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Fall 2007

English Composition Syllabus

George Catlin, Comanche Chasing Buffalo with Lances and Bows (1846 - 1848)
oil on canvas, 19 5/8 x 27 1/2 in.

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison Jr.

Mary C. Gray
The U of H Writing Center
Agnes Arnold 217
Office hours: by appointment

“How can I tell what I think till I see what I say?” – E. M. Forster

Welcome to the English Composition portion of the English/History course. You must also be registered for HIST 1377 with Dr. Mintz to be enrolled in this class.

English 1303 is designed to develop your skills in effective written communication in general and academic writing in particular through reading, thinking, writing, revising and discussion. Writing practice will include invention, planning, drafting, and revising. Discussion will cover assigned readings and writing projects. Additionally, we will work on preparing manuscripts that are professional by addressing issues of mechanics, grammar, and presentation in terms of the earned authority of a manuscript.

In these collaborative classes, we will be working toward developing critical thinking skills and strengthening written communication while becoming active historians.

Assignments in this class should both complement and enrich your studies in History. By examining texts from American writers and artists before 1877, you will discover that art and literature come not just from a person, but from a time and place, and, as cultural expression, are inseparable from historical process. In addition, we will have the advantage of having experts from the College of Education to help us learn to integrate technology into our writing, plus consultants from the Writing Center to help us formulate and execute our ideas.

Grading Policy


Note: Links to websites outside of Writing History open in a new window; close that window to return to this page.

Week 1: Introduction to the Course

Sebastian Munster,
Map of The Americas (detail of
Magellan’s ship)
(c. 1550)
Tuesday, August 21:
Thursday, August 23:

Technology instruction


Week 2: America's Colonial Legacies - Slavery

The Baptism of Pocahontas (detail) 1840
U.S. Capitol Rotunda
Tuesday, August 28:

In Class:

  • The Art of Politics
  • View historical art
Thursday, August 30:
Receive prompt for Web Project 1: Analyzing Fugitive Slave Advertisements
Week 3: America's Colonial Legacies - Puritanism

Illustration of the execution
of Mary Dyer, (detail) Salem, 1660
Tuesday, September 4:


A Notable Exploit: Dux Fæmina Facti” (Microsoft Word format)
from Magnalia Christa Americana, the Ecclesiastical History of New England – Cotton Mather -1702

The Duston Family Story,” (Microsoft Word format)
American Magazine of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge – Nathaniel Hawthorne -1836

Illustration from the Hawthorne’s story

The story of Mary Martin (Microsoft Word format)
from The Journal of John Winthrop - 1630 – 1649

Pillars of Salt” (Microsoft Word format)
from Magnalia Christi Americana – Cotton Mather - 1702

Thursday, September 6:

Technology day – Work on Project 1

Week 4: The Revolutionary War and the First New Nation
Illustration of Phillis
Wheatley from the 1873 edition of her poetry.
Tuesday, September 11: Read: The poetry of Phillis Wheatley - 1773
  • "Preface"
  • "A Copy of a Letter sent by the Author's Master"
  • "To the Publick"
  • "To the King's Most Excellent Majesty"
  • "On Being Brought to America"

Abigail Adams’ letters to her husband and his replies – 1776

Receive prompt for Essay 1: Surprise and Inform

Thursday, September 13:

Read “The Declaration of Independence

Week 5: Jeffersonian Republicanism

George C. Bingham, Daniel Boone
Escorting Settlers Through the Cumberland Gap
(detail) 1851-52
Tuesday, September 18:


Query XIX “Notes on the State of Virginia” – Thomas Jefferson – 1784

Peer Review – Project 1

Thursday, September 20:

Web Project 1 Due

Receive prompt for Project 2: American History through Art

Week 6: The New Nation's Storyteller

John Quidor,
The Return of
Rip Van Winkle

(detail) 1849

Tuesday, September 25:


"Rip Van Winkle" - Washington Irving


Thursday, September 27:
History Test
Week 7: The Birth of American Popular Culture

Portraits of P.T. Barnum (1810-1891) and J.A. Bailey (1847-1906) on a poster advertising 'The Greatest Show on Earth.'
Tuesday, October 2: Peer review Essay 1
Thursday, October 4:

