Nov. 22, 2010
Courses and Syllabi
Dr. Laura L. Runge
Office: CPR 360 D
LIT 6934 Literature of Place: Florida
Room: CPR 355
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.
This is a new course supported by an innovative teaching grant from the Center for Twenty-first Century
Teaching Excellence. Students will read a variety of authors and literature, ranging from the travel
narratives of William Bartram in the eighteenth century to the letters of a female settler in the late
nineteenth century and to essays, short stories, novels, poems and one play by authors including Stephen
Crane, Zora Neale Hurston, Jose Marti, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Elizabeth Bishop, Wallace Stevens,
Hart Crane, Carl Hiassen, John Fleming, Jay Hopler, Campbell McGrath, Nilo Cruz. We will read theories
of place from cultural geography, art and anthropology, 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 service
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, Zora Neale Hurston's Eatonville, Ybor City, Hillsborough River State Park,
and Payne's Prairie. Our class will be instructed by guest lecturers from disciplines other than
English, such as geology, geography, history. This experimental class departs from the standard lecture-discussion
format by implementing contemplative pedagogy, such as meditation, journaling, nonjudgmental
collaborative discussion. 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 writing in public
spaces, such as a class discussion board or public blog);
To provide a framework for developing course materials for service learning to be
To produce a body of original writing, critical and creative in nature, that furthers
the student's own intellectual and personal goals.
Gregg Garrard, Ecocriticism, Routledge 2004 ISBN 0415196922
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
Nilo Cruz, Anna in the Tropics, Dramatists Play Service, 2004, ISBN 0822220008
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, The Yearling, Aladdin, 2001 ISBN 0689846231
Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Harper 2001 ISBN 0061120065
Susan Orlean, The Orchid Thief, Ballantine 2000 ISBN 044900371X
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
Carl Hiassen TBA (either Tourist Season or Skinny Dip)
Zora Neale Hurston, Mules and Men, Harper 2008 ISBN 0061350176
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Scribner 1996 ISBN 0684818795
Gary R Mormino, Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams, UP of Florida 2008 ISBN 081303308X
The Florida Reader: Visions of Paradise 1530 present, Ed. Jack C. Lane, Pineapple Press, 1994 ISBN 156164062X
Priceless Florida: Natural Ecosystems and Native Species, Pineapple Press, 2004 ISBN 1561643084
For a general introduction to electronic formats for teaching/learning, see
USF Academic Computing Home Page.
Other important websites are listed following the assignments.
Electronic Discussion We will be using the USF Blackboard system and the
discussion board I have created 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
Class 1: Introductions
"Teaching Hometown Literature: A Pedagogy of Place," James M. Callahan
Slideshow on Florida
Review syllabus and assignments
Review REFWORKS database
Class 2: History and Place -- the Local
Cresswell, Place: A Short Introduction
Excerpt from Lure of the Local in course docs
Florida Reader, Introduction
Class 3: History and Place -- Ybor City
GUEST LECTURER: Robert Ingalls, Professor Emeritus, History, USF
Nilo Cruz, Anna in the Tropics
Selection from James Weldon Johnson (in course docs)
Jose Iglesias, "The Radical Latino Island in the South," Tampa Bay
History Spring 1996. (USF library journals online and course docs)
Start Gannon's Florida: A Short History
Recommended: Pred, "Place as Historically Contingent Process" (course docs)
Class 4: Field Trip to Ybor City
Jose Marti, Versos Sencillos (selections/translated),
"Los Pinos Nuevos" (if available)
Jose Iglesias, "Jose Marti in Ybor City," Tampa Bay History (Spring 1996),
(USF Library journals online and course docs)
Lucy Lippard, Chapter One: "Sweet Home" in course docs
Essay selected by Mary Jo Tutterow on Jose Yglesias
Class 5: Land and Exploration
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, The Yearling, selections from Cross Creek
Essays on home, by bell hooks, Lucy Lippard
Class 6: GUEST LECTURER Bob Brinkmann, Professor of Geography, USF
Selections from Priceless Florida
Buell, Future of Environmental Criticism
Selections from Wild Heart
Selections from Unspoiled
Class 7: Land and Exploration, continued
October 9 -- SATURDAY FIELD TRIP-- Payne's Prairie and Cross Creek
Selections from Campbell McGrath's Florida Poems
“Ecocriticism and the Long Eighteenth Century” by Christopher Hitt
Class 8: Land and Exploration, continued
Finish McGrath's Florida Poems
Selected essays from
Alphabet of the Trees (in course docs)
Garrard's Ecocriticism through chapter 4
Class 9: Water and Plants
Orleans, The Orchid Thief
Garrard's Ecocriticism finish
Class 10: Water and Plants, continued
GUEST LECTURER: Mark Rains, Associate Professor of Geology, USF
Selections from Wild Heart
Stephen Crane's "The Open Boat," in The Florida Reader
Class 11: Water and Plants, cont.
FIELD TRIP -- HILLSBOROUGH RIVER STATE PARK
Selections from River of Golden Ibis (Jahoda) in course docs
Selections from Wild Heart
Class 12: Animals (species, races, sexes)
GUEST LECTURER -- Bruce Janz, Associate Professor of Humanities,
University of Central Florida
Janz, "Places that Disasters Leave Behind," (in course docs)
Selections from Tales of Old Florida
Elizabeth Bishop, "The Fish," and other selected poems
Class 13: Animals, cont.
