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April 20, 2016

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Dr. Laura L. Runge
Office: CPR 360 D
Phone: 813-974-9496

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LIT 4930: Florida Literature and Culture

Instructor: Laura Runge (CPR 360D/ Office hours TBD);
TA: Heather Fox (CPR 321/ T/Th 9:30-10:30)
Cross-listed HIS 3930.007 and HUM 4930.001
Spring 2016
Time: Tuesday / Thursday
Room: CPR 460

  • Assignments
  • Related Sites

    1. Course Description

      This is an upper-level English course (cross-listed with History and Humanities and Cultural Studies) featuring the literature and culture of our home place, Florida. Students will read place theory alongside of poetry, fiction and essays of Florida with a heavy focus on twentieth century. Students will conduct primary and secondary source research prompted by the guiding questions: what is our understanding of place in Florida and how is it constructed? How have constructions of place changed over the course of the twentieth century? How do we create place attachment in a culture of high mobility? What role does nature play in Florida places? The course features the literature of Jose Yglesias, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Zora Neale Hurston, Stephen Crane, Carl Hiassen, contemporary nature writers and poets, and many more. Students will work in the Special Collections Hampton Dunn Florida Postcard Collection and the Florida Digital Postcard Environment to conduct multi-modal research projects. Students will be engaged in the study of place attachment by visiting local places and through contemplative pedagogical exercises both critical and creative in nature. As part of the CREATTE program through the Office of Undergraduate Research, students will be able to get research credit and present their work at the OUR annual colloquium.


      Place is a meaningful location; it has particular material conditions and a relationship to the human capacity to produce meaning; it is also a way of being and knowing in the world. This course invites us to look at our home place, Florida, and study what it means using literature as one of several factors in the construction of meaning. Inspired by an article called "Teaching Hometown Literature: A Pedagogy of Place," this course invites students to discover and engage with the literature of our home. In many ways Florida's unique physical environment and history cause it to stand apart from regional study; Florida cannot, for example, be encompassed by the idea of "The South." Moreover, the cultural hybridity of Florida has produced a significant, if under-studied, literature, emphasizing the limitless potential and paradisal promise of this unique land.

        But the tremendous growth of Florida in the twentieth century has led to serious environmental problems, and the human impact on the environment constitutes a major thread in literary representation we will be studying. The environmental challenges now facing inhabitants of this place make attention to Florida a critical issue. How might the literature of Florida contribute to our understanding of our home place? Conversely, how does this unique, beautiful and diverse environment shape the literature written upon it?

      Students will read a variety of authors and literature, including contemporary nature essays, short stories, novels, and poems by authors such as Stephen Crane, Zora Neale Hurston, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Elizabeth Bishop, Wallace Stevens, Hart Crane, Carl Hiassen, John Fleming, Jay Hopler, Campbell McGrath, and Jose Iglesias. We will read theories of place and place attachment from philosophy, cultural geography, art and psychology, and discuss topics in ecocriticism, animal studies, history and ecology of Florida.

      Operating with the assumption that literature gains in meaning from experiencing the site of its production, the class will travel to one or two specific literary locations, including Ybor City. Resources from previous classes, including videos of previous guest lecturers from geography, philosophy, geology and history, will be available. Early in the semester we will learn about USF's unique library holdings in the Florida Studies Collection, with Melanie Griffin, and we will have two sessions in the digital media center to develop our digital literacies and skills in preparation for the research project. If weather permits, we may even hold class in the Poetry Garden at USF Botanical Gardens. This experimental class departs from the standard lecture-discussion format by implementing contemplative pedagogy, such as meditation, in-class writing, and contemplative photography. These methods make space for slow, mindful consideration of a text and the environment. The class borrows a proposition from contemplative environmental studies that sees a parallel between inner well being and the well being of the planet. Our focus will be local.

      This course is appropriate for anyone interested in Florida, literature and the environment, theories of place and ecocriticism, nature writing and contemporary literature, and contemplative pedagogy. This course counts as an elective for English majors and a cultural-critical requirement. Some mobility will be necessary for field trips, which are contingent upon permissions; accommodations will be made as needed but students requiring accommodation should inform the instructor at the start of class.

