Nov. 25, 2014
Courses and Syllabi
Dr. Laura L. Runge
Office: CPR 360 D
LIT 6934 Literature of Place: Florida
Room: CPR 257
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.
Students will read a variety of authors and literature, ranging from the travel
narratives of William Bartram in the eighteenth century to the essays, short stories, novels, and poems by authors including Stephen
Crane, Zora Neale Hurston, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Elizabeth Bishop, Wallace Stevens,
Hart Crane, Carl Hiassen, John Fleming, Jay Hopler, Campbell McGrath, Jose Iglesias and Enid Shomer. We will read theories
of place and place attachment from philosophy, cultural geography, art and psychology, as well as readings in ecocriticism, animal studies,
history and ecology of Florida.
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?
This course is appropriate for anyone interested in Florida, literature and the environment, theories of
place and ecocriticism, nature writing and contemporary literature, contemplative pedagogy and engaged learning.
This course counts as a literature elective for MFA students, as a theory-rich course and an
elective in critical cultural studies.
Operating with the assumption that literature gains in meaning from experiencing the site of its
production, the class will travel to specific literary locations, including Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
home, Ybor City, Hillsborough River State Park,
and Payne's Prairie. We will view videos of previous guest lecturers from disciplines other than
English, such as geography, philosophy and history, and we will have one guided "swamp-walk" with USF hydrogeologist
Mark Rains. Early in the semester we will learn about USF's unique library holdings in the Florida Studies Collection, with
Andy Huse. 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, journaling, 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. |
To engage students in a deep understanding of Florida as a place, natural and
constructed, in which different groups of beings interact to produce meaning;
To engage students in experiencing Florida from multiple perspectives of scale,
discipline, history, physical being, and social kind (this includes field trips to meaningful
sites in Florida connected to our course material);
Through reading and writing, to engage students in knowledge of a range literary works
concerned with Florida as well as theories of place, ecocriticism, nature writing and more;
To introduce expertise from other disciplines through the lectures and participation
of guest lecturers;
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 provide a forum for the students' expression of their ideas and a community to
support the pursuit of new knowledge (this includes sharing student work in public
spaces, such as a class discussion board or public blog);
To produce a body of original work, critical and creative in nature, that furthers
the student's own intellectual and personal goals.
Florida map (any kind, but have it available both when reading and in class)
Lawrence Buell, The Future of Environmental Criticism, Wiley-Blackwell, 2005 ISBN 1405124768
Tim Cresswell, Place: a short introduction, Wiley-Blackwell, 2004 ISBN 1405106727
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
Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Harper 2001 ISBN 0061120065
John Fleming, Fearsome Creatures, Pocol Press, 2009 ISBN 1929763409
Campbell McGrath, Florida Poems, Eco 2003, ISBN 0060527366
William Bartram’s Travels, Cosimo Classics, 2007 ISBN 1602066884
Michael Gannon, Florida a Short History, revised edition, UP Florida 2003 ISBN 0813026806
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
Enid Shomer, Tourist Season, Random House 2007 ISBN-10: 0345494423 ISBN-13: 978-0345494429
Priceless Florida: Natural Ecosystems and Native Species, Pineapple Press, 2004 ISBN 1561643084 [This is out of print. Please try used book outlets.]
Place Attachment: Advances in Theory, Methods and Applications ed. Lynn C Manzo and Patrick Devine-Wright, Routledge 2013, ISBN-10: 0415538211 / ISBN-13: 978-0415538213
Gregg Garrard, Ecocriticism, Routledge 2004 ISBN 0415196922
Other important websites are listed following the assignments.
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.
