Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2023
Units: 5
Hours: 5 lecture per week (60 total per quarter)
Prerequisite: Eligibility for college-level composition (ENGL 1A or 1AH or ESLL 26), as determined by college assessment or other appropriate method.
Advisory: Successful completion of college-level composition (ENGL 1A or 1AH or ESLL 26) or equivalent; not open to students with credit in ENGL 45BH, 48B or 48C.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area I: Humanities, Area VI: United States Cultures & Communities
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable


Introduces students to multicultural American literature from the end of the Civil War in 1865 to the present, focusing on the evolution of literary traditions, genres, cultural voices, and ecological landscapes within historical, philosophical, social, political, and aesthetic contexts. Special emphasis on the role of diverse writers in redefining the nature of American literature from the late 19th century through the 21st century.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of major writers, key texts, documents, and debates of American literature from 1865 to the present by analyzing the development of America's political and aesthetic culture as reflected in the major writers and texts of this period
  2. Identify major literary genres, and trace the development of literary forms during this period
  3. Apply relevant critical and theoretical frameworks to evaluate the literature within historical, multicultural, and philosophical contexts
  4. Analyze literary texts
  5. Appropriately document sources

Course Content

  1. Major writers and texts
    1. Development of experimental verse forms (e.g., Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman)
    2. Satire, dialect, and first-person narration (e.g., Mark Twain and Stephen Crane)
    3. Fictionalized portraits of vaqueros, cowboys, and the frontier by Latino and Anglo American authors
    4. Psychological realism in the fictions (e.g., Edith Wharton and Henry James)
    5. Studies of African American culture and politics (e.g.,  Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois)
    6. Native American autobiographies (e.g., Winnemucca Hopkins, Zitkála-Šá, and Standing Bear)
    7. Early Asian American fiction (e.g., Sui Sin Far and Onoto Watana)
    8. Portraits of Spanish California (e.g., Helen Hunt Jackson and María Amparo Ruiz de Burton)
    9. Modernist poetry and poetics (e.g., Pound, Eliot, Stevens, H.D., and Moore)
    10. Modernist fiction (e.g., Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Petry, Stein, Wright)
    11. Harlem Renaissance aesthetic and political texts (e.g., Cullen, Hurston, McKay, Hughes)
    12. The literature of social criticism (e.g., Sinclair, Dreiser, Hopkins, Gilman)
    13. Poetry and prose by Beat Generation (e.g., Ginsberg, Kerouac, Snyder)
    14. Native American fiction (e.g., Momaday, Erdrich, Silko)
    15. Asian American fiction and poetry (e.g., Bulosan, Hong Kingston, Chaeng-Rae Lee)
    16. Latino/a texts (e.g., Anzaldúa, Cisneros, Anaya)
    17. Postmodern texts (e.g., Vonnegut, Pynchon, Morrison)
  2. Literary genres and forms
    1. Satire
    2. "Free" and other experimental verse
    3. Drama
    4. Fiction
    5. Political manifestos
    6. Modernism
    7. Postmodernism
    8. Realism
    9. Naturalism
  3. Relevant critical and theoretical frameworks
    1. Analysis of the role of literary representations in fostering significant social movements, such as the civil rights movement, the women's rights movement, the gay rights movement, and the sexual revolution
    2. Historical perspectives, including dominant ethical, philosophical, political, religious, social, and aesthetic perspectives in the literature of this period
    3. Gender studies
    4. Queer theories; sexuality studies
    5. Psychological theories (Freudian, Jungian)
    6. Marxian and other socioeconomic frameworks
    7. Theories of race and ethnicity
    8. Postcolonial and neocolonial studies
  4. Formatting and documentation
    1. Modern Language Association (MLA)
    2. American Psychological Association (APA)

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

1. When taught on campus, no special facility or equipment needed.
2. When taught virtually, ongoing access to a computer with LMS-compatible software and internet browser.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Discussion participation
Journal entries
Literary analysis and critical thinking demonstrated in writing and/or other media
Presentations that employ literary, critical, and/or theoretical terminology
Individual and collaborative projects based on assigned texts or independent research
"Unessay" projects

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

Independent and collaborative reading/viewing/listening to assigned texts
Lecture presentations on the history and interpretation of assigned texts
Instructor-guided and collaborative interpretation and analysis
Presentations on inquiry projects focusing on key tools and skill sets in literary interpretation
Student-led discussions and presentations

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Levine, Robert S., editor. The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Shorter 9th ed., 1865 to Present. 2017.

The 10th edition of this text is forthcoming.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

  1. Reading selections from assigned anthology or primary sources of American literature
  2. Secondary sources such as readings, podcasts, and videos, designed to familiarize students with ongoing debates and perspectives in the study of American literature
  3. Performing close readings of literary passages that address historical and other contexts. Analysis of how a text reflects a particular literary movement, style, period, or an author's contributions to American literary culture
  4. Writing and research assignments may include journal entries, reading responses, annotated bibliographies, essays, and "unessay" projects that require summary, interpretation, analysis, and synthesis of original texts