    Course Objectives

  • To develop a deep understanding of Florida as a place, natural and constructed, in which different groups of beings interact to produce meaning;
  • To experience Florida from multiple perspectives of scale, discipline, history, physical being, and social kind (this includes 1 or 2 field trips to meaningful sites in Florida connected to our course material);
  • Through reading and writing, to develop knowledge of a range literary works concerned with Florida as well as theories of place, ecocriticism, and nature writing, and to practice critical thinking and writing skills necessary for literary and historical analysis;
  • To foster the skills and knowledge derived from a regular practice of attention, both to self and subject, through the course of a semester; that is, through focused attention and a practice of awareness, this course will engage students in understanding one's home place as a personal journey and an external exploration;
  • To develop and bring to completion an original research project on a Florida place;
  • To develop digital literacy in service of our research on Florida places.

  • Required Materials

    Tim Cresswell, Place: a short introduction, Wiley-Blackwell, 2015 ISBN 9780470655627
    Ed. Jeff Ripple and Susan Cerulean, The Wild Heart of Florida, UP of Florida, 1999, ISBN 0813016568
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, The Yearling, Aladdin, 2001 ISBN 0689846231
    John Fleming, Fearsome Creatures, Pocol Press, 2009 ISBN 1929763409
    Carolina Hospital, Florida Literature: A Case Study, Bedford/St. Martin’s 2013, ISBN 978-1-4576-4202-9
    Jose Iglesias, The Truth About Them (1971), Arte Publico Press 1999 ISBN-10: 1558852735 ISBN-13: 978-1558852730
    Carl Hiaasen, The Dance of the Reptiles Vintage 2014 ISBN 978-0345807021

    Recommended Materials

    Michael Gannon, Florida a Short History, revised edition, UP Florida 2003 ISBN 0813026806

    Electronic Media

      Electronic Discussion We will be using the USF Canvas system for this class. You can gain access to it through My USF. You are automatically registered by virtue of being registered for this course.

    My website: information on class, assignments and links to other important sites on literature, etc.

    Other important websites are listed following the assignments.


    Notes for each class will be updated throughout the term

    Jan 12 Class 1: Introductions

      "Teaching Hometown Literature: A Pedagogy of Place," James M. Callahan (Canvas)
      Slideshow on Florida
      Review syllabus and assignments

    Jan 14 Class 2: Introduction to Florida Literature

      Florida Literature: A Case Study (FL), Introduction and Rowe, pages 1-9; Bishop (22-3); Stevens (125-127)
      Additional poems: "Florida," "Seascape," by Elizabeth Bishop; Hopler "Of the Dead so much less is expected," and "Academic Discourse" (Canvas)
      DUE Post #1 (everyone)

    Jan 19 Class 3: Digital Training with Kayt Ahnberg

      Meet in library, DMC first floor.
      Introduction to OUR from Dean Rick Pollenz
      DUE: Post 2 – group A, Response group B

    Jan 21 Class 4:

      Cresswell (Ch 1-2)
      Dave Barry (FL)
      DUE: Post 2 – group B, Response Group A

    Jan 26 Class 5

      Jose Yglesias, The Truth About Them
      DUE: Post 3 – group A, Response group B

    Jan 28 Class 6

      Jose Yglesias, The Truth About Them
      DUE: Post 3 – group B, Response Group A

    Feb 2 Class 7

      Jose Yglesias, The Truth About Them
      DUE: Post Post 4 – group A, Response group B

    Feb 4 Class 8

      Field trip to Ybor City - tour
      DUE: Post 4 – group B, Response Group A)

    Feb 9 Class 9

      Cresswell - Chaps 3-4, selected poems;
      Recommended: Gregory Byrd, "Aesthetics a the Southernmost Point: Towards a Definition of Florida Poetry" (Canvas)
      DUE: Post 5 – group A, Response group B

    Feb 11 Class 10

      Visit to Special Collections with Melanie Griffin
      Wild Heart of Florida
      DUE: Post 5 – group B, Response Group A

    Feb 16 Class 11

      Wild Heart of Florida
      DUE: Post 6 – group A, Response group B

    Feb 18 Class 12

      Wild Heart of Florida
      DUE: Post 6 – group B, Response Group A

    Feb 23 Class 13

      Field Trip - Botanical Gardens
      Excerpt from William Bartram's Travels
      Due: Post 7 – group A, Response group B

    Feb 25 Class 14

      Postcard training
      Due: Midterm Essay Microdraft; Post 7 - group B, Response group A