Notes for each class will be updated throughout the term
August 26 Class 1: Introductions
"Teaching Hometown Literature: A Pedagogy of Place," James M. Callahan (Canvas)
Slideshow on Florida
Review syllabus and assignments
Sept 2 Class 2: Place – Phenomenology of Florida
Cresswell, Place: A Short Introduction
September 9 Class 3: Florida – Place Attachment
Heidegger, “Dwelling,” (Canvas)
Florida Literature: A Case Study, Introduction and pages 1-23 (Rowe, Barry, Bishop) Stevens (125-127)
Additional poems: "Florida," "Seascape," by Elizabeth Bishop; "Fabliau of Florida," "O, Florida, Venereal Soil,"
"Farewell to Florida," Wallace Stevens; Hopler "Of the Dead so much less is expected," and "Academic Discourse" (Canvas)
DUE Post #1
Enid Shomer, Tourist Season
September 16 Class 4: History and Place: The Local -- Ybor City
Manzo, Devine-Wright, Place Attachment: Advances in Theory, Methods and Applications (introduction, Chapter one (Seamon)
and Chapter six (DiMasso, Dixon, Durrheim) and a chapter of your selection from part one)
DUE: Post #2
Review video: Robert Ingalls, Professor Emeritus, History, USF (Canvas)
September 23 Class 5: Field Trip to Ybor City
Jose Iglesias, The Truth About Them
Jose Iglesias, "The Radical Latino Island in the South," Tampa Bay History Spring 1996. (USF library journals online and Canvas)
Start Gannon's Florida: A Short History
Visit to Spec Collections, USF Library 3:45- 4:45 with Andy Huse
DUE: Post #3
September 30 Class 6: Early Settlement
“Remembering Jose Yglesias,” by Mary Jo Tutterow, Tampa Review 13 (Fall/Winter 1996): 15-23 (Canvas)
Pred, "Place as Historically Contingent Process" (Canvas)
DUE: Post #4
October 7 Class 7: Home and Wilderness
Selections from Campbell McGrath's Florida Poems (including on the Calusa)
Betty Sue Cummings, from Say These Names (Florida Literature, 49-50)
“Ecocriticism and the Long Eighteenth Century” by Christopher Hitt (Canvas)
DUE: Post #5
Form Collaborative Groups
Photo Essay on Ybor City
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, The Yearling, selections from Cross Creek (Canvas)
October 11 -- SATURDAY FIELD TRIP-- Payne's Prairie and Cross Creek
"Sweet Home" by Lucy Lippard, chapter one,pp. 22-31 (Canvas)
DUE: Midterm evaluation (Canvas)
Collaborative project one page plan
October 14 Class 8: Nature and the Environment
Buell, Future of Environmental Criticism
October 21 Class 9: FIELD TRIP -- HILLSBOROUGH RIVER STATE PARK
Recommended for those less familiar with ecocriticism: Garrard's Ecocriticism
Selections from Wild Heart -- Opening through p. 68 (essays by Cerulean, Smith, White, Haskins, R. Ripple, Carr, Stap, Burt, J. Ripple)
Individual Critical/Creative Project one page plan
Selections from Jahoda's River of Golden Ibis (Canvas)
October 28 Class 10: Home and Community
Review video of Bob Brinkmann, Professor of Geography, USF (Canvas)
Photo Essay on Cross Creek / Payne's Prairie
Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, selections from Mules and Men
November 4 Class 11: Storms
James Weldon Johnson, excerpt from The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, in Florida Literature, p 93
"Homeplace: a site of resistance" by bell hooks (Canvas)
Photo Essay on HRSP
Stephen Crane's "The Open Boat," in Florida Literature
November 11 Class 12: Veteran's Day -- no meeting
“On Hurricane Andrew” by John M. Williams and Iver Duedall in Florida Literature, p. 147.
Janz, "Places that Disasters Leave Behind," (Canvas)
Collaborative project - oral update
Review video by -- Bruce Janz, Associate Professor of Humanities, University of Central Florida
November 18 Class 13: Walk in the Wetlands
DUE: Post #11
GUEST LECTURER: Mark Rains, Associate Professor of Geology. Class will meet at parking lot 8A.
