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Cal State L.A.



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Prof. Jim Garrett
Office: E & T A608
Office Hours: TBA
Phone: (323) 343-4163

Course Description

Prerequisites: ENGL 501 and ENGL 502.

Description: Research into nationalism has focused primarily on the emergence of twentieth-century nation-states out of the wreckage of nineteenth-century European colonialism. Central to much thinking on nations is Benedict Anderson’s identification of nations as “imagined communities,” not always co-equal with the physical geography of the modern nation. While Anderson is primarily concerned with how the colonial state imagines the “other,” the institutions of power he identifies were first used not on the peripheries of empire but at its center. The first object of national self-definition was not “them,” but “us,” the citizens, land, culture, and history of the British “nation.”

In this course we will read theorists and historians on the nation, nationalism, and national identity, and focus our examination on texts produced in the last few decades of the eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth-century. The reading will draw on a variety of genres and will focus on works by Wordsworth, Coleridge, Scott, Barbauld, Austen, Cowley, Inchbald, and Dickens. Requirements of the course include a seminar presentation, short weekly response papers, class participation, and a seminar paper.


Upon completion of ENGL 560, students will be able to

The ultimate objective, though, is that each of us will consider the acts of reading and writing as ways of making the world, of making it cohere or come apart, of inscribing it with purpose and meaning.

Course Requirements: Listed below are the required assignments for this course:

Seminar Presentation (15% of your grade): A seminar presentation is a 15-20 minute presentation to the rest of the class about an assigned reading. For the presentation, plan to go beyond regular class preparation, at the very least, providing background about your topic, a generous overview, and a discussion of its relation to other readings for that week (or read earlier). You should also be prepared to answer questions and help lead class discussion for that topic. You should prepare a handout for the class; however, do not simply read from your prepared handout or paper.

Seminar Paper (50% of your grade): (approximately 15+ pages in length) (proposal, annotated bibliography and final draft constitute 50% of course grade)

Weekly Response Papers (30% of your grade): Each response paper is a 1-2 page response to the readings assigned for the week. Use the keyword associated with the week’s reading to focus your attention on one or more of the readings. You must complete six weekly responses.

Participation (5%): I expect full participation from all members of the class. Absences or failure to prepare are unacceptable. You will be graded on the following scale

5 points for being fully prepared and offering frequent and insightful comments in class

4 points for being well prepared and participating in discussion several times/class

3 points for being somewhat or superficially prepared and participating in discussion occasionally (once or twice/class)

0-2 points for absences, failure to participate significantly in class discussion

In order to pass this course all assignments (papers and exams) must be legitimately attempted.  Plagiarism (see description below) does NOT constitute a legitimate attempt of the assignment.

Textbooks: Most of the novels we will be reading in this class are available in many different editions. I have ordered the following tests for this class and I recommend that you acquire these editions, if possible, as it will facilitate our class discussions.

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities. New York : Verso, 2006. (978-1844670864)

Austen, Jane. Mansfield Park . New York : Oxford , 2008. (978-0199535538)

Barbauld, Anna Laetitia. Selected Poetry and Prose. Peterborough : Broadview, 2001. (978-1551112411)

Colley, Linda. Britons: Forging a Nation, 1707-1837. 3rd Ed. New Haven , Conn : Yale University Press, 2009. (978-0300152807)

Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. Oxford : Oxford UP, 2008. (978-0199536238)

Wordsworth, William. The Major Works. Oxford , Oxford UP, 2008. (978-0199536863)


ADA Accommodation: Reasonable accommodation will be provided to any student who is registered with the Office of Students with Disabilities and requests needed accommodation.

Grading Policy: The distribution of points for the individual assignments in this course is listed in “Requirements” above. Course grades are based on standard percentages (i.e. A = 90%-100%, B = 80%-89% and so on). Plus and minus grades are used in the class.

Electronic Devices: Please be respectful of the classroom experience of others. Every quarter I receive earnest complaints from students about the distracting behavior of other students using electronic devices. Unless the use of such devices is approved by the Office of Students with Disabilities, please do not use electronic devices during class.

Contacting Me: I am available in my office during my posted office hours and, schedule allowing, by appointment. Email is also an effective way of contacting me.

Attendance: Attendance is mandatory. I will take attendance at the start of every class. If you are not present I will mark you absent. Arriving late will count as half of an absence. You are allowed one absence without penalty. Each absence beyond the first one will reduce your course grade. If you miss more than four classes you will be disqualified from taking the final and therefore will fail the class.

Preparing for Class: Please read the assigned texts before class. Often I will offer some guidelines about future reading assignments in class. For example, I might tell you to focus on a particular text for the next class meeting. If you are absent, you are responsible for getting the assignment from a classmate.

Written Assignments: Please note the following carefully when preparing your written assignments for this class:

Academic Dishonesty/Cheating: Collaborating with others is encouraged when you are planning your papers, reviewing each other’s work, preparing for presentations or for exams. Study or reading groups can be effective ways to study and learn. However, when you write your papers, the text needs to be your own.

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Last Update: 03/26/2010