Survey of American Literature Semester Genap 2012/2013




Fakultas Ilmu Budaya Universitas Padjadjaran
Program Studi Sastra Inggris
Semester Genap Tahun Akademik 2013/2014
Survey of American Literature
Monday, 12:30-16:00 (C2.03); Wednesday, 07:30-09:10 (C2.03); Thursday, 07:30-09:10, 09:20-11.00 (C2.03)
Instructor   : Ari Adipurwawidjana
Contact      :, 779-0212 (office), 753-3278 (home), 087822118131 (cell)


I. Course Description

In this course we will discuss works by individuals and collectives in the region presently politically defined as the United States of America produced (and most of the time published) up to the present time. Though we will take into account the beginnings of spoken and written texts from pre-Columbian times, we will focus on contemporary American literature from the mid-19th century to the 21st. We will explore and (dare we say) speculate (in a responsible manner) the relationship of these texts with the world into which they are woven. Though this is not a course in American history, let alone one in the history of the world, we constantly take into account historical events and processes with which the texts deals and which produced them. Ultimately, we will try to see what these texts say about their world (maybe, it is also ours) and how they say it. Thus, we may by the end of the semester have some understanding about the body of texts we call American literature and how it represents, describes, characterizes, and addresses the individuals, ideas, events, and the world which converge within and revolve around it. We will attempt to demystify and demythify literature and ideas (including of course the idea of America) we have come to accept by focusing on exchanges that occur in, around, and as the texts that we will be reading.

Upon the completion of the course students will be expected to have the ability to

  1. recognize the different periods of American literature from its pre-Columbian beginnings to the present time,
  2. identify significant texts of the periods covered,
  3. map the place of particular texts in the context of other texts and relevant historical events and processes,
  4. write a well-argued thesis-driven research-based essay on one particular text or a specific collection of related texts produced within the periods covered,

to see how much we have achieved and how well we have achieved it.


We will place our discussion of the texts within the contexts of these categories:

1.            Romanticism: Romantic fiction and poetry, Transcendentalism, the dark Romantics, Gothicism, Orientalism
2.            Autobiographic writing
3.            Realism and Naturalism: social Darwinism, social determinism, local color
4.            Modernism: “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” automatic writing, stream of consciousness, and the subconscious, the Lost Generation
5.            Trans-Atlantic exchange
6.            Multicultural America and the Issue of Identity
7.            African-American Literature: Harlem Renaissance, slave narratives
8.            Asian-American Literature: Chinese, Indian, Arab, Vietnamese
9.            Hispanic literature
10.            Writing of American Jews
11.            Native American Literature: past and present
12.            The American Intellectual and Artistic Left, the Beat Generation, and Counter-Culture
13.            Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s and Queer Writing

II. Required Texts

Students are required to furnish themselves with all texts to be discussed in class in either printed or digitized forms. Reading material for this course will be available as a packet in the Resource Centre for Linguistic Research and Literary Study (RCLRLS aka the English Libarary) as well as on particular websites such as,, and

III. Course Assignments

Students will be expected to:

  1. Participate in class activities as well as in discussions on virtual discussion forums. The quality of such participation will be reflected in the grade item labeled “Participation.” To ensure a class atmosphere conducive for discussion and learning activities, the instructor and the students are required to turn off (or at least silence) any electronic equipment (especially cellular phones) unless they are needed for a particular activity. Laptop or notebook computers are, however, encouraged to be utilized for internet searching, reading, and note-taking purposes.
  2. Secure regular access to the Internet. Students should regularly check the for information posted in the instructor’s Facebook page (; tweets on Twitter @adipurwawidjana, @GemasiUnpad, @EnglishLibrary and @EnglishUnpad (which students should have already followed anyway), and (both to which students should have already subscribed); and Students anticipating problems in this matter should notify the instructor.
  3. Always bring required texts and any handout previously distributed in class or online.
  4. Have read works to be discussed in class on a particular day as well as those mentioned in this syllabus though not necessarily discussed in class.
  5. Take two scheduled tests and two examinations (mid-term and final). Should a student find herself in a situation in which they may miss a class meeting where a test or an examination is scheduled, she should notify the instructor before class starts either via e-mail or by phone for the instructor to consider whether he will give the student a make-up quiz or examination.
  6. Write a research paper. This paper must be submitted in installments of drafts of which the deadlines are preset. Each draft counts towards the final grade for the paper. This paper will be in the form of a thesis-driven argumentative essay (not a report) based on a critical reading of a report of an event, a cultural phenomenon or artifact, or a text/document. Students planning to or having decided to concentrate on literary studies are encouraged to do the last. The paper will be coverless. The paper will be identified with the student’s name and number on top right-hand corner with pagination on every page on the top right-hand corner except on the first page. The paper will be supplied with a Works Cited or References page. It will be computer-generated with a 4-cm left margin and 3 cm for all other margins. Both hard and soft copies will be submitted. In hardcopy form, the paper will be printed on both sides of the sheet.