November 25 Class 14: Animals of Florida
Review video lecture by Rains on deep time and Florida
Belleville, "Valley of Inches," in The Wild Heart of Florida
Recommended -- Selections from Priceless Florida - beginning through part one (CANVAS)
Due: Post #12
Fleming's Fearsome Creatures
December 2 Class 15: Conclusions
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)
Dekoven, "Why Animals Now?" PMLA 124.2 (March 2009): 361-369; (Canvas)
From Animals and Women Introduction by Josephine Donovan and Carol J. Adams, and Susanne Keppler's "Speciesism, Racism,
Nationalism, ...or the Power of Scientific Subjectivity" pp. 320-352 (Canvas)
DUE: Post #13
Photo Essay on field trip of your choice (due by this date)
Post Test / course Evals
DUE DECEMBER 9: Portfolios with critical/creative projects, self-assessment and evaluation of collaborative projects
A poem of student’s choice
Recommended: Gregory Byrd, "Aesthetics a the Southernmost Point: Towards a Definition of Florida Poetry" (Canvas)
Presentation of Collaborative Projects
DUE: Post #14
** 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.
Attendance/Participation in all class activities 10%
Weekly Posts (14) 15%
Photo journal on 3 field trips + 1 independent trip 5% each or 20%
Creative-Critical Writing Project 25%
Collaborative Place Attachment Project 20%
Description of graded assignments
Weekly writings to discussion board:
For each class, even when field trips or guest lecturers are scheduled, students will be expected to post an
informal writing on the week's reading 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 300 words in length. They will be evaluated on a 3-point scale 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.
Attendance and Participation in all class activities:
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
Posts are due by 9 pm the night before class, so that all students will have an opportunity to read the posts before me meet at 3:30.
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 the critical-creative project, leading class discussion, or a collaborative
place-attachment project. I will expect to see evidence of your participation in these
in-class activities and will keep a weekly record. Also, you may select from these
writings the most illustrative of your learning experience for inclusion in your semester portfolio.
Photo Journal of four field trips:
Students are expected to attend three scheduled class field trips plus one additional
independent field trip to a Florida place of your choice (approved by instructor).
If circumstances prohibit a student from attending the class trips, he or she may
be excused from one field trip but make-up work will be expected (in the form of
another individual field trip). We have a list of relatively easy-to-visit places
that are pre-approved for your trip, but you are welcome to make a suggestion for
your own place, particularly if you live outside the Tampa Bay area. The idea is to
travel to a place you have never been before, and so I don’t want you suggesting the
Starbucks in the library.
For each of these trips students will engage in the practice of contemplative
photography. Using guidelines discussed in class and based on the book The Practice of Contemplative
Photography: Seeing the World with Fresh Eyes, by Andy Karr and Michael Wood (Shambala 2011),
students will learn how to see clearly through photography. Students do not need to use elaborate equipment;
most cell phone cameras will do. If a student does not have access to a camera through personal
devices (cell phone, tablet, camera), digital cameras are available for students to borrow through
the Digital Media Commons on the first floor of the USF Library.
During your field trip, you will have the opportunity to explore the place slowly with camera
in hand. As you begin to see clearly using photography, you may capture images that
characterize your experience of the place. Record your experience in images.
After the field trip, take some time to curate your photos in a manner that matches
your vision of the experience. There are many ways to create a photo exhibit: applications or programs such as PowerPoint, Haiku Deck,
or poster making apps might be the easiest applications to use. You must be able to send me your photo journal in some form, so be careful of phone apps.
Your curation (with sufficient identifying text) is due one week from the time of the field trip. Four curations at 5% each will be due.
Creative-critical writing project:
This is the culminating independent work for the course. I encourage students to use
this project to meet their educational and program specific goals, whether for an
MA portfolio paper or MFA thesis contribution or PhD dissertation research or article
/ conference presentation. Early in the semester we will have an introduction to the Florida
Studies Special Collection in the USF Library that houses manuscripts and rare books on Florida.
I encourage students to use the opportunity to conduct original research in our unique holdings
on Florida and place. Regardless of the project, each student should engage in the research
process, which means identifying an individual question or problem that the student wants to
explore more deeply, finding resources to help you answer the question or solve the problem,
and producing some form of new knowledge to share your conclusions. I encourage you to move
outside the narrow parameters of literary criticism in this project and engage the multidisciplinary,
publically informed and critical/creative issues of place attachment. In most cases the project
should result in a formally written, original work, based in research, critical and/or creative
thought of approximately fifteen double-spaced pages (due in your portfolio by December 9). While
I expect most of you will opt to write a formal paper or creative work (MFA students only),
I am open to evaluating work done in more experimental modes, including video, web design, or hybrid forms.The project involves a significant question or problem related to place or place attachment in Florida, in Florida literature or to Florida more generally.