    Mar 1 Class 15

      The Yearling
      DUE: Post 8 - group A, response group B

    Mar 3 Class 16

      The Yearling
      DUE: Post 8 – group B, Response Group A

    Mar 8 Class 17

      The Yearling
      DUE: Post 9 – group A, Response group B

    Mar 10 Class 18

      The Yearling
      DUE: Midterm Essay; Post 9 – group B, Response Group A

    USF Spring Break March 14-18

    Mar 22 Class 19

      Digital multi-modal training - Meet in Library DMC
      Due: Post 10 – group A, Response group B

    Mar 24 Class 20

      Crane’s "The Open Boat"
      Due: Post 10 – group B, Response Group A

    Mar 29 Class 21

      Hurston’s "Sweat," and from Mules and Men
      DUE: Postcard project Outline with Research; Post 11 – group A, Response group B

    Mar 31 Class 22

      Stetson Kennedy's essay, "A Florida Treasure Hunt."
      The essay may be found using this link:
      Maxine D. Jones’s essay “No Longer Denied: Black Women in Florida, 1920-1950” (PDF in Canvas)
      Audio files of songs and folk tales

      DUE: Post 11 – group B, Response Group A

    Apr 5 Class 23

      Hurricane Andrew FL
      DUE: Post 12 – group A, Response group B

    Apr 7 Class 24

      Fleming's Fearsome Creatures
      Post 12 – group B, Response Group A

    Apr 12 Class 25

      Selected Animal poems and essays: Elizabeth Bishop, "The Fish,” "Roosters,"; Meinke, “The Vietnamese Fisherman on Tampa Bay," "Goalfish," "Ibises," "Chicken Unlimited," "The Death of the Pilot Whales" (Canvas)
      John Mortimer Murphy, "Alligator Shooting in Florida" (1899), in Tales of Old Florida ed. Frank Oppel and Tony Meisel, (New York: Castle, 1987): 353:364. (Canvas)
      Post 13 – group A, Response group B

    Apr 14 Class 26

      Work day
      DUE: Post 13 – group B, Response Group A

    Apr 19 Class 27

      Work day
      DUE: Post 14 – group a, Response Group b

    Apr 21 Class 28

      Student Presentations
      DUE: Mapping Projects;
      No Posts due.

    Apr 26 Class 29

      Student Presentations
      DUE: Postcard Projects

    Apr 28 Reading period - no class

    DUE MAY 3: Take-home Essay Exam due

    ** Students who anticipate the necessity of being absent from class due to the observation of a major religious observance must provide notice of the date(s) to the instructor, in writing, by the second class meeting.

    ** In the event of an emergency, it may be necessary for USF to suspend normal operations. During this time, USF may opt to continue delivery of instruction through methods that include but are not limited to: Canvas, Elluminate, Skype, and email messaging and/or an alternate schedule. It is the responsibility of the student to monitor the Canvas site for each class for course specific communication, and the main USF, College, and department websites, emails, and MoBull messages for important general information.

    Graded Assignments

    Attendance/Participation in all class activities 15%

    Weekly Posts and responses (15) 20%

    Midterm Essay 15%

    Mapping Project 5%

    Post card Project

      Outline with research (15)
      Postcard project (70)
      Presentation (15)
        Total 25%

    Take-home Essay Exam 20%

    Description of graded assignments

    Attendance and Participation in all class activities:

    We will be conducting regular creative and reflection exercises in class which students are expected to complete. I recommend highly that you keep a notebook - either tangible or electronic - to record this work. The work produced in class can feed into the other assignments, such as midterm essay and your take-home final. I will expect to see evidence of your participation in these in-class activities and will keep a weekly record.

    Weekly writings to discussion board:

    For each class, even when field trips or guest lecturers are scheduled, students will be expected to post either an informal writing on the week's reading or a response to a fellow student's post to the class discussion board on Canvas. Notes and discussion questions will be posted on the syllabus, linked to the date of the class. Students should read and respond to one of the questions. These will be open ended and reflective in nature. The posts should be a minimum of 250 words in length; responses a minimum of 100. They will be evaluated on a 3-point scale (2 for post; 1 for response) for the effort put into the writing. Full effort will be recognized by the timely submission of a writing meeting the minimal length and engaged in the subject of the class for that week. If you do not hear any response from me, you have received full credit for the post. I will only contact you regarding a post if it falls short of expectations. Students are expected to read the posts of their fellow students before posting so as to avoid repeating the same information and to engage in a conversation that builds on shared knowledge. These are informal in nature and therefore can be explorative, inquisitive, risk-taking. The idea is not to look for the single correct answer but to expand your understanding of the subjects.

