Ethnic Literature in America Texts

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ENGL 385.001, MWF 1:00-1:50 Dr. John D. Kalb

FH 149 Office: 350 Holloway Hall

Fall 2012 phone: 410-543-6049

Office Hours: MWF 11:00-12:50 & by appt. email:

Ethnic Literature in America

Texts: James Welch, Fools Crow

Susan Power, The Grass Dancer

Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Toni Morrison, Beloved

Gene Luen Yang, American Born Chinese

Chang-Rae Lee, Native Speaker

Junot Diaz, Drown

Ana Castillo, The Guardians

Randa Jarrar, A Map of Home

One additional novel or short story collection selected from a list of texts
Course Objectives: The objectives of the course are

1) to acquaint students with a sampling of fiction and memoir from Native American, African American, Asian American, Latino/Latina and Arab-American authors;

2) to help students read literature actively and critically;

3) to familiarize students with the vocabulary and critical tools required in order to discuss and write about literature successfully;

4) to help students improve their writing skills and ability to utilize primary and secondary source materials in their essays;

5) to acquaint students with some of the historical and cultural contexts in which these works were generated; and

6) to help students relate literature, whenever possible, to their daily lives and to the world they live in.
Course Requirements: You will need to read all assignments before coming to class and come to class prepared to discuss them. For each day’s reading, you will write a one page analytical response. You must bring the text we are reading and discussing and your written response to class each day. You will also take 17 quizzes, read an additional text, write three essays, take two tests and a final examination, and participate in class discussions.
Grading: Class Preparation (Analytical Response Avg.) 100 points possible

Class Participation 100 points possible

15 Quizzes @ 10 points possible each 150 total points possible

Character Analysis Essay 100 points possible

Problem, Issue, Dilemma Essay 100 points possible

Comparative Analysis Essay 100 points possible

2 Tests @ 100 points each 200 total points possible

Final Examination 150 points possible

900-1000 points = A; 800-899 points = B; 700-799 points = C; 600-699 points = D
Please note: Failure to complete any of the course requirements may mean failing the course. None of these requirements is optional.
Class Preparation/Participation: The best ways in which to illustrate that you are an active, engaged, and interested student are by 1) reading all assignments before coming to class, 2) preparing your required one page analytical response, and 3) contributing regularly to class discussions.
Analytical Responses: For each assigned reading, you need to prepare a one page (minimum and maximum) analytical response. "One page" means one double-spaced typed page, with inch margins, written in a 12 pt. font–or the equivalent if handwritten. The crucial question each response should answer in a focused and thoughtful way is "What is the most significant aspect of this reading?" Please do not write plot summaries or emotional reactions. A separate handout explains this requirement in more detail.

When we meet to discuss the readings, I will frequently call on students at random to share with the rest of the class what they have identified as significant in their responses as a means of beginning our class discussion. Quite often, I will collect, respond to, and grade these responses, but whether I collect them or not, these writings are part of your class preparation. Everyone is expected to prepare the responses for each assigned reading.

Quizzes: You can expect a brief quiz on the date each portion of a text is first due to be read. There will be quizzes on 17 of those dates. You need only take 15 quizzes. If you take all 17 quizzes, we will drop your lowest 2 quiz grades. Quizzes will consist of questions which should be easily answerable by anyone who has read the assignment carefully. If you wish to take a quiz, you must arrive on time. There will be no make-up quizzes. If you do not attend class on the day of a quiz or arrive too late to take a quiz, you forfeit those 10 possible points.
Tests and Final Exam: All three examinations will be partially objective and partially essay in nature. You will have some choice among the essay questions. Except in extreme circumstances, there will be no make-up tests.
Formal Essays & Additional Text: Due on Monday, October 8, the first essay (3-4 pages long) will analyze a secondary character from one of the first two novels of the course – Fools Crow or The Grass Dancer. You will receive a more detailed description of this assignment soon.

The second (3-4 page) essay, due on Friday, November 2, will entail some thoughtful, coherent analysis of the portrayal of a specific dilemma, problem, difficulty or issue facing African Americans or Asian Americans as depicted in Beloved, Native Speaker or American Born Chinese. A separate handout will explain this assignment in more detail.

For the third essay, each student will select (and obtain on his/her own) an additional novel or short story collection (from a list provided by the instructor during the second week of class), read that additional text, and write a comparative analysis of a specific shared commonality–a similar problem, issue, dilemma, or difficulty–found in the additional text and in one other text from the semester’s assigned works.

Students must finish their first reading of the additional text no later than Wednesday, November 7, and come to class on that day prepared to discuss (briefly) the text. Each student is encouraged to meet with me soon thereafter to discuss the additional text in more detail and to plan for this final essay, which is due on Wednesday, December 5. Later in the semester, I will offer more details and examples of paper topics for this assignment.

Late papers will be graded 10 points lower for each day they are late. In addition to submitting a “hard copy” of the essays by the due dates above, students are required to submit their essays to Turnitin through MyClasses.

The numerous writing activities--both informal and formal--indicate that the instructor is a firm supporter of writing as a means of learning and of SU's Writing Across the Curriculum policy.

Special Note: All students taking this course to fulfill their English/Secondary Education [or TESOL] requirement must begin a technology portfolio and must include at least one paper/project from this course in the portfolio.
Turnitin: Salisbury University contracts with Turnitin for plagiarism detection and deterrence in support of The Salisbury Promise and academic integrity policy. As a condition of participating in this course, all required formal papers will be subject to submission for textual similarity review and plagiarism detection through Turnitin (through MyClasses). All papers submitted to Turnitin will be included as source documents in the Turnitin reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism consistent with fair use principles under federal copyright law.