The project has clear intellectual goals.
The project outlines and executes a specific research agenda
The work engages more than one media (i.e. text and photography, music, video, etc.).
The project advances the student's own critical and/or creative development.
Students should consult with the instructor (and their peers) by mid-semester (September 30)
to discuss the nature of the project.
The project must meet the following objectives:
Excellent work may be eligible for prizes or conference presentation, and students should
consider applying for the 2015 ASLE conference and/or the Patrick Riordan Memorial Fellowship prize through USF Special Collections.
Collaborative Place Attachment Project:
What would happen if instead of writing papers, English graduate students solved problems,
collaborated, made things? These are the types of activities embraced in Digital
Humanities, and they can train students in methods that use skills often seen in employment
sectors outside of academia. For both of these reasons, this class will feature one
such group project. The tremendous population growth witnessed by Florida in the
20th century left in its wake a legacy of social, political, economic and ecological
problems. Drawing on the place attachment theories, methods and applications described
in Manzo and Devine-Wright (Routledge 2014), students will work in groups to plan
and make a place-attachment outreach project. The challenge is to find a way to make
visible how Florida literature can be a public benefit. Begin with a Florida problem
of place attachment (and most of our state’s problems can be assigned in one way or another
to place attachment). Form a group of students to brainstorm on how to mitigate or solve
the problem through place attachment. Outline a small, achievable project that addresses
the public on this issue. Collaborate to make a thing to share (e.g. a video to post on YouTube,
a blog to start on Wordpress, a public service campaign, an outreach program at a local
senior living center, a poetry garden [the last was done by a student in the first iteration
of this course and can be visited at the USF Botanical Gardens]). You can also take advantage of
social media venues, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin, etc. Digital projects can be
aided and developed with help from the Digital Media Commons
on the first floor of the library.
Each student must also submit a brief evaluation of the collaboration and project.
The goal is to have a complete thing made by the end of class, and so it is important to be practical about the scope of your project.
If you are ambitious, you might plan to continue the project outside the
timeframe of the class (the poetry garden was completed the following semester, for example).
The thing will be graded according the following criteria:
Clear, public communication of correct and appropriate information
Realistic problem-solving capacity
Rhetorical success: visual propriety, addresses the appropriate audience, propriety of language style and expression
The project will also be graded according to the following:
Individual assessment of group involvement
Clear expression of intentions: how does this thing solve a problem – research, planning, execution
Self-evaluation of the “thing”
Self-assessment and portfolio:
Due December 9, the portfolio will include your creative-critical projects in their final
form, your major writings or creations from the class, a selection of your most
evocative or illustrative writings in class and/or from the weekly posts, and your
self-assessment. Students can use the portfolio device on Canvas, and we will
decide as a group if we want to make these available for the class to see or if
you want to submit them directly to me for evaluation.
Self-assessment: a major component of this class is reflection, and so the final
evaluative measure will be your own assessment of your development in the class.
At the beginning of class you will be given a pre-test that will ask you to identify
what you know about Florida literature and place, and early on I will ask you to
identify your goals for the course. At the end of the course, you will have the
opportunity to reflect on where you have come over the course of the semester.
You may find that you learned what you wanted to learn, and you may find that you
began an entirely different journey. The important thing will be that you have
thought about your development and assessed your own learning.
Because the course is creative and contemplative in nature, the parameters of
this self-assessment are open. For those of you needing assurance that you have
met requirements, a minimum standard for the self-assessment would be a 1-2 page,
formally written statement.
PhD Seminar Credit
Students completing a PHD seminar credit will be expected to write an annotated
bibliography on a Florida subject related to your field of inquiry for the dissertation.
Depending on the amount of material to be annotated, this work should be a minimum
of ten double-spaced pages in length. You will also be required to extend the length
of the final written project to 25 pages.
This syllabus is subject to change.
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.
Back to Top of Page