    On days when we meet for discussion, these posts will form the beginning point for our class work, and so I expect students to take the assignment seriously. For more information on the ways in which this assignment facilitates learning, please see my general description on weekly posts.
    Posts are due by 7 pm the night before class, so that students will have an opportunity to read the posts before me meet at 11:00am.

    Midterm Essay

    Please construct this essay in two stages. For the first stage, a microdraft will be due on Feb. 25 uploaded through Canvas. The final essay will be due Mar 10 uploaded through Canvas.

    Both products should be formatted with 1 inch margins, double-spaced with 12 point font, proper header and page number, and written in formal, grammatical prose.

    Objective: to apply one or more place theory(ies) (from Cresswell) to understand the question "how is place constructed in this literary work?" or "what is the meaning of place in this literary work?"

    Guidelines: choose a poem, essay or section of the novel we have read from class as your analytical subject. Consider how place is represented in the work -- consider both the denotative and the connotative meanings of the language used to construct place. Examine the meaning of place given one or more the place theories from class. Explain the theory and how the application of the theory to the literary work gives us greater understanding of the meaning of place represented.


      Microdraft - identify the subject of your essay, your theory of place (with 1-2 sentence explanation) and the reason why this application is meaningful. Provide a outline of the ideas you expect to cover, including the thesis statement. (Your thesis should be some form of an answer to the question: "how is place constructed in this literary work?" or "what is the meaning of place in this literary work?") Finally write one full paragraph of analysis as a sample of your thinking and writing process.

      Final essay -- your final essay should be between 900 and 1200 words in carefully structured paragraphs. The answer to your research question should be supported with at least three solid examples from the text. Use proper quotation and citation rules, and include a list of works cited.

    Mapping Project

    Using Google My Maps or My Stories |Story Maps, students will create a series of layered visualizations of travel and place across Florida connected to personal, historical and literary journeys. In the last week of class, students will turn in a 2-3 page write-up of the maps with a link to their projects.

      Minimum expectations

      Personal layer -- map your everyday practice of place, an individual “place ballet” tracking the mundane and repeated acts of placemaking in your life. We will begin this with instruction in class after reading place theories. You do not have to make this information public.

      Historical layer – select a historical theme related to your research and map it with historical information (e.g. military places, transit, segregation, population growth, development of townships).

      Literary layers – select a minimum of five titles from the syllabus to map, including The Truth About Them and The Yearling. Consider how you will map fictional versus non-fictional places. For example, you might decide to map the travel of the main character or multiple characters, or you might map the place of the narrative. Select places named or mentioned in the text and annotate with literary reference. Connect it , when possible to relevant historical or geographical information. For the longer literary works, you need not reference every single place name, but be sure to map the most significant places and explain their significance.

      For each layer, you should identify a minimum of five places with supplemental information (text, images, routes).

      For the write up, analyze the maps you have created and identify any themes that emerge. What does the aggregate map tell you?


    Post Card Research Project

    As an example of the construction of place through cultural documents, students will be introduced to the Hampton Dunn Florida Postcard Collection in USF Library Special Collection. This collection is the subject of my current funded digital research project, the Florida Digital Postcard Environment, and it is the early stages of development. Students will be introduced to the digital interface for the Hillsborough County postcards and they will identify a particular landmark or postcard subject to be the source of their historical and cultural inquiry.
    Objective: for students to identify and analyze a local place of interest in Florida represented in the postcards, to research the subject of the postcard (history, geography, cultural significance, role in literature and the arts, association with famous person(s), etc.), to visit and record representations of the place as it is today, and to analyze the now and then construction of place meaning and attachment. The guiding research questions are: what is our understanding of place in Florida and how is it constructed? How have constructions of place changed over the course of the twentieth century? How do we create place attachment in a culture of high mobility? What role does nature play in Florida places?
    Using Hampton Dunn’s own newspaper columns from the early 1990s, called “Then and Now,” students will have a template for researching and presenting information on the places represented in historic postcards.
    The instructor and TA will design scaffolded assignments for the undergraduate researchers to identify their individual subjects of research in the postcards. We will lead them through the three stages of design: researching the postcard subject; visiting and recording information on the place as it is today; applying one or more of the defined research questions and analyzing the significant aspects of place construction revealed by two sets of data.
    Students will be required to create a multi-modal display of their research and analysis, and to make a presentation of research during the last week of class with the goal of preparing them for public presentations. We will encourage all of the students to present their work at the Office of Undergraduate Research colloquium. If possible, we will organize an event for students to present research in the English Department. Additionally, we will advertise to our students opportunities for presenting research at the Florida Undergraduate Research Conference or other appropriate venues.