IV. Grading

A. A student’s final grade will be determined based on the following criteria:



Test 1


Test 2


Mid-Term Exam


Final Exam


Research Paper


Participation will be reported to PAcIS as “PRESENSI,” Tests 1 and 2 as “QUIZ,”  the Research Paper as “TUGAS,” the Mid-Term Exam as “UTS,” and the Final Exam as “UAS.”


B. The total of all grade items will be converted to letter grades according to the following criteria:

88-100 = A
69-87 = B
50-68 = C
25-49 = D
00-24 = E

V. Attendance

Students will be allowed four (4) unexcused absences out of the twelve (16) class meetings. Unexcused absences include those instances when students are hindered from coming to class due to alarm-clock malfunction, prolonged breakfasts, traffic problems, incidental mild health issues, and unexpected minor domestic emergencies. Note, however, though there is no penalty for such failure to attend class, an absent student will not receive points for participation or activities conducted in class that day. Tardiness of more than fifteen (15) minutes into class time will count as an unexcused absence. Only absences due to severe health problems, and serious domestic situations will be considered as excused absences. For excused absences, a student must provide a written justification from a relevant authority. A student must confer with the instructor to determine whether a medical condition is mild or severe, or whether a domestic emergency is minor or serious. Excused absences cannot be an excuse for failure to submit assignments on time.


VI. Academic Dishonesty

A. If the instructor believes that a student has plagiarized in an assignment or is found to have used external materials (oral, written, printed, or digital) in a particular in-class or on-line activity, the instructor will submit a recommendation to the University to have the student suspended or expelled in accordance to University policy as posted on .

VII. Course Schedule

The course will follow the following tentative schedule. When references to required texts are mentioned, students are to have read the materials before they come to class. Activities may be added or omitted during the course of the semester, depending on what the class seems to need collectively.


Feb       17/19/20    Introduction to the course: Syllabus; Langston Hughes, “I, Too, Sing America;” Allen Ginsberg, excerpt from “Howl;” Fanny Fern, “Independence;” e.e. cummings, “next to of course god”

Feb       24/26/27    e.e. cummings, “how to hump a cow;” Naomi Shihab Nye, “Letters My Prez Is Not Sending” and “Blood;” Brenda Flanagan, “Barack”

Mar       3/5/6          Brenda Flanagan, “Barack;”  Leonard Cohen, “Democracy;” Emerson, “Nature,” Introduction

Mar       10/12/13    What is American and American Literature?: Margaret Fuller, from American Literature, “Its Position in the Present Time and Prospects for the Future;” De Crèvecoeur, from Letter III, “What Is an American?”; Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nature” and “Self-Reliance”

Mar 17/20/21 “A Citty vpon the hill”—wild bodies in the wilderness: Thoreau, “How I Lived and What I Lived for,” Walden; Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

Mar       24/26/27    Burden of the Past, Part I: Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter; Sherman Alexie, “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” and “This Is What It Means to Say Pheonix, Arizona;” Bobbie Ann Mason, “Shiloh”

Mar/Apr  31/2/3      Burden of the Past, Part II: Maxine Hong Kingston, excerpt from Tripmaster Monkey; Herman Melville, excerpt from Moby Dick

Apr 7/9/10 The Way Things Are in the 19th Century—Transcendentalism and other Romantics: Dickinson, Whitman

Apr       14/16/17    The Way Things Are in the 19th Century— Naturalism and Realism: Mark Twain, excerpt from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Stephen Crane

Apr       21/23/24    Modern, Scientific Life: Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie

Apr/May 28/30/1    Modern, Scientific Life: Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie

May      5/7/8          Staging America: Eugene O’ Neill, “The Hairy Ape”

May      12/14/15    tba

May      19/21/22    tba

May      26/28/29    tba

Jun        2/4/6          tba

Jun        9                tba

Jun        16              Final Examination (UAS)





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