Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2022
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, 1AH, 1S & 1T, or ESLL 26) or equivalent; not open to students with credit in ENGL 45B, 48B or 48C.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area VI: United States Cultures & Communities, Area I: Humanities
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade Only
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • A successful student will be able to read literary texts of various genres and literary movements and subsequently actively and critically assess those works within 19th to 21st century contexts for denotative and connotative meaning, structure and development, and connections between literal and figurative detail.
  • Students can select an appropriate literary-critical vocabulary and concept (from a variety of possible approaches) and apply the vocabulary/concept to the interpretation of an assigned piece of historical fiction.


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 nineteenth century through the 21st century, and thereby reshaping American national identity as the United States becomes a global superpower. Specific to this honors course: A higher level of sophisticated scholarship through extensive research and literature review, critical essays, and opportunities for scholarly presentation, student-generated discussions, and self-directed projects. Rigorous application and analysis of theoretical paradigms as applied across these contexts in analysis of canonical literary texts.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. demonstrate knowledge of major writers, key texts, documents, and debates of American literature from 1865 to the present by analyzing the development of a distinctive national political and aesthetic culture as reflected in the major writers and texts of this period.
B. identify major literary genres, and trace the emergence and development of literary forms during this period.
C. apply relevant critical and theoretical frameworks to evaluate the literature within historical, multicultural, and philosophical contexts.
D. orally demonstrate and demonstrate in college-level writing extended, sophisticated analytical understanding of the literary texts via a range of theoretical paradigms.
E. demonstrate appropriate formatting and documentation.

Course Content

A. Major writers and canonical texts
1. Development of experimental verse forms by poets, such as Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman
2. Use of satire, dialect, and first-person narration by authors, such as Mark Twain and Stephen Crane
3. Fictionalized portraits of vaqueros, cowboys, and frontiersmen by Latino and Anglo American authors
4. Psychological realism in the fictions of authors, such as Edith Wharton and Henry James
5. Studies of African American culture and politics by authors, such as Washington and Dubois
6. Native American autobiographies by authors, such as Winnemucca Hopkins, Zitkala Sa, and Standing Bear
7. Early Asian American fiction by authors, such as Sui Sin Far and Onoto Watana
8. Portraits of Spanish California by authors, such as Helen Hunt Jackson and Joaquin Miller
9. Modernist poetry and poetics by authors, such as Pound, Eliot, Stevens, H.D., and Moore
10. Modernist fiction by authors, such as Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, and Stein
11. Harlem Renaissance aesthetic and political texts by authors, such as Cullen, Hurston, McKay, and Hughes
12. The literature of social criticism as practiced by authors, such as Dreiser, Sinclair, and Steinbeck
13. Poetry and prose by Beat Generation authors, such as Ginsberg, Kerouac, and Snyder
14. Native American texts by authors, such as Momaday, Erdrich, Silko, and Alexie
15. Asian American fiction and poetry by authors, such as Bulosan, Hong Kingston, and Chaeng-Rae Lee
16. Latino/a texts by authors, such as Anzaldua, Cisneros, and Anaya
17. Postmodern texts by authors, such as Vonnegut, Pynchon, and Morrison
B. 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
C. 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
D. Oral and written analytical understanding of the literary texts
1. Class discussion regarding analytical reading of literary texts
2. Composition of literary analysis essays on literary texts
3. Research to supplement understanding of the literary texts
E. Formatting and documentation
1. Modern Language Association (MLA)
2. American Psychological Association (APA)

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

A. When taught on campus, no special facility or equipment needed.
B. When taught via Foothill Global Access, ongoing access to computer with email and basic software capabilities.

Method(s) of Evaluation

A. Examinations as determined by instructor
B. Composition of at least two formal literary analysis essays of at least 1500 words each; these essays must be theory-based and research-based in nature
C. Informal assignments as determined by instructor
D. Class discussion
E. Formal presentations (at instructor's discretion)

Method(s) of Instruction

A. Lecture presentations on the history and interpretation of the assigned texts
B. In-class discussion of the assigned texts, including instructor-guided interpretation and analysis
C. Group presentations on inquiry projects focusing on key tools and skill sets in literary interpretation

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Baym, Nina, ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. 8th ed. Volumes C, D, and E. Champaign, IL: Norton, 2011.
Lauter, Paul, ed. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. 6th ed. Volumes C, D, and E. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2009.
Levine, Robert S., ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Shorter 9th ed. W.W. Norton & Company, 2017.

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

A. Reading from representative literary texts as assigned by instructor
B. Quizzes on reading comprehension of assigned literary texts
C. Analytical and reader response journal assignments on readings
D. Composition of extended, theory-based, research-based literary analysis