This course’s primary objective is to enable students to conduct independent and substantive research in literary studies. The vehicle to meet these goals will be the traditional canon of American literature. Reading, considering, and evaluating recent scholarship on a selection of canonical American literary texts will demonstrate how different theoretical frames and methodological approaches reveal textual content and meaning in unexpected ways. Such practices reconstitute our sense of even the most familiar texts. We will study this scholarship–in areas such as ecocriticism, sexuality studies, regionalism, cultural studies, postcolonialism–as a means to apprehend, appreciate, define, and ultimately model literary research. We will also consider and model various methods of analyzing literary texts: interdisciplinary, biographical, comparative and material. Moreover, we will focus intently on fundamental information gathering skills: finding, evaluating, and synthesizing both secondary and primary sources. Therefore, the course will entail formal sessions in library training and archival research. Students will conduct a major independent research project of their choice over the course of the semester. Authors may include Dickinson, Rowlandson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, and Melville.
Open to juniors and seniors. Limited to 15 students. Spring semester. Professor Hayashi.