ENGL 2115-001: American Frontiers

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An exploration of the American “Self,” this class investigates the frontiers that kept people in nineteenth-century America bottled up and fenced in even as the territorial frontiers were being expanded.  As people went West, what happened to those who stayed East?  What internal struggles did people experience as they tried to situate themselves in an industrializing world?  How did people of color experience racial apartheid and slavery?  How did women feel confronting the barriers constantly being thrown in their way?  What did it mean to have a sense of self that was either confined or expansive?  How did the notion of an individual self evolve in this century around the metaphor of the frontier?  We will explore these questions in novels and short stories by Herman Melville, kate Chopin, Stephen Crane, Susanna Rowson and more.

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