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American Passages: A Literary SurveyAmerican Passages Home
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About - How To Use This Site



About

•  How To Use
This Site
•  Site Credits
- OPB
- Norton
- Amazing!

The American Passages site contains Unit-based materials (organized by literary movements), Author-based materials (organized alphabetically) and a 3000-item searchable Archive of historical and cultural artifacts which can be used to create multi-media presentations through the Slideshow Tool.


STRUCTURE AND PURPOSE
The goal of American Passages is
To encourage readers' critical appreciation of American literature by enhancing the understanding of its diversity, continuity, and position within American history and culture.
The web, video, and print materials meet this goal in 3 ways:
  1. Encouraging the critical appreciation of American Literature by providing materials to support the traditional goals of an American Literature survey course:
    • to teach close reading skills and narrative strategies
    • to introduce significant American writers, styles, themes, and concerns
    • to stimulate users to compare, contrast and make connections between texts
    • to illustrate how American Literature has changed and evolved over time.
  2. Promoting diversity and continuity by respectfully presenting the canonical works while thoughtfully integrating works and voices that have traditionally been unheard, ignored, or discounted.
  3. Advocating for an understanding of American Literature in a broader contextual framework by using biographical, historical, and cultural contextual materials to support and enrich the readings.
AMERICAN PASSAGES encourages an open-ended thematic approach to American literature, with an organizing principal of five Guiding Questions:
  1. What is an American?
  2. What is American Literature?
  3. How do place and time shape an author's works, and our understanding of them?
  4. What characteristics of a literary work have made it influential over time?
  5. How are American myths created, challenged and re-imagined through this literature?

THE INSTRUCTOR GUIDE
Each Unit of the Instructor Guide includes thematically-organized contextual materials ready for classroom use. The Guides can be viewed as web pages with hyperlinks to corresponding materials in the Online Archive, and in PDF for easy downloading and printing.

Each Guide includes discussion questions and activities organized by cognitive level: Comprehension, Contextual Understanding, and Deeper Explorations.


THE SLIDESHOW TOOL
The Slideshow Tool gives users a point-and-click method to select audio and visual materials from the Archive, allowing the creation of an infinite variety of slideshows. This straightforward interface is meant to "level the playing field" allowing assessment of work based on content and analysis, not on computer experience.

The Slideshow Tool can be used by for presentations and assignments analyzing contextual settings, tracing thematic connections and compare/contrast illustrations. Each user can build and save multiple slideshows within one account. Each account is active for 14 weeks from its last use. Each time a user signs in, the account is re-activated for an additional 14 weeks. Once an account expires, all slideshows will be permanently deleted.

In addition to being stored online, slideshows can be emailed for viewing, or can be downloaded for classroom use. Once downloaded, slideshows need an Internet Browser (e.g. Internet Explorer or Netscape) but do not require a network connection. (NOTE: downloaded slideshows cannot be edited)

Each slide can hold one audio clip and one visual element, and allows the user to enter original narrative text. Many of the assignments in the Instructor Guide utilize the slideshow tool to stimulate analytical thinking.

Slideshow Tool Security
Each user will be asked to supply an email address and password. Email addresses will be used for account tracking purposes only and will not be released to any individual or entity for any reason. Email accounts will only be used to send a reply to a user-initiated request for a forgotten password. No other mailings will be sent by Annenberg Media.

Slideshows can be viewed by multiple guests, but changes can only be made by those with the account password; the creator (teacher or student) emails a "view only" URL to others. Group projects can be created through a shared email and password account.

Slideshows can only incorporate materials from the American Passages Archive; there is no way to include materials from other internet or scanned sources. With over 3000 Items in the Archive, users will find a breadth and depth of materials guaranteed to be cleared and appropriate for educational use.


ONLINE ARCHIVE
The Online Archive includes more than 3000 Items, in a variety of categories, including:
Visual Arts (painting, sculpture, textiles etc.)
Historical Documents
Material Culture Items (furniture, clothing, technology, etc)
Literary Texts
Photographs
Music Recordings
Author and Critic interview Recordings
Literary Text Audio Recordings

Each Item in the Archive is accompanied by an Item description, explaining the Item's relevance to appropriate literary works. All Items are available in a small format for quick viewing and a full screen format for printing or projection. All items are cleared for download, printing and use in educational settings (user agreement).

All Items are cross-referenced and easily accessed through a high-powered Archive Search feature, allowing users to select from literary movements, geographical regions, type of artifact, key words and other pertinent criteria.


THE VIDEO SERIES
The Video Series features sixteen 30-minute documentaries rich with artifacts illustrating the contextual settings of the literary movement. Each episode has interviews with leading scholars and award-winning authors, as well as brief re-enactments of critical moments from the texts. Each program can be viewed as a "stand alone" or can be used as part of a series. Produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting, each episode is a rich and compelling entry into a literary movement. Videos can be ordered through the Annenberg Media catalogue.

EPISODE 1: NATIVE VOICES
Native Americans created a rich and highly developed tradition of oral literatures in the Americas. This episode opens the series exploring that richness by introducing Native American oral traditions through the work of three contemporary authors: Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna Pueblo), Simon Ortiz (Acoma Pueblo), and Luci Tapahonso (Navajo).

Interviews
Joy Harjo, Poet/Musician, Professor of English (UCLA) (Muscogee/Creek)
Rex Lee Jim, Writer (Navajo)
N. Scott Momaday, Pulitzer Prize winning author (Kiowa/Cherokee)
Simon Ortiz, Author (Acoma Pueblo)
Greg Sarris, Professor of English (Loyola Marymount University) (Coast Miwok Tribal Chairman/Pomo)
Luci Tapahonso, Author, (Navajo)


EPISODE 2: EXPLORING BORDERLANDS
Chicana writer Gloria Anzaldúa tells us that the border is "una herida abierta [an open wound] where…the lifeblood of two worlds is merging to form a third country-a border culture." This episode explores the literature of the Chicano borderlands and its beginnings in the literature of Spanish Colonization.

Interviews
Gloria Anzaldúa, Author
Cherrie Moraga, Author
Juan Bruce-Novoa, Professor of Spanish and Portuguese (University of California, Irvine)
Maria Herrera-Sobek, Professor of Chicana Studies (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Sonia Saldivar-Hull, Professor of English (University of Texas, San Antonio)
Elliot Young, Assistant Professor of English (Lewis and Clark College)


EPISODE 3: UTOPIAN PROMISE
When British colonists landed in the Americas they created communities that they hoped would serve as a "light onto the nations." But what role would the native inhabitants play in this new model community? This episode compares the answers of two important groups, the Puritans and Quakers, and exposes the lasting influence they had upon American identity.

Interviews
Michael J. Colacurcio, Professor of American Literary and Intellectual History to 1900 (UCLA)
Emory Elliott, Literary Scholar and Professor of English (University of California, Riverside)
Gary Nash, Award winning author and Professor of American History (UCLA)
Priscilla Wald, Associate Professor of English (Duke University)


EPISODE 4: SPIRIT OF NATIONALISM
The Enlightenment brought new ideals and a new notion of selfhood to the American colonies. This episode begins with an examination of the importance of the trope of the self-made man in Benjamin Franklin's autobiography, and then turns to the development of this concept in the writings of Romanticist Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Interviews
Michael J. Colacurcio, Professor of American Literary and Intellectual History to 1900 (UCLA)
Bruce Michelson, Author and Professor of English (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
Carla Mulford, Associate Professor of English (Pennsylvania State University)
Dana Nelson, Professor of American Literature (University of Kentucky)
John Carlos Rowe, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, (University of California, Irvine)
Rafia Zafar, Director of African and Afro-American Studies (Washington University, St. Louis)
April R. Selley, Associate Professor of English (The College of Saint Rose)


EPISODE 5: MASCULINE HEROES
In 1898, Frederick Jackson Turner declared the frontier as the defining feature of American Culture, but American authors had uncovered its significance much earlier. This episode turns to three key writers of the early national period (James Fenimore Cooper, John Rollin Ridge, and Walt Whitman) and examines the influential visions of American manhood offered by each author.

Interviews
Sherman Alexie, Award winning author and filmmaker
Blake Allmendinger, Author and Professor of English (UCLA)
Ramon Saldivar, Author and Professor of American Literature (Stanford University)
April Selley, Associate Professor of English (The College of Saint Rose)
Richard Slotkin, Author and Professor of American Studies (Wesleyan University)


EPISODE 6: GOTHIC UNDERCURRENTS
What was haunting the American nation in the 1850s? The three writers treated in this episode, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Emily Dickinson, use poetry and prose to explore the dark side of nineteenth-century America.

Interviews
Nina Baym, Norton Anthologies Lead Editor
Emory Elliott, Literary Scholar and Professor of English (University of California, Riverside)
Karen Halttunen, Author and Professor of History (University of California, Davis)
Robert Stone, Award winning author, Poet and Professor of English (Yale University)
Priscilla Wald, Associate Professor of English (Duke University)


EPISODE 7: SLAVERY & FREEDOM
How has Slavery shaped the American Literary Imagination and American Identity? This episode turns to the classic slave narratives of Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglass, and the fiction of Harriet Beecher Stowe. What rhetorical strategies do their works use to construct an authentic and authoritative American self?

Interviews
Nina Baym, Norton Anthologies Lead Editor
Frederick Douglass IV, Great-Great Grandson of Fredrick Douglass
John Carlos Rowe, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, (University of California, Irvine)
Richard Yarborough, Associate Professor of English and African American Studies (UCLA)
Rafia Zafar, Director of African and Afro-American Studies, (Washington University, St. Louis)


EPISODE 8: REGIONAL REALISM
Set in the antebellum American South, but written after Emancipation, Mark Twain's novel Adventure's of Huckleberry Finn remains a classic of American Literature. This episode compare Twain's depiction of Southern vernacular culture to that of Charles Chestnutt and Kate Chopin, and in doing so, introduces the hallmarks of American Realism.

Interviews
Jocelyn Chadwick, Author and Associate Professor of Education (Harvard University)
Emory Elliott, Literary Scholar and Professor of English (University of California, Riverside)
Bruce Michelson, Author and Professor of English (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
Nell Irvin Painter, Award winning author, Director of African-American Studies and the Edwards Professor of American History (Princeton)


EPISODE 9: SOCIAL REALISM
This episode presents the authors of the American Gilded Age, such as Edith Wharton, and juxtaposes them with social realists like Anzia Yezierska. These writers expose the double world that made up turn of the century New York: that of the elite, and that of the poorest of the poor. Which of these realities is the more truly American?

Interviews
Judith Baskin, Author, Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies (University of Oregon)
Bruce Michelson, Author and Professor of English (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
Abby H.P. Werlock, Author, Former President of the Edith Wharton Society.


EPISODE 10: RHYTHMS IN POETRY
Amidst the chaos following World War I, Ezra Pound urged poets to "Make it New!" This call was heeded by poets, ranging from T.S. Eliot to Jean Toomer. This episode explores the modernist lyrics of two of these poets: William Carlos Williams and Langston Hughes. The program asks, "What is modernism? How did these poets start a revolution that continues until this day?"

Interviews
Jacqueline K. Dirks, Associate Professor of History and Humanities (Reed College)
Pancho Savery, Author and Professor of English (Reed College)
Lisa M. Steinman, Poet and Chair of the English Department (Reed College)
Alice Walker, Award winning author and poet
Rafia Zafar, Director of African and Afro-American Studies, (Washington University, St. Louis)


EPISODE 11: MODERNIST PORTRAITS
Jazz filled the air and wailed against the night. Caught in the sway, American prose writers traveled to Paris and sought the forbidden-the slang, the dialects, and the rhythms of the folk and of everyday life. Writers such as Hemingway, Stein, and Fitzgerald forged a new style: one which silhouetted the geometry of language, crisp in its own cleanness.

Interviews
Emory Elliott, Literary Scholar and Professor of English (University of California, Riverside)
Pancho Savery, Author and Professor of English (Reed College)
Catharine Stimpson, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Science (New York University)
Robert Stone, Award winning author, Poet and Professor of English (Yale University)


EPISODE 12: MIGRANT STRUGGLE
Americans have often defined themselves through their relationship to the land, and by the early 20th c. this relationship had taken on social and political ramifications. This episode traces the social fiction of three key American voices: that of John Steinbeck, Carlos Bulosan, and Helena Maria Viramontes.

Interviews
Cherrie Moraga, Playwright and Artist in Residence (Stanford University)
Louis Owens, Award winning author and Professor of English (Choctaw/Cherokee) (University of California, Davis)
Vicky Ruiz, Professor of History and Chicano/Latino Studies (University of California, Irvine)
Sonia Saldivar-Hull, Professor of English (University of Texas, San Antonio)
Greg Sarris, Professor of English (Loyola Marymount University) (Coast Miwok Tribal Chairman/Pomo)
Helena Maria Viramontes, Featured author


EPISODE 13: SOUTHERN RENAISSANCE
What secrets lurk in the American South in this era between world wars? This episode uncovers the revisioning of Southern myths during the modernist era by writers William Faulkner and Zora Neale Hurston.

Interviews
Dorothy Allison, Award winning author
Don H. Doyle, Nelson Tyrone, Jr., Professor of History (Vanderbilt University)
Carla Kaplan, Author and Professor of Literature, American Studies and Gender Studies (University of Southern California)
Ramon Saldivar, Author and Professor of American Literature (Stanford University)
Alice Walker, Award winning author and poet
Rafia Zafar, Director of African and Afro-American Studies, (Washington University, St. Louis)


EPISODE 14: BECOMING VISIBLE
This episode guides the viewer through the works and contexts of ethnic writers from 1945-1965. Starting with the works of Ralph Ellison, Philip Roth, and N. Scott Momaday, we explore the way writers from the margins took over the center of American culture.

Interviews
Judith Baskin, Author, Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies (University of Oregon)
John Callahan, Ralph Ellison's Literary Executor and Morgan S. Odell Professor of Humanities (Lewis & Clark College)
Joy Harjo, Poet/Musician, Professor of English (UCLA) (Muscogee/Creek)
N. Scott Momaday, Pulitzer Prize winning author
Greg Sarris, Professor of English (Loyola Marymount University) (Coast Miwok Tribal Chairman/Pomo)
Pancho Savery, Author and Professor of English (Reed College)
Eric Sundquist, Professor of English (UCLA)
Wendy Wasserstein, Tony Award, Dramatists Guild Award, and Pulitzer Prize winning Playwright


EPISODE 15: POETRY OF LIBERATION
For many, the 1960s mark the true end of modern America. Whereas the modernists remained serious about the transcendent nature of art, the artists of the 1960s wanted an art that was relevant. They wanted an art that not only spoke about justice, but also helped create it. This episode explores the innovations made in American poetry in the 1960s and 1970s by Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka, and Adrienne Rich.

Interviews
Michael Bibby, Associate Professor of English (Shippensburg University)
Maria Damon, Author and Associate Professor of English (University of Minnesota)
Anne Waldman, Author, Poet and Co-founder of The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics (Naropa University, Boulder)
Crystal Williams, Author, Poet and Assistant Professor of Creative Writing (Reed College)


EPISODE 16: SEARCH FOR IDENTITY
Even as the poets were fostering a rebellion, contemporary prose writers began creating a new American Tradition comprised of many strands, many voices, and many myths about the past. This episode closes the series by exploring the search for identity by three American writers: Maxine Hong Kingston, Sandra Cisneros, and Leslie Feinberg.

Interviews
Dorothy Allison, Award winning author
Mary Pat Brady, Assistant Professor of English and Latino Studies, (Cornell University)
Patricia Chu, Author and Associate Professor of English (George Washington University)
Sandra Cisneros, Award Winning Author and Poet
Leslie Feinberg, political activist, journalist, and author of Stone Butch Blues, Transgender Warriors, and TransLiberation: Beyond Pink or Blue.
Greg Sarris, Professor of English (Loyola Marymount University) (Coast Miwok Tribal Chairman/Pomo)




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