AMST 299
Let the Record Show: U.S, Literature of Research and Witness Fall 2023
Division II Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed ENGL 299

Class Details

This is a course on the literature of research and witness in the U.S., from 1853 to the present. We will train our attention on works of long form journalism that stand at the intersection of reportage, archival history, documentary nonfiction, narrative and activism. The writers we study present quantitative and qualitative data that document the existence and effects of systemic racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia and uneven economic development. How have American writers defied disciplinary boundaries to speak truth to power? What critical reading skills are mobilized by books of sweeping scope and unflinching detail? The course will be taught in reverse chronological order. Readings include: Sarah Schulman, Let the Record Show; Layli Long Soldier, Whereas; Nicholas Lemann, The Promised Land; Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Dictee; James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men; Tillie Olsen, Yonnondio; Ida B. Wells, A Red Record; and Harriet Beecher Stowe, Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1554
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Evaluation will be based on class participation, writing and discussion. According to the tutorial format, you will be assigned a semester-long partner. You will be expected to write a critical paper every other week, alternating with the critical response to your partner's work.
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: This is a tutorial for sophomores. Priority will be given to potential American Studies majors, especially those who have taken AMST101; potential English majors will be considered as space is available.
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
AMST 299 Division II ENGL 299 Division I
WS Notes: As per traditional tutorial format, this course will be writing intensive. Every week, one student will write a 5-page paper responding to the readings of the week; the other student will craft a response (a combination of written notes and critical conversation). The total amount of writing for each student will thus be upwards of 30 pages. there will be considerable attention given to argument, use of evidence, etc. The option to revise a paper will always be available.
DPE Notes: This course shares the core mission of the DPE initiative: to teach students how to "analyze the shaping of social differences, dynamics of unequal power, and processes of change." The course is built around U.S. texts that speak truth to power. Researching and exposing the quantitative and qualitative data that prove the existence and effects of systemic racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia and uneven economic development, the writers we will study merge research, writing and activism.
Attributes: AMST Arts in Context Electives

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