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Faculty Course Description

ENG432WI: Studies in Southern Literature
Dr. James Watkins
Associate Professor
Office: Evans 217
Office phone: 233-4072
e-mail: jwatkins@berry.edu

One of the many paradoxes concerning the American South is that the most economically deprived and poorly educated section of the country is also the region with the most distinctive and imaginatively rich literary tradition. Our readings, discussions, and written work will address this and many other paradoxes as we seek collectively to arrive at a more complex and comprehensive understanding of the social, historical, and personal factors that contributed to each of the assigned writers' attempts to "tell about the South." Beginning with the fiction and slave narratives of the antebellum era and working our way up to contemporary poetry, fiction, and autobiography, we will use an interdisciplinary approach to explore the culture of the American South. Although no previous study of the South or its literature is required, students will be given the opportunity to draw upon and share whatever interests they may have in southern history, geography, sociology, folklore, music, art, architecture, film, or cuisine.

In addition to keeping up with the assigned readings and contributing in a thoughtful manner to the class discussions, students will be required to write a term paper (10-12 pages) and 5 short reaction papers (1-2 pages, graded primarily on content rather than form). Each student will also give an oral presentation on a particular topic in southern history or culture related to our readings. I will provide a list of topics from which to choose for this project.

TEXTS:
William L. Andrews, ed. Literature of the American South: A Norton Anthology
William Faulkner Absalom, Absalom!
Flannery O'Connor A Good Man is Hard to Find

GRADING COMPONENTS:
Quizzes (to encourage and reward care and diligence in reading) 10%
Class Participation 10%
Five informal reaction papers on the assigned readings 15%
Class Presentation 15%
Term Paper 25%
Final Exam 25%

Prerequisite: One 200-level literature course.

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