Essay 1 DUE

Work on Project 2

Week 8: American Transcendentalism

Photograph of Ralph
Waldo Emerson with manuscript, 1848
Tuesday, October 9:


Ralph Waldo Emerson

Henry David Thoreau

Thursday: October 11:

Technology Instruction

Week 9: Slavery and the Slave South

William Sydney Mount, The Power of Music (detail) 1847
Tuesday, October 16: Peer review Project 2
Thursday, October 18:

Web Project 2 Due

receive prompt for Project 3: American Stories

Week 10: The Age of Jackson

George Catlin, Stu-mick-o-sucks,
Buffalo Bull's Back Fat, Head Chief,
Blood Tribe
Tuesday, October 23:


One of George Catlin's Letters and Notes – 1832

In class: View work of George Catlin

Thursday, October 25:

Work on Project 3

Receive prompt for Essay 2: An Emblem of History

Week 11: Radical Reform: Women's Rights

Elizabeth Cady Stanton
And her daughter, 1856
Tuesday, October 30:

The Declaration of the Rights of Women” – The Seneca Falls Convention - 1848

In class: “Remember the Ladies” - Milestones of the Women’s Movement

Thursday, November 1:
Working with primary sources
Week 12: American Gothic

Edgar Allen Poe

Tuesday, November 6:


"The Tell-tale Heart" - Edgar Allen Poe

Thursday, November 8:
Strategies for Essay 2
Week 13: Walt Whitman's America

Walt Whitman, age 37, frontispiece to Leaves of Grass, Fulton St., Brooklyn, N.Y., steel engraving by Samuel Hollyer from a lost daguerreotype by Gabriel Harrison.

Tuesday, November 13:


Song of Myself” (excerpts) – Walt Whitman - 1855

Thursday, November 15:


When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed” – Walt Whitman - 1865

Peer review Essay 2

Week 14: American History in Perspective

Harris Rodrigan,
The Mayflower
, c. 1934

Tuesday, November 20:

Essay 2 Due
Thursday, November 22: NO CLASS - Thanksgiving Break
Week 15: Conclusion
Tuesday, November 27: Project 3 due
Thursday, November 29: History Test and Presentations

Reproduction of Comanche Chasing Buffalo with Lances and Bows:
Catlin, George. Comanche Chasing Buffalo with Lances and Bows. 1846 - 48. Online image. Smithsonian American Art Museum. Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison Jr. 2005.
16 August 2007.

Additional images:

Bingham, George C. Daniel Boone Escorting Settlers Through the Cumberland Gap. 1851-52. Online image. Daniel Boone as Colonizer. 11 October 1995. The University of Virginia. 16 August 2007.

Catlin, George. Stu-mick-o-sucks, Buffalo Bull's Back Fat, Head Chief, Blood Tribe. 1832. Online image. Smithsonian American Art Museum. Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison Jr. 2005. 16 August 2007.

Chapman, John Gadsby. The Baptism of Pocahontas. 1840. Online Image. Digital History. 16 August 2007.

Portrait of Edgar Allen Poe. Online image. 16 August 200.7

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her daughter. 1856. Online image. The Library of Congress. 16 August 2007.

The Execution of Mary Dyer. Nineteenth Century. Online image. Religion and the Founding of the American Republic. The Library of Congress. 16 August 2007.

Hollyer, Samuel. “Walt Whitman.” 1855. Online image. Walt Whitman. Wikipedia. 16 August 2007.

Mount, William Sydney. The Power of Music. 1847. Online image. The Cleveland Museum of Art. 16 August 2007.

Munster, Sebastian. The Americas: Tabula Nouarum insularum. c. 1550. Online image. Digital History. 8 August 2005.

Quidor, John. The Return of Rip Van Winkle. 1849. Online image. Themes in American Art - Narrative Art. The National Gallery of Art. 16 August 2007.

Phillis Wheatley. Illustration to the volume of her poetry. 1873. Online image. Renascance Editions. 16 August 2007.

Portrait of Ralph Waldo Emerson. 1848. Online image. The Harvard Gazette archives. Harvard University. 16 August 2007.

Rodrigin, Harris. The Mayflower. Online image. 16 August 2007.




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