In 1776, the idea of self-evidence grounded the philosophical assertion that
“all men are created equal.” And yet, political, economic and social equality
in the democratic republic of the United States has often proven less of a
guarantee and more of a promise. Beginning with Thomas Jefferson’s writing of
the “Declaration of Independence,” the recognition of a person as fully human
has depended on assumptions regarding race, class and gender. The course
examines the changing definition of United States citizenship by putting
legal texts (the U.S. Constitution, federal and state laws, Supreme Court decisions)
in dialogue with literary writings and film. In this course we will
read stories by people whom federal and or state law barred from full citizenship.
Through autobiographies, fiction, poetry and speeches, we will examine the
cultural legacy of legal terms such as “domestic dependent nation”
and “unlawful enemy combatant.” Our goal will be to pay careful attention to the language and genres
of the American legislative and judicial system, and conversely to
contextualize literature in relation to the legal history through which the U.S.
Constitution has been reinterpreted and amended to broaden its terms of equality.
We will also consider how different kinds of writing -- legal, scientific, autobiographical and fictional --
employ different rhetorical strategies to reach audiences, affect readers and influence the world.
COURSE ASSESSMENT and REQUIREMENTS:
- Attendance and participation in course sessions: Scheduled
meeting times will consist of both lectures on and discussions of assigned reading.
It is your responsibility to read the material before hand and be able to
discussion this material during class. Unexcused absences and being late will
affect adversely your final grade.
Please note that this course includes tutorial sessions that will need to be scheduled.
Attendance is required during class meeting times, both the lecture and tutorials.
- Posting to the Moodle Group discussion (ENGL2165LALS3005LLAW3226_2018):
Please notice that there is a Moodle Group for this course; you can access it by going to the
HKU Portal and logging in. Click on the "My eLearning"
tab and it will take you to a page with the link to:
Moodle group for ENGL2165LALS3005LLAW3226_2018
At points during the semester (three times), I will assign a short
(approximately 200-500 words) response paper that you will post on Moodle. This will enable you
to read and respond to other students' interpretations of the course materials. These
posting will be part of your grade-- they are an excellent way of participating in the discussions
(especially if something occurs to you outside of class, or you don't get a chance to say what
you wanted during the course time).
- Class Presentation:
Throughout the course schedule are "Presentations" (see below) on a Supreme Court decision, piece of legislation, or topic. At some point during the semester, you will
work individually or with a partner to prepare a short class presentation (5-10 minutes) in which you provide an overview of your assigned topic. As part of your
presentation, please prepare a one-page summary, distribute this summary to members of the class before you speak, and post the summary to Moodle.
- Two essays exams as midterm and final: The essays two exams should be 6-8 pages in length. I will provide topics from which you will choose.
Note: When writing your essays it is important that you acknowledge through
proper citation any secondary sources that you use. If you borrow
someone else's words or ideas be sure to mention this in the body of the essay
or in a footnote.
Here is the University definition and policy on plagiarism. In regard to formats for proper
academic citation (APA, Chicago, MLA), please consult:
Purdue University OWL: Citation Chart
Your final grade will be an average of these four requirements. The tentative
breakdown is: class attendance and presentation (25%); Moodle posts (25%); two essays exams (25% each)
COURSE OBJECTIVES and LEARNING OUTCOMES:
- Students will be able to convey key concepts and philosophies behind the creation and
development of the United States, law, theories of nationalism, and print culture. They will
be able to trace in contemporary political events the historical patterns of the national constitution and
its development in relation to civil rights, issues of indigenous sovereignty, and protest movements in
the United States.
- The course will foster students' abilities to read closely
a variety of media and genres (literature, legal documents,
paintings, film) and to connect the form of literature to key cultural and theoretical themes.
- Demonstrate how consideration of a text's immediate and potential extended
audiences are important factors in the
interpretation of that text/
- Exercise skills of interpretation and communication that enable students to think critically,
to evaluate arguments and to respond constructively
in writing and in speech, and in both formal and informal environments.
