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ENGL 260 - American Literature I - Dr. Chase Dimock

Course:American Literature I
Professor:Dr. Chase Dimock
  • Online
Course Length:
  • Applies to All Course Lengths


Dr. Dimock and Dodger

Welcome to ENGL 260! I am Dr. Chase Dimock and I will be the professor. My dog Dodger will be the Teaching Assistant. I am excited to share some of my favorite works of literature from the early part of American history over the course of the semester. Let me get you acquainted with the objectives and expectations of my course.

Course Description

Here are the official course description and learning objectives:

Course Description:

Surveys the major movements and genres of American literature from its beginnings through the Civil War.

Course Objectives

1. Analyze the historical, philosophical, social, political and/or aesthetic contexts of the period.

2. Analyze the primary changes in literary styles, genres, and movements during the period.

3. For the authors of the period, analyze the chief characteristics of their writing, such as their use of language, tone, genre, and structure.

4. Relate an author's use of diction, tone, setting, character, figurative language, and other elements of literature to the theme of a given text.

5. Relate an author's use of diction, tone, setting, character, figurative language, and other elements of literature to the historical, philosophical, social, political and/or aesthetic contexts of a given text.

6. Critically evaluate ideas and arguments presented in texts in relation to personal and cultural concerns.

Course Learning Outcomes

1. Critically evaluate and analyze the important literary works of the period in relation to their historical, philosophical, social, political, regional, and/or aesthetic contexts.

2: Analyze and interpret themes found in the literature and intellectual movements of the period, using appropriate academic discourse and the conventions of critical literary analysis.

What to Expect in this Course

What does it mean to be an American?

My hope is that over the duration of this class, we can all answer this question with greater depth and understanding. The purpose of this course is to provide an overview of American Literature ranging from its origins in the folklore of indigenous peoples and the writings of early colonists to the mid-19th century. We will read a wide variety of texts, including stories, poetry, memoirs, philosophy, travelogues, non-fiction articles, political arguments, speeches, and primary documents. As you read these texts, I want you to think about how we can better understand American history through them and how we can chart the origins of some modern day ideas and values.

Literature is both a documentation of history and a building block of culture. It depicts our culture, and our culture informs itself by reading literature. When we study a diversity of early American voices, we can understand and appreciate the origins of American culture and re-evaluate what we thought we knew or assumed by considering critical perspectives. Some ideas may be familiar to you, so I ask you to reconsider them freshly instead of taking the ideas for granted like many do. Often, famous figures like Benjamin Franklin or Pocahontas are so mythologized by folklore that we know them only by their legends and not so much by who they really were. Some ideas may be new and challenging at first, so I ask you to maintain an open mind and to honestly and fairly consider viewpoints that may conflict with your own opinions. We don’t always have to agree with or “like” an author in order to find value in their work and appreciate their influence on American society. By the end of the course, I hope everyone will have found some new voices in American literary history that speak personally to them.

Types of Assessments

Discussion Assignments
Response Assignments

Textbook Information

Textbook Title: The Norton Anthology of American Literature Shorter 10th Edition. Volume 1 Edited by Robert S. Levine (ISBN: 978-0-393-88617-7)

You may also use the ebook version instead of the paperback.

Other Relevant Course Information

As your professor, my top priority is your success as a student. I understand that all of you enter the classroom from diverse backgrounds with your own sets of challenges and goals. My mission is to help you meet the challenges that the course presents and show you how to integrate the skills and content from class into aiding your broader goals as a student. I know that every student has unique talents and perspectives and it is my hope to provide a forum for you to showcase and develop them in a way that enriches the learning experience of your fellow students.

I also realize that reading and writing can be difficult for many students and that people learn in different ways and at different paces. While I have to keep the course moving along at a predetermined schedule in order to meet our learning outcomes, I will do what I can to individualize my instruction to meet your needs. If you reach out to me with reasonable requests, I will do my best to meet you where you are. If you are having trouble with the material, or if other circumstances are affecting your studies, please let me help.

My success as a professor is dependent on your success as a student. I need engaged, motivated, and thoughtful students for my class to become a great learning environment. When you give it your best effort, you in turn enable me to use my most effective teaching techniques. Together we can achieve our full potential in creating an exciting and enlightening learning experience.

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

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Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

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Last updated: 01/31/2024 Sub#: 1014