Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
english masthead
english masthead
Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Summer 2009

E f338 • American Literature: From 1865 to the Present

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

Please refer to the course schedule for course days, time, room location, prerequisites and possible cross-listings:

New York Times columnist, and author of The Lexus and the Olive Tree, Tom Friedman began his November 5, 2008 column like this: "And so it came to pass that on November 4, 2008, shortly before 11 p.m. Eastern time, the American Civil War ended." This course examines the literature of the United States in the context of American social and cultural history from the nominal ending of the Civil War in 1865 to the present moment. This period encompasses the violent dislocations of black and white communities in the South and of Native American communities in the West, America's rise as an imperial power at the end of the nineteenth century, the First World War, the Great Depression, the Second World War, Vietnam, and the wars in Iraq. It also encompasses the transformative influx of immigrants between the 1880s and the 1920s, women's suffrage, the advent of the automobile, the modern and postmodern city, suburbanization, the Civil Rights and environmental movements, and globalization. And it is shaped, culturally, by the explosion and rapid obsolescence of various electronic media, by modernism and abstract expressionism in the visual and verbal arts, by psychoanalysis, and by blues, jazz, and rock 'n roll. This survey will sample literary expressions of, and engagements with, these historical moments and cultural forces that have been crafted, over the past century and a half, by some of our country's most skilled users of language and deft observers of life. Our objectives in reading and discussing these works will be pleasure, intellectual and ideological challenge, sharpened analytical skills, deepened historical consciousness, and expanded interpretive repertoires.

Grading Policy

You will be allowed three unexcused absences during the semester. Additional absences will result in a lowering of your course grade. Course grade will be based on attendance and participation (20%), reading quizzes (20%), short critical responses to two reading assignments (30%), and a final essay exam (30%).


Anthology of American Literature, Vol. 2, Realism to the Present (9th ed), George McMichael, ed. Possible addition of one contemporary American novel or work of literary nonfiction.


bottom border