Tuesday, September 11, 2012

American Lit. Syllabus

Columbus College of Art & Design prepares tomorrow's creative leaders for professional careers. With a history of commitment to fundamentals and quality, CCAD advances a distinct, challenging, and inclusive learning culture that supports individual development in art, design, and the humanities.
Course Information:
Faculty Information:

Catalog ID:  390  Section: 01   Term:  Fall 2012

Course Name:   Readings in American Literature

Course Prerequisite(s):

Meeting Day(s): W, F,   Meeting Time(s): 11-12:20

Class Location:  Crane 303

Faculty Name: Sophia Kartsonis

Phone: 614 437-7379


Office Hours: T,H, 11-12:30

Office Location:  KH201

Course Description: Involves critical study of selected readings from the Americas. Generally, the readings will be drawn from Euro-American, African American, and Native American works, and a wide range of periods and forms. Some sections may be sharply focused on a period, genre, or issue. Students will write essays and examinations. Emphasis and genre vary with professor.
Course Goals : To give students a broader sense of how an uniquely American literature emerged from the sum and interesting combinations of its various cultural components.  Through reading and writing, students can reflect upon what it means to become and create American literature.
Course Learning Outcomes: Through the critical examination of literary periods, styles and the factors of race, gender, faith, politics and culture, students will be able to think critically about how a culture and what it makes evolves.  Students should be able to communicate clearly both verbally and through writing about various features of American Literature.

This course is designed to help students develop in the following areas (check all that apply):
Knowledge base X

Organizational skills x

Observation skills  x
Research skills X

Presentation skills x

Adaptive skills  x
Analytical skills X

Interaction skills x

Associative skills x
Reasoning skills X

Media skills

Empathy skills x
Ideation skills X

Response skills x

Feedback skills x
Iteration skills X

Mastery skills

Critique skills x

Required Course Materials:

Required Text(s): Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative NonFiction. Various handouts and links.

Recommended Text(s): Various.

Schedule of Classes (including key events including assignments, projects due dates/exam dates): See below

Methods/weights of Evaluation (this is a list of items that will be used as the basis for calculating students’ grades in the course, i.e., projects 30%, tests & quizzes, 30%, class participation 10%):

Course Grading Policies (this is a list of policies regarding due dates, late submissions, standards and expectation regarding work, etc.):

CCAD Academic Policies:
(see the Student Handbook for complete policy information)
ADA STATEMENT If you have a documented cognitive, physical, or psychological disability, which includes learning disabilities (LD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), depression, anxiety, or mobility, as described by Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it is recommended that you contact Disability Services at 614-222-3292. They will assist you in arranging appropriate accommodations with the instructor.
(see the Student Handbook for complete policy information)

Students are required to attend all classes on their schedule. (see the Student Handbook for complete policy information)
(see the Student Handbook for complete policy information)
The college expects students to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the high ideals and standards that CCAD has set for its community and its students. (see the Student Handbook for complete policy)

Week of 08/28
T 08/28  Intro.   
H 08/30  Close reading of This is Just to Say and The Red Wheelbarrow WCW.

Week of 09/04
WCM discussion continued.  Read bio. and the following poems (Asphodel, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, and  Spring and All) on this site. Also, to the left margin, there is a string of essays discussing the poet and the period. Look to those for some ways to discuss and write about these issues. As we discussed in class, Imagism plays a part in Williams' treatment of subjects. We will talk about that in class a bit, but feel free to review the essay on Imagism.
F WCW video.

Week of 09/11
W Looking at what the American Literature timeline entails.  Considering what we think about when we think about American lit. (play off of contemporary American author: Raymond Carver’s story title.)  Discussion of and introduction to Walt Whitman.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdW1CjbCNxw

Homework:  Read all of the following:
Colonial overview:
Antebellum overview:
Antebellum literature:
Postbellum overview:
Postbellum Literature:

F:  Introduction to Modernism. Ezra Pound. T.S. Eliot. Wallace Stevens.
Homework:  Readings:  Ezra Pound, bio and poems  T.S. Eliot bio and the following poems:
The Wasteland and Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.  They will likely feel a bit difficult, we'll discuss them in class, of course, but I will want you to read them first.
Also, really consider attending this. This is one of those incredible artists

Aurora Robson
multimedia artist  Wednesday, Sept. 12, 7 p.m.  Canzani Center Auditorium 
Aurora Robson is a multimedia artist known for her transformative use of plastic debris, excess packaging, and junk mail as artmaking material. A Canadian, Robson has lived and worked in New York City for the past 21 years. As a “subtle yet determined environmental activist” and advocate for plastic pollution awareness, she has exhibited all over the United States and Europe and is the founding artist of Project Vortex, an international collective of artists, designers and architects who also work with plastic debris. Her exhibition Sacrifice + Bliss is at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens from Sept. 9-April 28.
Visit her website, http://aurorarobson.com/
This program is free and open to the public. If you would like to support programs like this, please donate any amount online (choose the "exhibitions and visiting artists & scholars" option).

