You are responsible for writing five (5) blog posts and ten (10) comments on peers’ posts on the class blog. Each blog post must be 300-600 words and each comment must be 100+ words in order to count toward the total five (5) blog posts and ten (10) comments.
Each post has a prompt (see below) that you should select as the “category” for your post in WordPress before you publish it to make clear which prompt you are responding to. You do not need to publish posts in the same order as the prompts below, but you must publish one post on or before each deadline. Late work will be given half credit. After each deadline, you are responsible for commenting on two (2) of your peers’ posts before the next class meeting.
Environmental Justice & Sustainability (Due Sep 5): Choose one thing to do this semester that is environmentally conscious: it could be turning off the lights when you leave a room, turning off the sink water instead of letting it run, picking up trash you see, or using a reusable water bottle instead of buying plastic ones. Whatever it is, choose one thing that you can do every day and blog about it. You might also answer 1-2 of these questions in your post: What is environmental justice to you? How does it relate to American history? What research did you find on sustainability related to your new habit? Is it easy or difficult to maintain? Do you think you’ll maintain it after the semester is over?
American Identity (Due Sep 19): What does it mean to be “American”? Are you “American”? Incorporate a quotation from one of the readings into your post and engage with it (e.g. respond to it, reflect on it, dispute with it, compare or contrast it to something else).
Reflections on Sedgwick’s Hope Leslie (Due Oct 10): Now that you have read two captivity narratives and Smith’s portrayal of Pocahontas, reflect on your reading of Sedgwick’s Hope Leslie. You might choose to answer one of the following questions, do some research, and use evidence from the text to support your perspective. (1) Since Hope Leslie was written before the Indian Removal Act (1830), do you think the novel was written in support of removal or against it? (2) What is the significance of the severance of Magawisca’s arm? (3) Do you think the novel should be titled Magawisca instead—why or why not? (4) How do you interpret the end of the novel given Mielke’s argument in Moving Encounters? (5) Does Magawisca fit the “noble savage” archetype? (Look this up if you’re not sure.) Is admiration for Magawisca enough?
Nature Walk (Due Nov 10): How do our environments affect us? How does nature affect us? Go on a nature walk for at least one hour with your phone off or set to Airplane Mode. Write about the experience. This is not a “Pokéwalk”—use your phone only in case of an emergency or to take pictures of your adventure. You might bring Emerson or Thoreau along with you and get some reading done while you’re outside. Listen to the soundscape, notice the details of the landscape. See if you feel differently about the literature. Does environment shape identity?
Close Reading American Literature (Due Dec 8): Choose a short passage from any piece of literature we’ve discussed in class, preferably one of the texts you have chosen to write about for your final paper. Quote it in your post and perform a close reading of the passage—what is your original reading of the passage? What is its significance? Does biography, history, or politics inform your reading? Is your interpretation most concerned with identity (e.g. gender, race, or class) or environment (e.g. wilderness or civilization)? Test out one of your arguments or close readings for your paper—treat this as a very informal peer review for your ideas as you work them out. You might also link to any relevant research or interesting articles you have found.