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BirthTouch: Questions and Concerns

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sl geek academmy1
sl geek academmy1

Asia Education Foundation Resources Primary English Literary Texts


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Studying fundamental texts is, by itself, not enough. Even to understand the texts themselves, supporting studies and training are necessary: a solid foundation in at least one foreign language and in disciplines and subject matters pertinent to the main questions of students are essential parts of the major. Students benefit from knowledge of the historical contexts out of which certain problems emerged or in which authors wrote; knowledge of specific subject matters and methods; knowledge of the language in which a text was originally written, as well as an understanding of the shape a given language imparts to a given author; fundamental skills of analysis, gathering evidence, reasoning, and criticism; different approaches and perspectives of conventional disciplines. All these are integral parts of the educational task.


Spiraled mini-lessons integrate new and previously learned skills using topic-based unit texts and resources. Language foundations are reinforced through explicit phonics and word study instruction that is linked to authentic reading and writing practice, with reading and writing independence achieved through gradual release of responsibility from whole-group to small-group/independent time.


Fred Lewis Pattee's career at Penn State marks the beginning of a heyday for the study of American literature. By the 1930s, prominent American critic Granville Hicks hailed what he dubbed "the great tradition of American literature" as a series of key themes in American writing, including folk traditions, politics, business, labor, social critique, fugitives, and flight. Since Hicks's time, literary scholars have contested the very notion of any "great tradition," because so many different authors have always participated in the American literary scene. This course examines American literature by looking at the dynamic and varied literary productions that, across time, have comprised the American literary canon, even as it calls into question the notion of whether America ever had a single literary canon, whether historically or in the present day. Students will learn how access to educational institutions, to writing equipment, and to printed and graphic materials all influenced who might become an author, and who, a reader. They will also learn how changing political and cultural institutions influenced writers' literary production and literary achievements. With text selection at the instructors' discretion, students will study poetry, fiction, non-fiction, oratory, and drama, and they will examine many of the most enduring themes in American literature: religion; moral and ethical ideals; the lure of mobility, especially upward mobility (or absence of it); gender dynamics; enslavement, abolitionism, and emancipation; race and ethnicity; the lure (and social complications) of the American West; American pragmatism; love and loss; hope and despair. Students will be asked to take up such questions as the following: Who has had a voice in American literary history Why are some writers more frequently studied than others Who determined what should be considered "great" literature inside the academy In what ways does the study of American literary history uphold American values of freedom and freedom of expression Who had access to publication, when, and under what circumstances How does the publishing marketplace influence readers' choices regarding "great" American literature How do educational institutions influence readers' choices The course aims to provide a foundation for further study of American literature by equipping students with an understanding of the American literary past and its complex relationship to American culture and to American educational, political, and marketing institutions. Instructors might examine one or two key themes in the tradition, or they might ask students to learn about sweeping literary movements across time.


This course will provide an introduction to Jewish American l




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