F Readings discussed.
Homework:  Your first assignment will involve an imitation piece  or series (500 word minimum) of the Modernists. The work can be in a variety of forms (essay, poetry, formal, etc.) as long as it meets the word count.   One way to tackle this might be to write a poem by the light of one of these pieces and then to write a short letter or essay piece that describes your process: how you worked from the imitation and how you worked away from or against it.   It will be due a week from today (09/20)
Read Wallace Stevens, bio. and all poems.  He might be very helpful for your imitations so read him early.

Week of 09/18
W Wallace Stevens.
F   Discussion and turn in of your Modernist pieces.
Homework:  Read the following sections in this link for The Fountainhead: Plot overview, context and themes and motifs.  http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/fountainhead/context.html
As well as the essay Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson.  These readings will relate to two of our visitors: Todd Slaughter’s American Primitives show on Sept. 27 and author, Benjamin Anastas’ reading on Friday, Oct. 19th. Please plan to attend both.

Week of 09/25
W  Discussion: Emerson’s Self-Reliance

Todd Slaughter: American Primitives       Sept. 27–Nov. 8, 2012  Opening Reception: Sept. 27, 6–9 p.m.    Canzani Center Gallery    Free & Open to the Public

Over the last 12 years Todd Slaughter’s artwork has addressed the perception that safety is synonymous with isolation and privilege in the gated communities of suburbia and urban high-rises. This specific aspect of American identity is but one point on a trajectory that, in the end, lands in the darkest of places. Through a series of sculptural tableaux, American Primitives points out parallels between the American individualism defined by Thoreau and Emerson and its evil twin, isolationist groups who feel that they, too, are manifesting core American values.
Slaughter is a former CCAD faculty member who is currently a professor at Ohio State University. His work has been given a major retrospective at the Chicago Cultural Center, as well as exhibitions in numerous galleries and museums. Permanent public works can be found in the Midway Airport, Chicago, and Tarifa/Algeciras, Spain.
Homework:  (This assignment will be due on 10/16)  Using the writings of Emerson. Write a letter to the editor of an imaginary newspaper as an invented character responding to the work directly or the way the notions behind it or Rand (or I can even allow for Thoreau, if you’d like) are working for or against “you” (as your character). We’ll flesh out this idea more in class, but plan on a 500 word minimum where your “character” tells a bit about him/herself and how the ideas in one of those works or in other more recent writings have impacted him/her.  If you’re using another speech or text, make sure you provide the original or a source for it. Then, you will be inventing a second character, one with a very different or contrasting, even opposing viewpoint, to respond to your original character. (250 words or more) Have fun with this. Name your newspaper, your town, really try to imagine these lives. For inspiration, consider Lynch’s  Interview Project:  http://interviewproject.davidlynch.com/www/#/route
Week of 10/02
W  Formal Poetry:  Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Elizabeth Bishop, Marianne Moore, Robert Hayden
Homework: Readings: Frost, Hughes, Bishop, Moore.
 Look over these forms:  sestina, sonnet, and villanelle, and begin to decide which you will imitate (and discuss in a 300 word minimum formal letter to your readers).  We will look over some examples for both components of this assignment: due 10/11.
Read:  Girl by Jamaica Kinkaid http://www.fphil.uniba.sk/fileadmin/user_upload/editors/kaa/Ivan_Lacko/Kincaid_Girl.pdfand Everyday Use by Alice Walker. http://xroads.virginia.edu/~ug97/quilt/walker.html
Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway

 (Walker & Kinkaid to be discussed Thurs. and Carver and Hemingway a week from today.
F Discussion Walker & Kinkaid.

Week of 10/09
W  Discussion Carver & Hemingway
Homework:  Read William Harrison’s Present Tense Africa from your Touchstone Anthology p.220
F Discussion Harrison.  Formal poems due today.
Homework:  Read Allan Ginsberg bio and all poems. http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/8
And this on The Beat Poets:  http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5646
and contemporary American poet, Eliot Khalil Wilson’s response to Ginsberg (at the end of this document.)

