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English 573
Seminar in Prose Fiction: English 573
Regionalism, Race, and Nationalism
Spring 2009: W 3:10-6 p.m. Avery 110

Donna Campbell
Avery 202J; 335-4831; campbelld@wsu.edu
Office Hours: W 1-2:50 and by appointment
Virtual Office Hours: IM and Skype:drcampbell6676

Course materials available at http://www.wsu.edu/~campbelld/engl573/index.html

Course wiki: http://regionalism.pbwiki.com

Required (Note: Some texts will be online.)

Austin, Mary. The Land of Little Rain. Modern Library Classics. 2003. 0812968522
Cather, Willa. The Professor’s House. Vintage Classics, 1990. ISBN 0679731806
Chesnutt, Charles W. The Portable Charles W. Chesnutt. Ed. William Andrews. 2008. 0143105345
Chopin, Kate. The Awakening and Selected Short Stories of Kate Chopin. Signet Classic. 1976. 0451524489
Dunbar, Paul Laurence . The Sport of the Gods: and Other Essential Writings. Modern Library, 2005. ISBN 0812972791
Far, Sui Sin. Mrs. Spring Fragrance. U of Illinois P, 1995. ISBN 0252064194
Harte, Bret. The Luck of Roaring Camp and Other Writings, ed. Gary Scharnhorst. Penguin, 2001. 014043917X.
Jewett, Sarah Orne. Sarah Orne Jewett: Novels & Stories. Ed. Michael Davitt Bell. Library of America, 1996. (paperback) 1883011345.
Mena, Maria Cristina. The Collected Stories of Maria Cristina Mena . Pinata Books, 1997. 1558852115.
Watanna, Onoto. "A Half Caste" and Other Writings.U. of Illinois P, 2003. ISBN 0252070941.
Zitkala-Sa. American Indian Stories, Legends, and Other Writings. Penguin, 2003. ISBN 0142437093.
Deleuze, Gilles, and Felix Guattari. Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature. U Minnesota P, 1986. 0816615152.
Brown, Bill. A Sense of Things: The Object Matter of American Literature. U Chicago P, 2004. 0226076296


Course Description

This seminar explores late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century regional literature from several perspectives. As a literary movement that grow out of realism and became a conduit to major publishing outlets for those marginalized by class, race, and gender, regionalism served as a national forum for concerns over Gilded Age capitalism, urbanization, and the emergence of literary professionalism, and it became a means of engaging in national debates over immigration, imperialism, race, and nationalism. We will consider the temporal, spatial, and affective dimensions of regionalism: its construction of the past to codify particular kinds of race-based social control; its function as what Richard Brodhead has described as a “transitional object” to ease the anxieties of an “insecure modern age”; its use of nostalgia and occasionally sentimentality to enshrine an imagined past and idealize the primitive; and its contributions to a national narrative that enshrined and naturalized certain kinds of race- and class-based power. We’ll also explore the ways in which regionalism employs emerging technologies of viewing and representation, from photographs and anthropological representations of folkways, including medical and food cultures, to the souvenirs, curios, and other objects of material culture that Bill Brown contends are a close analogue of the genre. In addition, we will consider the ways in which regional literature, a “minor literature” in Deleuze and Guattari’s sense of the term, occasionally transcends this status to become canonical, as in the works of William Faulkner.

Here are some of the themes and issues we’ll consider:

Note: These assignments are subject to change.



Primary Texts Secondary Sources



Introduction: Historical and Literary Backgrounds

Hamlin Garland

Willa Cather, "The Sculptor's Funeral"







Romance and Realism in Western Regional Fiction
Presentation: Daniel Shafer

Bret Harte

  • “Tennessee's Partner” (49-57)
  • “Wan Lee, the Pagan” (123-137)
  • “An Ingénue of the Sierras” (138-155)
  • “The Poet of Sierra Flat” (98-107)
  • “Plain Language from Truthful James” (215-216)
  • “The Rise of the ‘Short Story’” (250-258)

Mary Hallock Foote, "Maverick" (Century, Aug 1894)







Communities and Subversion
Presentation: Julie Meloni on Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

Rose Terry Cooke

Mary E. Wilkins Freeman







Regionalism: “Queer Consciousness,” “Minor Literature”
Presentation: Kristen Keller

Sarah Orne Jewett

  • Deephaven
  • “A White Heron”
  • “Tom’s Husband”

Proposal for Paper 1 due by email to campbelld@wsu.edu








Regional Objects, Cultures, and Histories: Fetishizing the Past
Presentation: Jim Trout

Jewett The Country of The Pointed Firs
“The Foreigner”
"The Gray Mills of Farley"

Constance Fenimore Woolson






Fictions of the Color Line
Presentation: Amber LaPiana on Alice Dunbar-Nelson

Paper 1 due

Kate Chopin

Alice Dunbar-Nelson

George Washington Cable






Dismantling the Master's House

Charles Chesnutt

  • “The Goophered Grapevine” (5-18)
  • “Dave’s Neckliss” (181-194)
  • "Po' Sandy" (19-30)
  • “The Sheriff’s Children” (71-89)
  • "The Passing of Grandison"(109-128)

Thomas Nelson Page

“Marse Chan” and “Meh Lady” (.pdf version)

Paul Laurence Dunbar

  • “The Deserted Plantation”
  • “When Malindy Sings”
  • “The Poet and His Song”
  • “We Wear the Mask”
  • “The Lynching of Jube Benson”
  • “The Ingrate”






Technology, Ethnography, and Representation
Presentation: Ben Bunting

Sui Sin Far, from Mrs. Spring Fragrance:

  • “In the Land of the Free”
  • “Mrs. Spring Fragrance”
  • “Its Wavering Image”
  • “The Americanizing of Pau Tsu”

Onoto Watanna, A Half Caste and Other Writings:

  • “A Half Caste”
  • “A Contract”
  • “Delia Dissents”
  • “The Wrench of Chance”






Region, Nation, and Empire
Neta Hoff

Maria Cristina Mena, Collected Stories:

    • “The Vine-Leaf”
    • “The Gold Vanity Set”
    • “The Emotions of Maria Concepcion”
    • “Marriage by Miracle”
    • “A Son of the Tropics”

Proposal for Paper 2 due by email to campbelld@wsu.edu

10 3/18 Spring break  






Grotesque New England
Presentation: Natalia Rud
Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome (part 1  part 2  part 3). 
Wharton, "The Angel at the Grave"
Wharton, "Bewitched"






Ethnography and Appropriation

Mary Austin, The Land of Little Rain

Zitkala-Sa, American Indian Stories:

  • “Impressions of an Indian Childhood,”
  • “The School Days of an Indian Girl”
  • “An Indian Teacher Among Indians,” (67-113);
  • “The Soft-Hearted Sioux”
  • “The Widespread Enigma Concerning Blue-Star Woman,” (143-54)
  • “America, Home of the Red Man”
  • “The Coronation of Chief Powhatan Retold” (193-198);
  • “A Sioux Woman’s Love for Her Grandchild” (179-80)







Critical Regionalism
Presentation: Beatrice Henrioulle

Willa Cather, The Professor’s House




No class

Paper 2 due to respondents



Paper 2 due
Paper Presentations 1






Paper Presentations 2  

Course Requirements

Attendance and Participation. Attendance and good class participation are essential.

Papers . You’ll write two papers in this course, the first a conference-length (8-10 pages) treatment of a topic, and the second an extended paper (15-25 pages; page limits are flexible) suitable for submitting to the journal of your choice or for using as the basis of a dissertation chapter. The first paper can be based on your presentation topic, if you wish, or it can form the basis for your longer paper. The presentations at the end of the course will be based on the longer paper, which you’ll need to edit down to conference length.

Proposals and Responses. Since one of your professional responsibilities as scholars will be to submit proposals to conference, you’ll prepare a 200-300 word proposal for each of the papers you will write in this class. These will receive comments but not grades. You’ll also prepare a response to a classmate’s paper during the last two weeks of class, which you will then deliver as part of the conference-style presentations at the end of the course.

Late Papers and Extensions. Late papers are penalized at the rate of one letter grade (10 points) per class day late; a paper that would have received a "B" on the due date will receive a "C" if handed in on the next class day. If no paper is turned in within 4 class days (due date plus three more days), no credit will be given and a 0 will be averaged in for that portion of your course grade.

You have one 48-hour extension in this class. This extension means that your paper will be due on the next class day, which could be more than 48 hours.You must request the extension ahead of time, and you should save it for a true emergency, since no other extensions will be granted for illness, funerals, weddings, or any other reason.

Presentations and Article Critiques.

Article Critiques. In addition to reading primary texts, we'll be reading some classic but mostly current criticism on the works so that you'll have a good sense of what approaches are being published now. We'll read all the articles, of course, but each week three or four people will be responsible for preparing a brief summary and critique (about 1 page) of one article each. These need not be terribly formal; their purpose is to allow the "article expert" to raise questions and discussion points about his or her article rather than do a formal presentation of it. The summary and critique can then be posted to the wiki at regionalism.pbwiki.com for future reference, along with any points that the "article expert" would like to add from our class discussion. You'll all take turns being an "article expert," but you won't need to do this every week; you'll be the "article expert" about three times during the course of the semester. A signup sheet will be available during next week's class.

Presentations. Each member of the class will give a 30-minute presentation at one point during the semester. This might take any one of several forms: preparing information about the author or authors assigned for that day and presenting a set of new ideas or questions for the class to consider; giving a new interpretation of the work; providing a contextual overview of an author or work; or analyzing and critiquing current critical perspectives. You will need to provide a brief handout for the class, preferably one that includes a short annotated bibliography of your sources, an outline, and relevant quotations or information from your sources. During the last week of class, you'll present a conference-length version of your second paper to the rest of the class.

Plagiarism Policy. Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of someone else's words or ideas. This definition includes not only deliberately handing in someone else's work as your own but failing to cite your sources, including Web pages and Internet sources. Penalties for plagiarism range from an F on the paper to failing the course. If you turn in a plagiarized paper, at a minimum you will receive a grade of F (0 points). You will not be allowed to rewrite the paper, and the incident must be reported to the Office of Student Conduct (http://www.conduct.wsu.edu/academicIntegrity.asp).

WSU Statement on Academic Integrity. As an institution of higher education, Washington State University is committed to principles of truth and academic honesty. All members of the University community share the responsibility for maintaining and supporting these principles. When a student enrolls in Washington State University, the student assumes an obligation to pursue academic endeavors in a manner consistent with the standards of academic integrity adopted by the University. To maintain the academic integrity of the community, the University cannot tolerate acts of academic dishonesty including any forms of cheating, plagiarism, or fabrication. Washington State University reserves the right and the power to discipline or to exclude students who engage in academic dishonesty.

WSU Statement on Disabilities. Reasonable accommodations are available for students who have a documented disability. Please notify the instructor during the first week of class of any accommodations needed for the course. Late notification may mean that requested accommodations might not be available. All accommodations must be approved through the Disability Resource Center (DRC) located in the Administration Annex

Approximate weights for grades:

Paper 1, 20%
Presentations, 20%
Paper 2, 45%
Attendance and Participation (including proposals and short written responses to papers), 15%