Plagiarism: The English Department takes plagiarism, the unacknowledged use of other people's ideas, very seriously indeed. As outlined in the Student Handbook under the "Policy on Student Academic Integrity," plagiarism may receive such penalties as failure on a paper or failure in the course. The English Department recognizes that plagiarism is a very serious offense and professors make their decisions regarding sanctions accordingly. Each of the following constitutes plagiarism:

1. Turning in as your own work a paper or part of a paper that anyone other than you wrote. This would include but is not limited to work taken from another student, from a published author, or from an Internet contributor.

2. Turning in a paper that includes unquoted and / or undocumented passages someone else wrote.

3. Including in a paper someone else's original words, ideas, opinions or research results without attribution.

4. Paraphrasing without attribution.

5. Turning in the same paper for credit in more than one class.

A few changes in wording do not make a passage your property. As a precaution, if you are in doubt, cite the source. Moreover, if you have gone to the trouble to investigate secondary sources, you should give yourself credit for having done so by citing those sources in your essay and by providing a list of Works Cited or Works Consulted at the conclusion of the essay. In any case, failure to provide proper attribution could result in a severe penalty and is never worth the risk.
Attendance: I expect to be here every day and hope you will do the same. You may miss three class meetings (for whatever reason) without direct penalty. For each day you are absent beyond those three “freebies,” you will lose 25 points per day. If you have a schedule conflict with this class, you should select a course that better fits your schedule. Remember that YOU are responsible for meeting deadlines and making up any missed work. There is no such a thing as an “excused absence.”

I will, of course, also expect you to arrive promptly for class and stay for the duration of each session. Three “lates” will constitute an absence (see the attendance policy above). Schedule your other activities around this course, not vice versa. In addition, students who come to class ill-prepared (i.e., without the text we’re discussing, having not read the assignment) may be asked to leave the classroom and invited to return another day on which they are better prepared.

Courtesy and Respect: I expect students to treat their fellow students and professor with courtesy and respect. Please abide by the following:

  1. Turn OFF and stow away your cell phones, pagers, iPods, and other electronic devices BEFORE entering the classroom.

  1. Take care of your dietary and eliminatory needs BEFORE entering the classroom.

  1. Should you absolutely need to arrive late or leave early for a class session, sit as near to the door as possible and avoid disrupting class by drawing attention to your entry or exit.

  1. Listen attentively to what your professor and fellow classmates contribute to our discussions.

  1. Raise your hand and wait to be acknowledged before you enter the discussion.

Office Hours: MWF 11:00-12:50 and by appointment. This time is set aside for you; please feel free to speak with me about any concerns or interests during these hours, after class or by appointment.

Assignment Calendar
Aug. 27: Introduction to course

29: Introduction continued; Basic Elements of Fiction

31: Basic Elements of Fiction ctd. and Analytical Response Guidelines
Sept. 3: No Class, Labor Day

5: Fools Crow (through page 125, to Part Two)

7: Fools Crow (through page 202, to Part Three)
10: Fools Crow (through page 284, to Part Four)

12: Fools Crow (to end)

14: Fools Crow
17: The Grass Dancer (through page 71, to Chapter 3)

19: The Grass Dancer (through page 156, to Chapter 6)

21: The Grass Dancer (through page 236, to Chapter 9)
24: The Grass Dancer (to end)

26: The Grass Dancer

28: Test #1
Oct. 1: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (through page 21, to Chapter VII)

3: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (to Chapter XI)

5: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (to end)
8: Beloved (through page 85, to “It was time to lay it all down.”)

Due: Character Analysis Essay

10: Beloved (through page 165, to Part Two)

12: Beloved (through page 235, to Part Three)
15: Beloved (to end & Foreword [if you have one])

17: Beloved

19: Native Speaker (through page 59)
22: Native Speaker (through page 130)

24: Native Speaker (through page 230)

26: Native Speaker (to end)
29: Native Speaker

31: American Born Chinese (through page 106)

Nov. 2: American Born Chinese (to end)

Due: Problem, Issue, Dilemma Essay
5: Test #2

7: Discussion of additional texts

You need to have your additional text read by this date and be prepared to speak

with us about it.

9: A Map of Home (through page 94, to chapter Six “Barefoot Bridge”)
12: A Map of Home (through page 197, to chapter Twelve “The Pride of Religion”)

14: A Map of Home (to end)

16: Drown (through page 65, to “Aguatando”)

19: Drown (through page 140, to “How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie”)

21: Thanksgiving break, no class

23: Thanksgiving break, no class

26: Drown (to end)

28: The Guardians (through page 53, to Chapter Three)

30: The Guardians (through page 133, to Chapter Seven)
Dec. 3: The Guardians (to end)

5: The Guardians

Due: Comparative Analysis Essay

7: Wrap Up

Final Exam, Tuesday, December 11, 1:30-4:00
This schedule of assignments is, of course, subject to change.
Statement from the Writing Center: At the University Writing Center (directly above the Fireside Lounge in the Guerrieri University Center), trained consultants are ready to help you at any stage of the writing process. It is often helpful for writers to share their work with an attentive reader, and consultations allow writers to test and refine their ideas before having to hand papers in or to release documents to the public. In addition to the important writing instruction that occurs in the classroom and during teachers’ office hours, the center offers another site for learning about writing. All students are encouraged to make use of this important service. For more information about the writing center’s hours and policies, visit the writing center or its website at

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