Week of 10/16
Letters to the editor due.
(Review Emerson, if need be.)
F Discussion Anastas.
Visiting artist/author:
Benjamin Anastas   author
Friday, Oct. 19, 6:30 p.m.    Canzani Center Auditorium 
Benjamin Anastas is the author of two highly regarded novels, and his memoir,Too Good to Be True, will be published in fall 2012. His short fiction has been published in The Paris Review, The Yale Review, and GQ, while his criticism and essays have appeared regularly in Bookforum, The New York Times Sunday Book Review, and The New York Observer. Anastas’ essay "The Foul Reign of Emerson's 'Self-Reliance,'" first published in The New York Times Magazine, appears in the exhibition catalog for American Primitives and will be included inThe Best American Essays 2012.

Week of 10/23
NY School Readings.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XKN0iZG_4s Don Draper reads Frank O’Hara
Homework: Charles Bukowski readings
At your leisure:

Week of 10/30
NY School discussion, Bukowski.
Homework:  Eula Bliss The Pain Scale (p. 2, Touchstone)
F Discussion: The Lyric Essay through Bliss’ essay.
Homework:  Selected readings: Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell.

Week of 11/05
W   The Confessionalists
F  Discussion continued
Homework:  Reading: Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin, Michael Cunningham’s White Angel,
Poetry Comics article,
**Your ekphrastic pieces and process papers (500 words minimum) are due on Tuesday 11/20. 
The short version of this assignment is that you will be responding or imitating a piece of literature through visual art. Examples abound: W.H. Auden’s Musee de Beaux Art or WCW’s Icarus (myth-painting-poem).  Or Charles Simic’s poems that respond to Joseph Cornell’s boxes (for the reverse).  Consider the poetry poem:  http://www.tcj.com/a-bianca-stone-interview/

Week of 11/13
W TBA   I will be giving a reading at Florida Southern College (and representing CCAD)  Your class plans are forthcoming.

Week of 11/20
F   THANKSGIVING BREAK!  Safe travels and happy Thanksgiving!

Week of 11/27
Group Presentations of Essays from Touchstone Anthology. (There will be an oral and written component for each group member. More details forthcoming.)
F Group Presentations continued

Week of 12/03
W  Group Presentations

Week of 12/10
W   “”
F Last day of semester.

Ginsberg’s Ghost: Atlantic City 

By Eliot Khalil WIlson
Ms America you’ve given everything and now you’re nothing.
5’4”, 143 pounds, size fourteen dress, April 1, 2001.
Ms. America when will you stop wobbling and wear human shoes?
When will you fail to be eerily pleasant?
When will you stop having your breasts stuffed with sandwich bags of carcinogens?
Ms America you made me want to be Pamela Anderson.
Ms. America when will you keep your clothes on?
When will you stoop to help the three stooped women on the 100-rupee note?
Ms America when will you send your Spode and silver to a random address in Cuba?
When will you say that it doesn’t happen to every man and it is a big deal?
Aren’t you tired of being mostly hair, bleached teeth, and padding.
When will you stop aspiring to be an assemblage of gleaming cleavages?
Ms. America when will you rule your own womb?
When will you stop being sweet to the point of translucence?
When will you be demonic? When will you refuse to be interrupted?
Ms. America are you an unconscious victim only?
When you will admit that you’ve been interpellated by Friends ?
I love Friends. Everyone so perky. I watch it every chance I get.
Ross’s monkey has vanished.  It’s sinister.

When will you say I want and Fuck this and Fuck that ?
Ms America when will you be Mr. President?
When will you end this absurdly Pyrrhic war on drugs?
Ms America when can we vote Texas off the island?
When will you blaze up and tell us that George W. Bush never happened?
He’s embarrassing. I’m getting nostalgic for Richard Nixon, 
From now on, Je suis Canadian.
When will you stop letting your emotional life be run by Cosmo magazine?
Are you a fun fearless female with flirty moves that floor him?
Do you know seven scorching sex tricks that make him ga-ga?
Ms. America come talk to me.

It occurs to me that I am Ms America.
I am talking to myself again, and I miss my real lips.
I have to be orange. 
My spirit feels overweight.
I need to learn to eat like the other mannequins
Don’t speak to me. I’m having a beauty crisis.
I lash out with mascara now.
I can’t go anywhere like this. I’m stooped and hairy.
I need a billboard’s posture, emergency electrolysis.
Who will vacuum the fat out of my body?
This is all entirely too perverted and obscene for me.
Ms. America, I’d rather be dead.

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