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This page describes for students what is expected of them in Ramapo’s Literature courses.

Learning Objectives For Required Courses and Categories in the Literature Majors

The following objectives inform your professors as they design your courses. As you move through the Literature Major, we hope you will achieve the following goals.

Sequence of Literary Content: 200 Level

Courses on the 200 level are more diverse and numerous than the 100-level offerings. Many 200-level courses are surveys of national literatures (i.e., Survey of British Literature I and II, Survey of American Literature I and II , Survey of African Literature ). Other courses are similarly broad in scope, while building on the basic concepts covered in Introduction to Literature . Other courses like, Readings in Poetry , Literature of the Middle Ages, American Short Story , and others tend toward broadly conceived surveys of genres, periods, or national traditions.

COURSE LEVEL: 200-Level courses

WRITING SKILLS

Compose longer essays incorporating quotations from literary works and some secondary sources.

Use parenthetical citation & Work Cited format when referring to several texts.

READING SKILLS

Develop a sense of the depth and range of literature, nationally and internationally in survey classes.

Move beyond personal response to consider other readings.

Familiarity with literary anthologies and an understanding of the elements of those works: glossary, index, introductory essays, timelines, etc.

OTHER SKILLS/ISSUES

An understanding of literary schools and eras.

Research skills, including familiarity with literary reference works (literary dictionaries, Gale encyclopedias, etc.).

The ability to identify and discuss a variety of literary schools and eras within one discussion.

Familiarity with how literature and issues of nationhood are related.

LITR 201 READINGS IN POETRY

Students successfully completing this course should:

  • Learn to read and analyze poetry, and understand the significant ways in which poetic language differs from prose.
  • Gain an understanding of distinct poetic movements and their corresponding terminology.
  • Speak and write clearly about poems, taking into account their historical context as well as their aesthetic significance.
  • Pay close attention to the way language is used to evoke images.
LITR 203 METHODS OF LITERARY STUDY

Methods of Literary Study ( LITR- 203 ) Methods of Literary Study looks at a broad selection of literary texts, produced across the world, across eras, and across genres. We will read these texts carefully, coming to some understanding of aesthetics, genres, and literary periods. More than an introduction to specific “canonical” literary texts, though, the course focuses not so much on what we read as how we read it. We will explore contemporary literary theory, challenge our ideas about just what literature is and what it is for, and why it has endured. The course also focuses on how to write about literature and perform literary research.

Students will:

  • Develop a critical vocabulary that includes and distinguishes among the elements, movements, and criticism of literature.
  • Achieve a basic understanding of literary theory.
  • Enhance their skills as readers and writers and will hone their oral skills discussing and processing literature.
  • Understand that there are various literary genres and that there are specific vocabularies associated with each genre.
  • Read literary texts that reflect a focus on world literature.
  • Write literary analysis essays using MLA format.

WRITING SKILLS

Explain and quote from a work of literature as evidential support in verbal and written communication.

Learn to do research on literature, including using the databases available through the college library, and learn to incorporate that research into their own writing.

READING SKILLS

Understand the different purposes to reading literature, including for personal pleasure and development.

Learn the elements of at least three different genres of literature (short story/novel/poetry/essay/personal letter/the novel).

Learn to read closely and annotate literary texts.

OTHER SKILLS/ISSUES

Consider literature in several contexts, including aesthetic, cultural, historical, rhetorical.

Gain an understanding of various schools of contemporary literary theory and be able to apply some of these schools in writing.

LITR 240 SURVEY OF BRITISH LITERATURE I

Students successfully completing this course should: 

  • Read and analyze a representative sample of texts and writers of the English speaking peoples of the British Isles from the Anglo-Saxon period to about 1780.
  • Demonstrate a familiarity with the major authors and genres, important texts, and main themes of this literature.
  • Demonstrate and articulate an understanding of the cultural and historical ideas and contexts of this literature, as well as the connections to our present culture.
  • Write clear, logical, well-organized, well-developed, and well-supported literary analyses of the literature of this period

Sequence of Literary Content: 300 Level

300-level courses embark upon more specific subject matter than that covered by 200-level courses. In courses like Literary Theory and Criticism and Grammar: Theory and Pedagogy , and Existentialism students engage in the study of theoretical concepts 200-level classes may comment on but cannot investigate fully. In other courses, like Major Authors; Comic American Novel ; American Romanticism , and Victorian Secrets, students study individual authors in depth or explore very specific movements in greater detail than a 200-level class can afford.

COURSE LEVEL: 300-Level courses

WRITING SKILLS

Compose longer research essays incorporating quotations from literary works and a variety of secondary sources.

READING SKILLS

Focus in depth on one or more genres of literature.

Read one or more major author in some depth.

Develop a sense of the importance and limits of literary biography.

OTHER SKILLS/ISSUES

More sophisticated research skills, including the ability to access and comprehend journal articles, and books like The Chelsea House series.

LITR 319 AUTHOR STUDIES

Students successfully completing this course should:

  • Place the author’s work into a global context.
  • Understand the value of reading one major author in some depth.
  • Develop a sense of the importance and limits of literary biography.
  • Be able to apply literary theory to longer research essays incorporating quotations from literary works and a variety of secondary sources.

Sequence of Literary Content: 400 Level

As with the 100-level, the 400-level capstone offers only one course, but this course varies depending upon section and instructor. The 400-level capstone is designed to allow students to apply the lessons of the Literature Major to a specific, intriguing literary issue. Section offerings range widely (Postmodernism, International Modernism, The American Novel and the Environment, The Renegade in Literature, The Working Class in American Literature, and others). The course is marked as much by the raised expectations of the instructor as the greater specificity of most of the offerings.
LITR 414 is taught as a seminar , and students are expected to exhibit greater independence in their reading, writing, and research.

COURSE LEVEL: 400-Level courses

WRITING SKILLS

Develop complex, argumentative theses independently.

Synthesize materials from diverse sources, including several primary and secondary sources.

Draft annotated bibliographies.

Compose proposals for longer essays.

READING SKILLS

Independently read well below the surface of even complex literary works.

OTHER SKILLS/ISSUES

Develop leadership skills—begin and sustain class discussion.

The ability to identify and discuss a variety of literary schools and eras within one discussion.

The ability to analyze literature and its related cultural influences in an

interdisciplinary fashion.

Apply the various skills acquired in previous years at a semester-long intensive study of a very narrow literary topic.

LITR 414 LITERATURE SEMINAR COURSE OBJECTIVES

Students successfully completing this course should:

  • Be able to develop complex, argumentative theses independently.
  • Synthesize materials from diverse sources, including several primary and secondary sources.
  • Draft annotated bibliographies.
  • Compose proposals for longer essays.
  • Independently read well below the surface of even complex literary works.
  • Develop leadership skills—begin and sustain class discussion.
  • be able to identify and discuss a variety of literary schools and eras within one discussion.
  • to analyze literature and its related cultural influences in an interdisciplinary fashion.
  • Apply the various skills acquired in previous years at a semester-long intensive study of a very narrow literary topic.

NOTE: We are still developing learning goals for “Drama,” “Pre-1800,” and “Theory and Process of Language” categories, as well as some of the Teacher Education categories.