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Course Information

Instructor Info:Michele Hardesty
Office Extension x5490
Term: 2014S
Meeting Info: Tuesday Thursday
12:30 PM - 01:50 PM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 105
12:30 PM - 01:50 PM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 105

This course explores a broad range of United States literatures from the post-World War II period to the present. We will traverse a range of literary forms (prose, poetry, essay, drama, comics), trends (e.g., postmodernism, Black Arts), and periods (e.g., the Cold War, the Vietnam era, the post-9/11 period).

Course Objectives:

The goals of the course are

  • to familiarize students with both canonical and counter-canonical U.S. literary figures, trends, genres, and texts from 1945-present;
  • to practice skills of close reading and contextualized analysis;
  • to create a reading community that focuses on discussing critically and writing socially; and
  • to extend what we read in the course into possible future reading, writing, and research projects.
Evaluation Criteria:

The short version: receiving an evaluation in this course requires, at the bare minimum, 1) active participation and no more than 4 absences; 2) regular weekly discussion forum participation, including a longer mid-term post; 3) the completion of a summer/fall reading project plan; and 4) a midterm and final eval, posted to The Hub. I will not write evaluations for students who do not meet these requirements.

Now the long version. Please read these criteria carefully now, and refer to them throughout the semester.

Participation, Preparation, and Attendance: Much of our discussion will be fueled by your questions and observations about the readings. For this course to function successfully, then, it will be crucial for you to keep up with readings and to attend class regularly. More than two absences will be noted unhappily in your evaluation. If you miss more than four class meetings (with exceptions made for truly extraordinary circumstances) you will not receive an evaluation for the course. I suggest you save your absences for illness, religious observance, and family emergencies. Three tardy arrivals (more than 5 minutes late) will count as an absence. If you know you are going to miss a class, get in touch with me as soon as possible. If you have already missed a class, it is your responsibility to find out what you missed. Please note: You should expect to spent approximately 6-8 hours each week on activities outside of class: readings, screenings, notetaking, and writing.

Reading: Plan to bring your copy of the Heath Anthology to class every Tuesday and Thursday.

Electronic Devices: While you may use devices for readings, notetaking, and for completing in-class assignments, you may not use class time for social networking, email, messaging, or non-class-related browsing. The first time I find you engaged in such activities, I will give you a warning; the second time I will ask you to leave class and will mark you absent. Also, unless it is part of an assigned task, please resist the urge to look up things mentioned in class online; keep a list and look them up after class. Phones: turn your phone to silent (NOT to vibrate) and put it away before you arrive in class.

Online discussion forums: Every week you will either start a discussion thread or be a principle responder to one; each post should be 500 words, approximately, in length, excluding long quotes. Initial discussion posts (what some profs have called the "serve," using tennis lingo) are due Thursdays at 11pm. Responses ("return," in the tennis lingo) are due by Monday at 11pm. Those who respond one week will initiate a new discussion the following week. These threads should be conversational but proofread, and they should make specific reference to one or more of the readings from the week. I will evaluate posts not only by how closely they pay attention to the text, but also by how they help start a discussion and keep it going. This means that I encourage the discussions to keep going after the initial "serve" and "return," taking the conversation deeper or in different directions. This also means that responses should not include phrases like "great post!" "I totally agree!" but should also strive to keep the conversation going by offering fresh insights, substantive disagreements, provocative counterexamples, etc.. I will be giving you ideas for how to approach these posts periodically throughout the semester. At midterm, there will be a longer, synthetic post due of approximately 1500 words. Excessive missed posts are grounds for a No Evaluation.

