American Regionalism and Regional Writing
(an online course)*
Dr. Barbara C. Ewell
Loyola University New Orleans
Photo credits: Bob Bednar, Southwestern University Georgetown, Texas
As William Kennedy suggests, the sense of place is an essential element of fiction, one that has played a particularly visible role in the fiction of the United States. Perhaps our obsession with place is related to the rootlessness that has characterized our history, first as immigrants from Europe, Africa, and elsewhere, in pursuit of an ever-retreating frontier, and eventually as the restless inhabitants of modern cities, infatuated with automobiles and motion and speed.
This course will trace several defining moments of the North American sense of place: from its nineteenth-century expressions in local color, through the mid-twentieth-century fascination with regionalism, to our contemporary interest in cultural diversity. Our goal will be to assess the role of place in these North American fictions and to question the continuity and significance of regionalism as a defining element of our cultural and literary heritage.
To those ends,
we will read a number of short stories, novels, and essays,
relying on careful reading and active discussion to clarify the
texts and their contexts. Requirements will include reading and
reflection on the texts, participation in weekly discussion forums
on Blackboard, and the completion of a multi-part writing project
on a specific regional writer, and a final (optionally
collaborative) re-mix reflection.
*An online course is conducted through the internet (Blackboard) and has regular weekly deadlines (that is, this is not a self-paced course). To be successful, online courses require that students have some degree of self-discipline, especially in the compressed version of summer school. Please contact me if you have any questions about your readiness for an online course.
Alexie,Sherman The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.
New York: Grove Atlantic, 2005. ISBN-13: 978-0802141675
Publisher: Grove Press; 20th Anniversary Edition edition (October 8, 2013) $16.00
Anaya,Rudolpho. Bless Me, Ultima. New York: Warner Books, 1999. ISBN-10: 0446600253 ($8.00)
John G.Niehardt, Philip J. DeLori, Black Elk Speaks: The Complete Edition, Publisher: Bison Books; Reprint edition (March 1, 2014) ISBN-10: 0803283911 $19.95
Franklin, Tom. Poachers. New York: Harper Collins, 1999. ISBN-13: 978-0688177713 Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 30, 2000) ISBN-10: 0688177719 ($12.99)
Hawthorne, Nathanial. The Scarlet Letter. NewYork: Signet Classics,2009. ISBN-13:978-0451531353 ($3.95)
Jewett,Sarah Orne. The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories. New York: Signet Classics ISBN-13: 978-0451531445 ($6.95) Publisher: Signet Classics. (November 3, 2009) ISBN-10: 0451531442
Southern Local Color Stories of Region, Race, and Gender. Eds. Barbara C. Ewell and Pamela Glenn Menke. Athens: U Georgia P, 2002. ISBN-13: 978-0820323176 ($24.00)
Wharton, Edith.Ethan Frome. New York: Signet Classics, 2000. ISBN-13: 978-0451527660 ($2.95) Publisher: Dover Publications; Reprint edition (January 1, 1991) ISBN-10: 0486266907
Additional texts will be provided online.
If you're trying to cut costs, many texts
are also available secondhand through other commercial
booksellers. Please do
not purchase books until this list is confirmed--unless,
of course, you want to read them.
Weekly Comments (35-40%)
The heart of this course (apart from reading the texts themselves) will be our electronic "discussions": asking and answering each other's questions and sharing our responses. These discussions will be conducted on the "Discussion Board" of Blackboard.com. Students will be expected to post a substantive comment (150-300 words) in response to the text and my introductory remarks by Monday midnight. By the next Thursday, everyone in the class will have commented on or reacted to the responses of least two other people (100-150 words each).
participation in these weekly discussions, including the timely
submission of comments and responses, will be graded contractually
(all assignments = A; fewer = B, etc.) and will constitute your
You will be
responsible for timely and regular contributions to the discussion
group every week. If any lateness or irregularity persists in your
submissions, you will be asked to drop the course or receive a
Writing Assignments (35-40%)
The formal writing in this course will be a series of assignments based on the contexts of and works by American regional writers, both those covered in the course and from a supplementary list. These assignments will be due throughout the semester and involve various degrees of research.
A final reflection, constructed alone or in groups, on the themes and writers of the course. More details will be provided as appropriate.
IF YOU DECIDE TO REGISTER FOR THIS COURSE,
BE SURE THAT YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS IS ACCURATE IN LORA and
on BLACKBOARD; IF IT ISN'T, YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE IMPORTANT
INFORMATION ABOUT THE COURSE.