- Establish an awareness of the international context to the foundation and development of
US law and literature thus enabling students to evaluate, with historical perspective, contemporary
international collaborations and crises.
- Cultivate the enjoyment of intellectual experience in everyday life and continue
to broaden students vision of the dynamic relationship
between literature, history, geography,
science, and the arts.
PART I: FOUNDING DOCUMENTS: What is a nation?
| WEEK 1:
The Founding Documents of the United States and the Aesthetics of Revolution
- Garry Wills, Inventing America: Jefferson's Declaration of Independence (1978)
- Jay Fliegelman, Declaring Independence: Jefferson, Natural Language, & the Culture of Performance (1993)
| WEEK 2:
Jefferson, selections from Notes
on the State of Virginia -- Queries 5, 6, 11, 14, and 19 (1785, pdf file) |
David Walker, Walker's Appeal, in Four Articles, Together with a Preamble
to the Colored Citizens of the World, but in Particular and Very Expressly to Those
of the United States of America (1829)
Introduction of Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of an American
Moodle posting #1:
Moodle group ENGL2165LALS3005LLAW3226_2018
Posting #1: Consider the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the US Constitution. Choose a news event from the
past 100 years that deals with one of these amendments; your news item can be from the United States or
anywhere else in the world. In your posting to Moodle, please briefly
summarize the event and its relation to a specific amendment. Please include a link to the new article
if you can. Your posting should be from 200-300 words.
Please post before Saturday, January 19 at 12 pm (noon) please post a short response at
Moodle group ENGL2165LALS3005LLAW3226_2018.
- Robert A. Ferguson, "'Mysterious Obligation': Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia"
- Robert Ferguson, "Ideology and the Framing of the Constitution,"
Early American Literature Vol. 22, No. 2 (Fall, 1987), pp. 157-165
- Ernest Renan, "What is a Nation?" (Sorbonne, 11 March 1882)
- Benedict Anderson, Chapters 1-3 from Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism
- Etienne Balibar, "The National Form: History and Ideology" (1991); "Subjection and Subjectivation" (1994)
- Eric Wolf, "Modes of Production," pages 73-100 in Europe and the People without History (1982)
- Keiran Dolin, A Critical Introduction to Law and Literature, Cambridge University Press, 2007.
- Louis Althusser, "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses
(Notes towards an Investigation)" (1970, Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays
Part 1 |
THE NATURAL BRIDGE, VIRGINIA (1852)
Frederick E. Church
Fralin Art Museum, The Univ. of Virginia
PART II: CIVIL RIGHTS: Slavery and Fugitive Writing
| WEEK 3:
Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of an American
Consider Douglass's reflections on Garrison and the role of "the slave" at Abolitionist events, from
"Chapter XXIII: Introduced
to the Abolitionists," My Bondage and
My Freedom (1855)
Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861)
Presentation 3: The Missouri Compromise (1820)
Presentation 4: United States v. The Amistad - 40 U.S. 518 (1841)
Solomon Northrop, Twelve Years a Slave. Narrative of
Solomon Northup, a Citizen of New York, Kidnapped in Washington Ctiy in 1841, and Rescued in 1853, from a
Cotton Plantation Near the Red River, in Louisiana (1853)
Moodle posting #2:
Moodle group for AMER2046LALS3005LLAW3226_2016
Posting #2: Consider the painting called "The Plantation" (1825)-- there is a link to the right. Interpret this image as a symbol or allegory
of slavery in relation to the description of the garden Frederick Douglass offers at the beginning of
Chapter Three of Narrative.
Please post before Saturday 26 January at 12 pm (noon) at
Moodle group for ENGL2165LALS3005LLAW3226_2018.