Self-Evaluations: You will write a midterm and a final self-evaluation of your work in the course. These self-evals should be posted to The Hub, unless you are a 5 College student, in which case they can be emailed to me. In general, I ask that your self-evals answer these questions: What were your goals/priorities for yourself coming into this course, and how do they relate to your larger educational goals? How have you worked toward these goals? In what ways have you struggled to make progress, and why? In what ways have your goals for yourself changed or transformed over the course of the class?
A NOTE ON INCOMPLETES: It is my policy NOT to offer students "incompletes" at the end of the semester, except in the case of extraordinary circumstances beyond a student's control. All work for this course must be completed by May 1. Under no conditions am I obligated to negotiate an incomplete with a student. In those very rare cases when a student with a solid record of progress cannot meet the final deadline due to sudden hospitalization, severe illness, or a family emergency, I may decide to negotiate a new deadline with the student. In accordance with Hampshire policy, I will record the negotiated deadline by the Course Completion Deadline (May 9), at which time I will give the student an INC ("incomplete"). That new deadline cannot exceed the first day of the Fall semester. I have one month from that new deadline to evaluate and record the student's submitted work. If a student does not meet the new deadline, the INC will automatically convert to a NO EVAL.

Additional Info:


Required: The Heath Anthology of American Literature, 7th edition, Vol. E (1945-present.) Edited by Paul Lauter, et al. Wadsworth/Cengage Learning, 2014.

The Heath is a revisionist anthology that counters the traditional American literary canon by emphasizing multicultural inclusivity and historical contexts.This anthology is our core textbook for the semester, and it is crucial that you get the 7th edition. Other editions have a different set of texts and will not work for this course.

Recommended: Hacker, Diana and Nancy Sommers. A Writer's Reference. 7th ed. New York: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2011.

Note: I have ordered a few copies of this very useful book. This is a reference book with information on word usage, standard English grammar/mechanics, and scholarly citation in Chicago, MLA, and APA styles. It is a useful book to have throughout your college career, and I want to make sure you know about it. You can find used copies online, and there is a copy in the Reference section of our library:



Writing Center: I encourage you to take advantage of the faculty in the Writing Center (Deb Gorlin: or x5531; Ellie Siegel,, Will Ryan,, offices located in Greenwich) for help with writing and revising your essays.

Library: I urge you to meet with and send research questions to Cultural Studies and Humanities librarian Bonnie Vigeland (x5649;, Arts librarian Rachel Beckwith (x5443;, and/or Digital Pedgogy and CSI librarian Alana Kumbier ( For general help with assignments and research, stop by the PARC (Peer Academic Resource Center) or Infobar at the circulation desk in the library Mon-Wed 2-8pm, Thurs 12-8pm, or Fri 12-6pm, or email them at

Disability Services: If you have a disability that might affect your ability to meet the expectations of this course, please contact Joel Dansky, Disabilities Services Coordinator, at x5423 or, or stop by his office at CASA. Registering with Disability Services allows me to make specific accommodations for you in class; without registration, I cannot make accommodations.

Academic Honesty: Here is the official statement from taskforce on plagiarism at Hampshire: "All Hampshire College students and faculty, whether at Hampshire or at other institutions, are bound by the ethics of academic integrity. [The entire description and college policy can be found in Non Satis Non Scire ( under Academic Policies/Ethics of Scholarship.] Plagiarism is the representation of someone else’s work as one’s own. Both deliberate and inadvertent misrepresentations of another’s work as your own are considered plagiarism and are serious breaches of academic honesty and integrity. All sources used or consulted in the process of writing papers and examinations, or preparing oral presentations, course assignments, artistic productions, and so on, must be cited. Sources include material from books, journals, or any other printed source; the work of other students, faculty, or staff; information from the Internet; software programs and other electronic material; designs and ideas.

"All cases of suspected plagiarism or academic dishonesty will be referred to the Dean of Advising who will review documentation and meet with student and faculty member. Individual faculty, in consultation with the Dean of Advising, will decide the most appropriate consequence in the context of the class. This can range from revising and resubmitting an assignment to failing the course. Beyond the consequence in the course, CASA considers first offenses as opportunities for education and official warning. Multiple or egregious offenses will have more serious consequences. Suspected instances of other breaches of the ethics of academic integrity, such as the falsification of data, will be treated with the same seriousness as plagiarism and will follow the same process."