    For more detailed information, please see documents on Canvas.

    Take-home final essay exam

    More details will be available at the end of the course.

    This syllabus is subject to change.

    Related Sites

    Florida Digital Postcard Environment; this is a work in progress. Please browse the postcards and select one for your research.

    Florida Literature and Culture Library Resource Guide

    American Panorama: An Atlas of United States History American Panorama is created by the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond. Robert K. Nelson and Edward L. Ayers serve as editors, Scott Nesbit as an associate editor. Justin Madron manages the project's spatial data. Nathaniel Ayers leads the design work. This site includes the Foreign Born mapping by decade.

    Walking Tour of Historic Ybor.

    Resource Guide for Digital Humanities assembled by Katherine Ahnberg of the University of South Florida.

    USF Library Digital Media Commons: The USF Library Digital Media Commons (DMC) is a multimedia production area which provides equipment, instruction, creative space, and assistance to USF students and faculty. Our digital space enables patrons to work independently with studio equipment and software. Additional consultative help within the DMC is also available.

    USF Office of Undergraduate Research

    The Florida Digital Postcard Exhibit. The Florida Digital Postcard exhibit is a curated presentation of the digitized images from The Hampton Dunn Florida Postcard collection housed in the University of South Florida Libraries Special Collections.

    Florida Humanities Council: Established in 1973 as a private non-profit organization, FHC is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. FHC uses the disciplines of the humanities to develop public programs and resources that explore history, literary and artistic traditions, cultural values and ethics.

    Florida Maps excellent resource for digitized maps, many from the USF special collections. Organized historically. Hosted by College of Education, USF.

    Exploring Florida Social Studies resources for Florida, including history and maps, excellent links on Native Americans. Thousands of resources for use in the classroom.Part of the College of Education at USF and the Florida Center for Instructional Technology.

    Florida Outdoor Writers Association Chartered in 1946, FOWA is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) statewide paid professional communicators organization made up of outdoor communicators who report and reflect upon Florida's diverse interests in the outdoors to educate and encourage the public in ways to protect and conserve our natural heritage. Members cover a variety of outdoor topics including, fishing, hunting, boating, conservation, and all aspects of the environment. They are freelance writers, book authors, columnists, publishers, editors, broadcasters in radio and television, photographers, videographers, artists, illustrators, Web site designers, writers, editors, public information officers and public relations professionals.

    The Florida Book ReviewThe Florida Book Review features reviews of books with Florida settings or subjects, or of special interest to Floridians, as well as interviews and essays about Florida's literary scene. It has a new essay on Stephen Crane's relationship to Florida and Jose Marti.

    Florida Writers Association A helpful website of the association; info on connecting to other writers, the annual conference and more.

    Florida Literary Arts Coalition Blog on the news of literary events around Florida; hosted by an important group that organizes lots of speakers/readings.

    Florida Book Awards, blog. The Florida Book Awards is an annual awards program that recognizes, honors, and celebrates the best Florida literature published in the previous year.

    Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment: (ASLE, pronounced "AZ-lee") is a dynamic community of teachers, writers, students, artists and environmentalists interested in the natural world and its meanings and representations in language and culture. ASLE seeks to facilitate interdisciplinary and innovative approaches to the study of nature and culture through forms such as nature writing, art, ecocritical scholarship, pedagogy, science writing, poetry, music creative writing, and film, among other forms. This association publishes the leading journal in this field, ISLE and hosts a bi-annual conference.

    Saw Palm The literary journal published by the Department of English at USF, Saw Palm seeks to capture the unique experience of Florida life, landscape, and trope through the work of artists and writers in-state and out. Established as a web journal in 2006 by John Henry Fleming and the students of the MFA Creative Writing Program at the University of South Florida, Saw Palm began publishing a print version and taking subscriptions in 2008.

    Research on Space and Place: An informational site built by Dr. Bruce Janz of UCF. Though the site needs updating, it is valuable for its many references to works related to place.

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