Spring 2010

Course Information: WRIT 8500
Section 001, Course # 92605
We meet from 2:00 p.m. - 3:50 p.m. in KPLz 385 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The course home page can be found at: <>

Professor Information:
Dr. Craig Stroupe,, 218-726-6249, Humanities 425, Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to noon or by appointment.

This seminar will consider authorship as a cultural institution. We will, first, approach authorship theoretically as a privileged social category, and explore critical debates it has raised about the nature of authority, language, subjectivity, and knowledge. We will also consider authorship historically, focusing specifically on the American nineteenth century as a context--a period of rapid technological and cultural development during which "American authorship" was transformed from an anomalous, isolated, derivative phenomenon to a recognizably modernist cultural formation at the center of a burgeoning literary marketplace. Finally, we will survey some of the critical methods by which scholarship on American authorship has been conducted over the last fifty years.

Required Texts

Requirements and Expectations
In this seminar, you can expect to do the following:

Detailed instructions for each assignment will be distributed in class and posted online.

All students will be expected to participate in seminar discussions; your presence and active, informed participation are therefore essential to your success in the class and the success of the class itself as a shared scholarly endeavor. Please come to class prepared to engage with the texts, your colleagues, and me by reading the assigned works by the first date they are listed on the schedule and having questions and ideas to contribute to our discussion. I also encourage you to take reading notes on each text, and to mark passages we discuss in class. Please be sure to turn off all electronic devices, including cell phones, before class begins.

In a graduate seminar like this one, your regular attendance is absolutely necessary.

Research Essay
Your research essay will focus on a topic that we will agree upon in individual conference, should center on one of the assigned texts for the class, and be based on original ideas and research. Please arrange to meet with me about your seminar topic by the fourth week of class (2/10), and to consult with me regularly as you work on your essay. A 5-page prospectus, plan of research, and bibliography is due by March 26. The completed essay is due on May 5 and should be 20-25 pages long.

Formal writing (done outside of class) must use correct and current (7th ed.) MLA format, be word-processed, free from mechanical errors, double-spaced, and printed in "best quality" using a standard 12-point font and 1-inch margins. Students are encouraged to get (and give) feedback on the research essay with a classmate. Be sure to keep a copy of any work you hand in.

Late Assignments
All assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due date (unless specified otherwise), and must be turned in on time to receive full credit. Papers left in the professor’s box, or dropped off by students who do not remain in class, will be considered late, and it is the student's responsibility to ensure that any work not directly submitted has actually reached the professor. Assignments may not be submitted via e-mail. I will not grant extensions on assignments unless merited by prior arrangement between us and documented proof of your inability to complete the assignment on time due to truly exceptional circumstances (a death in the immediate family, truly severe illness, etc.). Last minute computer and printer problems do not count as an emergency. Please back up your work and plan accordingly. Unless you have received an extension, late work will only be accepted up to five days after the due date, but a letter grade will be taken off for every day it is late.

Seminar Presentations
Each presentation should present an overview of the topic as it relates to American authorship, along with some specific examples from and connections to the text(s) being discussed in class that day. In other words, each presentation should help the class look beyond as well as more deeply within the current reading. Each presentation should include relevant images and a handout. I will give you a separate handout describing this requirement more specifically.

Leading Discussion
In the first week of classes, I will provide a handout and a means for reserving dates to lead discussion.

Special Needs
If you have a disability, either permanent or temporary, which might affect your performance in this class, please notify me at the beginning of the semester. Methods, material, or testing will be adapted as required for equitable participation.

Incompletes for the semester will be given only in the following very limited circumstances:

Academic Integrity and Student Conduct
Please see UMD's pages concerning these two issues: