English R1B

Reading and Composition: Mariners, Renegades and Castaways

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
8 Fall 2007 Cody Marrs
TTh 9:30-11:00 221 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"Herman Melville, Billy Budd, Sailor (An Inside Narrative) , Benito Cereno, Selected Poems

Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano

Richard Henry Dana, Jr., Two Years Before the Mast

Frederick Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom

Diane Hacker, Rules for Writers (5 th edition)

A course reader including selections from the following: Venture Smith, A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Venture, a Native of Africa; Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker, The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic; Edgar Allan Poe, �MS Found in a Bottle�; Cotton Mather, Instructions to the Living, from the Condition of the Dead; Walt Whitman, �Passage to India�; Ian Baucom, Specters of the Atlantic: Finance Capital, Slavery, and the Philosophy of History; Thomas Farber, On Water"


"This course, designed to train you in the practice of critical reading and writing, will focus on literature about sailors and slaves in the era of Atlantic revolution. We will examine sea-chronicles, novels, ballads, and slave-narratives in order to ask: How have conceptions of liberty and servitude taken shape from the eighteenth century onwards? How has the sea functioned as a political metaphor to negotiate anxieties about race, gender, and the nature and origins of government? And how has the idea of America � always changing, always potent � been mobilized through the imagery and experiences of workers on the sea � �mariners, renegades, and castaways,� as Melville dubs them in Moby-Dick? In and via these motley texts, we will investigate the various forms of freedom and unfreedom � from indentured servitude to wage-labor and outright slavery � upon which the modern Atlantic world has been, and continues to be, based.

Since this class is meant to help you develop your writing skills, considerable emphasis will be placed on learning the methods and techniques of argumentative exposition. In the first half of the semester students will compose a series of short essays (3-4 pages) which will be shared with the class. After this groundwork is completed, each student will compose a research prospectus, and, at the end of the semester, produce a final essay of approximately 10 pages. "

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