Course title: American literature and culture 1: The Old South
Instructor: Prof. Douglas Ambrose (Fulbright Scholar)
ECTS credits: 6
Semester: 3th or 5th
Enrolment requirements: completed Introduction to English Literature
Tell about the South. What’s it like there. What do they do there. Why do they live there. Why do they live at all.
William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!
In this course we will “tell about the South.” We will focus on the development and consolidation of the slave society and culture of the Old South and its relation to northern society and culture. Through selected readings, lectures, and discussions, we will explore how the South developed a distinctive social order that found itself by the 1850s locked in a life and death struggle with the North. What were the historical origins of this powerful, complex, and changing regional society? What role did slavery play in southern social, cultural, economic, and political life? How did a society of different and often antagonistic races and classes maintain stability and order down to the War for Southern Independence? How did Africans and African Americans accommodate to and resist their enslavement? How did white and black southerners perceive and relate to each other? What characterized elite and non-elite white culture? How did southern literary expression—novels, poetry, scholarship, religious literature—both participate in a broad “American” culture and reflect a distinct “Southern” cultural movement? By addressing these questions, and others, we will gain a better understanding of how this region and its people affected the course of American history and culture.
Although primarily a lecture course, I encourage questions and comments at all times. On certain occasions, we will conduct class entirely as a discussion-based seminar. Students should always complete all readings for the week before the Wednesday meeting so that they can offer informed and thoughtful contributions to class discussions.
You will have two written assignments, each of approximately 1000-1250 words. There will also be a final examination.
I will evaluate your performance based on your attendance, participation, and performance on the papers and the exam.
Nearly all of the materials for the course will be either on the class’s Omega site or available online. Students should obtain a hard copy of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin.