguments and connections to contemporary issues in a self-standing project on Prezi, Powerpoint, Spark, Wix, etc. Your argument should draw on the feedback you receive on Canvas and follow the Booth structure, include textual evidence and include in-text citations and a works cited. However, your group’s multimedia argument should not be purely textual and needs to be designed thoughtfully with visual, audio and video elements. Your project should name all group members and be submitted 1 per group as a file or as a reliable and tested link by the deadline.


The final Multimedia Argument is worth 10% and the in-class facilitation is worth 10% for a total of 20% of your final grade.


Presentation Response

After each group provides their novel facilitation you will post to the discussion board for that group with a 150 word response and reflection on what you took away from the presentation as well as any significant ideas/findings or connections to our course texts you made as the material was presented to you. These are due by the start of the class period immediately following the facilitation. Example: If the Butler group presents Tuesday, your reflection is due by the start of class Thursday. When you are the presenting group, create a brief statement (100 words) of reflection on how it went. Combined these responses count as 5% of your total grade.




Important Administrative Dates:

January 16th: Last day to register or add a class

January 23rd: Last day to drop or withdraw from the University without a W (withdraw) grade

March 15th: Last day to drop a class or withdraw without a final grade


Important Examination Dates:

February 6th: Midterm One

March 13th: Midterm Two


This schedule is subject to change. I will give you advance notice in class and via Canvas if it does.


Date Readings To Prepare for Class

*= Link on Canvas Pages

Assignments &

Quizzes Due

Thursday, 1/11 Introduction to class

In-class Reading: Owen “Dulce et Decorum Est”*

Q: Owen (Practice quiz in class)
Tuesday, 1/16 Yeats “The Second Coming”*

Introduction to writing in 2150

             Tomorrow is the last day to add a class

Q: Yeats
Thursday, 1/18 Woolf: Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid”* Q: Woolf
Tuesday, 1/23 Orwell: “You and the Atomic Bomb”*

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

Q: Orwell
Thursday, 1/25 Beckett: Krapp’s Last Tape*

Sign up for group facilitations

Q: Beckett
Tuesday, 1/30 Ellison from Invisible Man (pp. 208-224) Q: Ellison
Thursday, 2/1 King: “I Have A Dream” (pp. 585-587)

Baraka “An Agony: As Now” (pp. 670-1) and “Black Art”*



Q: Baraka

Tuesday, 2/6 Malcolm X: “Message to the Grassroots”* Q&A Response 1 Due
Thursday, 2/8 Rhys: “Let Them Call It Jazz”*

Midterm 1 Review

Q: Rhys
Tuesday, 2/13




MIDTERM 1 (all texts to this point)


Thursday, 2/15 O’Connor: “The Life You Save May Be Your Own” and “Good Country People” (pp. 436-457) Q: O’Connor
Tuesday, 2/20 Ginsberg: “Howl” (part 1), “On Burroughs’s Work” (pp. 492-497; 504) and “America”* Q: Ginsberg
Thursday, 2/22 Plath: “Lady Lazarus” (pp. 625-7) “The Applicant” (pp. 634-5)

O’Hara: “Personism: A Manifesto” (pp. 410-412)

Q: Plath

Q: O’Hara

Tuesday, 2/27 Larkin: “Aubade” and “This Be The Verse”*

Ammons: “A Poem is Not A Walk” (pp. 415-7)

Q: Larkin

Q: Ammons

Thursday, 3/1 Kerouac: from Big Sur (pp. 353-371)

                      Midterm Grades Posted Tomorrow

Q: Kerouac
Tuesday, 3/6 Thompson: from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas* (Chapters 1-5)


Q: Thompson
Thursday, 3/8 Carver: “Cathedral” (pp. 737-746)

Sukenick: “Innovative Fiction/Innovative Criteria” (pp. 401-403)

Q: Carver

Q: Sukenick

Tuesday, 3/13 Kingston: from Woman Warrior (pp. 791-800)

Gass: “The Medium of Fiction” (pp. 403-407)

Q: Kingston

Q: Gass

Thursday, 3/15 Alexie: “This is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” (p. 1213-1222)

                      Tomorrow is the last day to drop without a final grade

Q&A Response 2 Due

3/19 to 3/23: SPRING BREAK

Tuesday, 3/27 Allison: from Stubborn Girls and Mean Stories (pp. 1183-1187)

Dandicat: from Brother, I’m Dying (pp. 1198-1200)


Q: Allison

Q: Dandicat

Thursday, 3/29 Silko: “Lullaby” (pp. 1050-1057)

Cisneros: “Woman Hollering Creek” (pp. 1030-1139)

Midterm Review

Q: Silko

Q: Cisneros

Tuesday, 4/3



MIDTERM 2 (all texts from Midterm 1 to this point)


Thursday, 4/5


                                        Beatty Group Facilitation

Baldwin: “In Search of a Majority”*

Lorde: “Poetry is Not A Luxury” (pp. 417-418)


Q: Baldwin

Q: Lorde 1

Tuesday, 4/10                                    Atwood Group Facilitation


Lorde: “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House”*

Atwood: first 4 poems in Power Politics (pp. 1-4)*


Beatty Feedback Due


Q: Lorde 2

Q: Atwood

Thursday, 4/12                                    Butler Group Facilitation


Le Guin: “Schrödinger’s Cat” and “She Unnames Them” (pp. 589-596)

Brooks: “A Street in Bronzeville” (pp. 322-324)



Atwood Feedback Due


Q: Le Guin

Q: Brooks

Tuesday, 4/17                                     Díaz Group Facilitation


Anzaldua: from Borderlands/La Frontera (pp. 837-857)


Butler Feedback Due


Q: Anzaldua

Thursday, 4/19                                 Smith Group Facilitation


Rushdie: from Imaginary Homelands*


Díaz Feedback Due


Q: Rushdie

Tuesday, 4/24                                    Ishiguro Group Facilitation


Thiong’o: Chapter 3 from Decolonizing the Mind*

Smith Feedback Due


Q: Thiong’o

Thursday, 4/26 Characterizing the 20 & 21st Century: An Argument


Prepare for today’s class by considering and answering the questions posted to Canvas Pages. Be prepared to discuss them!


Ishiguro Feedback Due

Group Assignment: Multimedia Literary Argument Due by Friday, 4/27 at 11:59PM