THE PLANTATION (1825)
Anon., oil on wood
The Met., NYC
| WEEK 4:
Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861)|
Introduce Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852)
No class. Happy Chinese New Year
| WEEK 5:
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852)
Moodle posting #3:
Moodle group for ENGL2165LALS3005LLAW3226_2018
Posting #3: Find a conversation or a scene in Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin that deals with an issue
related to the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution or a law or judicial ruling of your choosing.
(Please cite the novel in your response.)
In choosing the scene, you might
consider how and why the novel is asking you to think about the rights of citizenship, or federal or
state law. Or, you might explain how Stowe is illustrating a crisis regarding the definition of rights.
Please post before Saturday 16 February at 12 pm (noon) at
Moodle group for ENGL2165LALS3005LLAW3226_2018.
| WEEK 6:
Herman Melville, "Benito Cereno" in The Piazza Tales
Spanish flag |
"Obama, Melville and the Tea Party," New York Times (18 January 2014)
Amendments 13, 14 & 15 (1865, 1868, 1870)
| Reading Week:
No class: Midterm Exam (TBA); due March 11 at the beginning of class
PART III: SOVEREIGNTY: Removal, Allotment, Self-Governance, Self-Determination
| WEEK 7:
James Fenimore Cooper, Last of the Mohicans (1826)
Johnson & Graham's Lessee v. McIntosh - 21 U.S. 543 (1823; first decision of the Marshall Trilogy)
Presentation 10: The Indian Removal Act (1830)
The Library of Congress
Cherokee Nation v. Georgia - 30 U.S. 1 (1831; second decision of the Marshall Trilogy)
Worcester v. Georgia - 31 U.S. 515 (1832; third decision of the Marshall Trilogy)
Prucha I (Removals) |
Prucha II (Allotment, Reorganization, Termination, Self-Determination)
"Savage Law: The Plot Against American Indians in Johnson and
Graham's Lessee v. M'Intosh and The Pioneers"
THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS (1992)
FALLS OF THE KAATERSKILL (1826)
| WEEK 8:
Black Hawk, Life of Ma-Ka-Tai-Me-She-Kia-Kiak (1833)|
US Treaty with the Sauk and Foxes, 1804,
from C. Kappler
The Cherokee Memorials (1829)
Williams Apess, "An Indian's Looking Glass for the White Man"
"Eulogy for King Philip"
||BLACK HAWK, or MAKATAIMESHEKIAHIAH
Painted by Charles Bird King
in Thomas McKenney & James Hall's
History of the Indian Tribes of North America (Philadelphia, 1837-44)
| WEEK 9:
American Indian Stories (1921)
From Deep Woods to Civilization (1916)
| WEEK 10
Charles Eastman, From Deep Woods to Civilization (1916)
Wounded Knee, 1890
Poems by Joy Harjo, Simon Ortiz, Adrian Louis, Luci Tapahanso (TBA)
60 Minutes segment on Kennewick Man
"There's no such thing as a 'pure' European--or anyone else."
Science (15 May 2017).
"Hills Brothers Coffee"
PART IV: Civil Rights
| WEEK 11
Henry David Thoreau,
"Resistance to Civil Government"
(or, "The Rights and Duties of the Individual in relation to Government"
or "Civil Disobedience") (1848; 1849; p. 189-213 in Aesthetic Papers pdf)
| WEEK 12:
Legacies of Protest: Nationalism, Sovereignty and Civil Rights
Mahatma Gandhi, "Statement in the Great Trial of 1922" (1922)
George Hendrick, "The Influence of Thoreau's
"Civil Disobedience" on Gandhi's Satyagraha,"(1956)
Martin Luther King,
Letter from a Birmingham Jail" (16 April 1863) | PDF
A Time to Break Silence, Riverside Church, New York City (April 1867),
The Story Behind "Beyond Vietnam"
Siege at Wounded Knee
Protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline,
PBS NewsHour, 16 September 2016 | Overview from
Final Essay (TBA) due Thursday, May 9