Honors | American Social Protest Literature, 1799-Present
H203 | 17518 | Paul Gutjahr


MW 9:30-10:45am

Americans have protested aspects of their society which they have
found disagreeable in a wide variety of ways throughout the nation’s
history. One such form has been literary and has come to be known
as "social protest literature." Harriet Beecher Stowe’s _Uncle Tom’s
Cabin_ is a perfect example of a book that transcended its place in
the literary world to help radically reconfigure the country’s
political and social landscapes. Other books have been equally
important, while still others have had grand intentions, but little
influence. This course will explore the history and evolution of
American social protest literature as it has been produced and
received in the United States over the past two centuries. By
looking at how authors have sought to influence a larger public
through their literary works, this course will seek insights into
how these literary works have functioned as a sometimes vibrant,
sometimes ignored voice in the process of bringing about social
change. Areas of particular interest in our analysis will include
issues of race and ethnicity, slavery, politics, religion,
temperance reform, sexuality, education, science and class
relations.

The course will involve a great deal of reading along with frequent
pop quizzes. Students will also be expected to work on group
projects, as well as complete three papers of various lengths.