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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "EN 315 H"
COURSE NAME: "Selected Topics in American Literature: American Literature and Counter Culture since 1945 - HONORS (This course carries 4 semester hours of credits. A minimum CUM GPA of 3.5 is required)"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2018
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Lewis Samuel Klausner
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 3:00-4:15 PM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 3
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: EN 110 with a grade of C or above
OFFICE HOURS:

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
This is a reading and writing intensive course. Students in 300-level literature classes are required to produce 5-6,000 words of critical writing.This course explores in some depth a particular period, theme(s), or genre in American Literature. Students study the major historical and cultural contexts out of which the works grew. An important aim of the course is to deepen students' knowledge of a certain topic through a choice of representative writers and works.
May be taken more than once for credit with different topics. 
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:

This course covers two distinct yet deeply connected literary movements in post-war American literary culture, the Beats and the Counter-culture of the 1960s. Beat writers formed one of the earliest, and most publicly engaged, movements in American literary culture of the postwar period. They changed American popular culture by redefining the genres, platforms, and technologies of modern literary production, and by making literature the vehicle for an ethics of living that purported to subvert norms of race, gender, and class. Their cultural impact, starting in 1945, is felt strongly through the Counterculture on the 1960s, to the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.  We will look at their experimentation with literary forms and media (the open-form novel and poem, the modern poetry reading, the spoken word recording), their diverse identities as authors (working-class, female, non-white), and their role in a plurality of social movements (Free Speech, Second-Wave Feminism, Black Power). The course syllabus includes authors typically considered the preeminent Beat writers (Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs) as well as writers more typically considered 1960s countercultural figures (Joan Didion, Norman Mailer, John Barth, Bob Dylan). It also looks at women and minority writers whose work can be seen as part of the counter-cultural  movement (Sherman Alexie, James Baldwin, Walter Mosley, Octavia Butler, and Edward Abbey)

Besides reading important Beat and Counterculture authors, the course will examine social analysis of these movements, such as Theodore Roszak's study of  the concept of counterculture and alternative society, Marcuse's critique of mass culture, mass media, consumerism and technocratic society, statements by student protesters such as Abbey Hoffman and Todd Gitlinabout the  the students’ movement; and Debord's the Situationist ideas on revolution, art, the spectacle and everyday life. We will analyze the hippies and hippy communes; the role of folk and rock music; and the rise of rock stars such as the Beatles and Bob Dylan as icons of the counterculture.

 

LEARNING OUTCOMES:
Students will develop greater skill in reading the literary texts of the Beat and Countercultural literary movements, and also learn to write coherent, insightful analytical essays about them. They will learn about the political and social context that will help them place these works historically.
TEXTBOOK:
NONE
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
Paper one analysis of a Beat work 20
Paper two Analysis of a counter-culture text20
final paper a topic of the student's choosing20
midterm exam comprised of quotations from the texts 20
final examcomprised of quotations from texts20

-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

-ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:
ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS AND EXAMINATION POLICY

You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until ____________
ACADEMIC HONESTY
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.

SCHEDULE

This is a rough, preliminary schedule:

 

WEEK ONE:   THE bEATS 1945 THROUGHT THE  1950s  

GITLIN 1 -  77; Godfrey Hodgson, "The Ideology of the Liberal Consensus" (from America in Our Time, middle of 74 - top of 90 ( = 13);

Allen Ginsberg,“Howl” and “Footnote to Howl”;  you can listen to part of “Howl” at http://www.poetryarchive.org/poetryarchive/singlePoem.do?poemId=1550;

Allen Ginsberg, “America,” “Sunflower Sutra,” "A Supermarket in California"

 Jack Kerouac: from On the Road

WEEK TWO : BEATS CONTINUED

William Burroughs from Naked Lunch

Gary Snyder, poems

Kerouac, from Dharma Bums

 

 WEEK THREE:

THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT BLACK AND WHITE RADICALS

GITLIN 81 - 192;

 

James Baldwin, from The Fire Next Time

Ralph Ellison, from Invisible Man

Ira Chernus, “Martin Luther King, Jr.”; King, I Have A Dream;

The Port Huron Statement http://lists.village.virginia.edu/sixties/HTML_docs/Resources/Primary/Manifestos/SDS_Port_Huron.html

(the condensed version is “selections from The Port Huron Statement”) 

 

WEEK FOUR:  BOURGEOIS SOCIETY

Joan Didion, from The White Album

ROSZAK, The Making of a Counterculture, Preface, Chapters I and VII, Appendix ;

Robert Wuthnow, After Heaven, Chapter 2: "In the House of the Lord" (Norlin reserve or e-book: see http://ucblibraries.colorado.edu/how/ebooks.htm for instructions on accessing e-book )

WEEK FIVE; ALTERNATIVE REALITIES

John Barth, from Lost in the Funhouse

WATTS,  The Book,  Chapters 1 - 3; WATTS, Wisdom of Insecurity,  Chapters I - IV;

Alan Watts, Psychedelics and Religious Experience” (The California Law Review, January, 1968)

 

WEEK SIX: AGAINST TECHNOLOGY:

Norman Mailer, from Of a Fire on the Moon

Thomas Pynchon, from Slow Learner and Crying of Lot 49

WATTS, The Book, Chapters 4 - 6;  WATTS, Wisdom of Insecurity,  Chapters V - IX; ROSZAK, The Making of a Counterculture, Chapters II and IV

 

WEEK SEVEN THE ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT:

Vonnegut from Slaughterhouse Five

Mailer, from Armies of the Night

Ira Chernus, “

Mar. 19:  Woodstock  (We will watch the film on Tuesday, March 18, 6 - 10 PM, place to be announced.)

ROSZAK, The Making of a Counterculture Chapter III;

Robert Wuthnow, After Heaven, Chapter 3, "The New Spiritual Freedom"

Chernus, "Religion as a Cultural System: The Theory of Clifford Geertz"; Clifford Geertz, "Religion as a Cultural System"

 

 WEEK EIGHT: ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT CONTINUED

Dispatches

The Things They Carried

 

Week Nine: the Folk Music Revolution

 

Bob Dylan (read and listen):

“Gates of Eden” http://www.bobdylan.com/songs/gates.html, 

“Ballad of a Thin Man” http://bobdylan.com/songs/thinman.html,

“Subterranean Homesick Blues” http://bobdylan.com/songs/subterranean.html, 

“It’s Alright Ma” http://www.bobdylan.com/songs/itsalright.html,

“Like a Rolling Stone” http://bobdylan.com/songs/rolling.html, 

“Visions of Johanna” http://bobdylan.com/songs/visions.html

 

WEEK NINE: NATIVE AMERICAN VOICES

Sherman Alexie

Louise Erdritch

 WEEK TEN : A Women’s Poetry

Plath, Sexton, Rich

 WEEK ELEVEN: BLACK GENRE FICTION

Walter Mosley, Octavia Butler

WEEK TWELVE: ENVIRONMENTAL OUTLAW

Edward Abbey