November 20 -- SATURDAY FIELD TRIP -- Eatonville / Ponce Inlet
Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, selections from Mules and Men
Selections from Animals and Women
Class 15: Conclusions
DUE DECEMBER 7: Portfolios with final projects
Post Test / course Evals
Presentation of critical-creative projects (in progress)
** 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: Blackboard, Elluminate, Skype, and email messaging and/or
an alternate schedule. It is the responsibility of the student to monitor Blackboard 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 (notebook) 5%
Weekly Posts (14) 15%
Written review of 4 field trips 5% each or 20%
Leading in-class discussion 10%
Creative-Critical Writing Project 25%
Service Learning project -- OR -- annotated bibliograph-review 15%
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 Blackboard. 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, but students
can do additional research if desired. 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 weekly posts.|
Posts are due by 11:59pm the night before class, so that all
students will have an opportunity to read the posts before me
meet at three.
We will be conducting regular writing 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 service-learning project. I will
expect to see evidence of your participation in these in-class
activities and will keep a daily record. Also, you may select
from these writings the most illustrative of your learning experience
for inclusion in your semester portfolio.
Written review of four field trips:
Students will share their reflections on the field trips in
a short formal writing, posted to a class wiki. A selection
of these may be posted to the
Florida Literature Blog,
a public blog I started. We will create a template of questions and
expectations for these reviews. These writings should be 500-1000 words
and follow standard MLA formatting. These will be due one week from
the date of the field trip.
Students are expected to attend all four field trips. If
circumstances prohibit a student from attending, he or she
may be excused from one field trip but make-up work will be
expected (either in the form of an individual field trip
and writing or a review of a Florida work outside the syllabus).
Each student will be expected to lead a discussion of one of
the works on the syllabus through close attention and the
construction of thoughtful discussion questions. These
discussions will take place on days when no guest speakers
or field trips are scheduled. Given the limited number of
classes available, there will be more than one student presenting
per class. Students should identify the works they will be
discussing on the class wiki sign-up page; students should not
prepare to discuss a work that is being discussed by another
student. If you are choosing to present on one of the longer works,
I recommend that you choose a section of that work upon which to focus
(in which case, more than one student could present on the work,
given that each selects a different focus). Visual aids, handouts
and other implements of effective teaching are encouraged.
As the person responsible for leading discussion, you should have
contextual knowledge of the subject and a confident understanding
of the piece. Please plan for a discussion not to exceed 30 minutes.
Creative-critical writing project:
This is the major independent work for the course and the
one into which I expect students to put their best effort.
Beginning with an individual question or problem that the
student wants to explore more deeply, this project will involve
research, writing, reflection and close attention. I encourage
the students to pursue their own intellectual and creative goals
in this project, and I offer the example of my Hillsborough River
Project as a model. See
http://llrungehr.wordpress.com/. Because each student will
design his or her own project, the parameters are vague.
This must represent significant work and meet the objectives
listed below. Students should consult with me (and their peers)
by midsemester (October 5) to discuss the nature of the project. The project results in a formally written, original work,
based in research, critical and/or creative thought and
reflection (due by December 7). In most cases this means
a written work of at least ten double-spaced pages.
The project involves a significant question or
problem related to our place in Florida, or to Florida more generally.
The project has clear intellectual goals.
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.
Service-Learning project or annotated bib/review of literary work:
Students who are also teachers (TAs, teachers at other institutions)
are expected to design a service-learning project for
implementation in their own classes. Using the online
resources (collected here) for practical advice, students
should construct a project that gets their students working
in the community on a specific task. The project should have
a strong connection to Florida and Florida literature.
The service-learning project could address a social concern
of particular interest to you or the class you are teaching.
For example, if you are interested in conservation, you might
have students read nature writing on Florida and participate in
a river clean up.
If you are concerned about
the treatment of the elderly, you could have them read
literature concerned with aging in Florida and develop a
service project for a local retirement community or long-term
care facility. There are many possibilities.
If you are concerned about abused animals,
you could have students read works on caring for animals
(Carl Hiassen's children's novel, Hoot, for example)
and have them volunteer at an animal rescue shelter. If you
are concerned about the oil spill, you could assign readings
from Unspoiled, and develop a project for educating the
public on off-shore drilling.
The project you
develop should demonstrate research on the particulars of the
project (not just any shelter, but the name, location, contact
personnel and policies of the a specific animal shelter).
It should consider the practical issues of engaging the students
in the service (permissions, timing, transportation, access, etc.).
It should articulate a clear rationale, with intellectual and
social purpose. It should include plans for assessment, which
means a clear sense of the objectives and how you will
measure the students' achievement. The project needs to
include an annotated reading list; this need not be extensive
but it should fit the practical needs of the project.
In general, the plan should be ready to be implemented in the classroom.
If you are not teaching (or if you miss one of the field trips),
you will be expected to write an annotated bibliography and review
of a literary work on Florida from off the syllabus. This should
be a book-length work or collection. The annotated bibliography
can cover scholarly work and also book reviews, as many popular
literary works will not have a significant body of scholarly work
to read. Your review should be a critical (i.e. thoughtful)
summary of the work placed in the context of Florida Literature.
Insights on how this work informs your understanding of the main
themes, questions and problems in Florida literature will enrich
the assignment. Depending on the amount of material to be
annotated, this work should be a minimum of seven double-spaced
pages in length. Selected annotated bibliographies and reviews
will be posted on the public blog Florida Literature.
We have a database on Florida Literature created for this class
in Refworks (thanks to Jessica McKee and Jessica Cook).
Please consult this database for use in your service learning
projects and/or your bibliography and review of a literary
work off the syllabus.
This will be due November 23 and students will be expected
to share a brief explanation of their projects orally in class.
Self-assessment and portfolio:
Due December 7, the portfolio will include your creative-critical
projects in their final form, your major writings 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
Blackboard, 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 entered on 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 to 2 page formally written statement.
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.
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