ENGLISH 313 - Topics in Literary Studies
Section: 201 Southern Natures: Race and Environment in the early 20th-century U.S. South
Term: SU 2010
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Class Misc Info:
This class satisfies the American Literature and New Traditions requirement for English concentrators. .
May be repeated for a maximum of 8 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

From about 1880 to 1930, the landscape of the South underwent dramatic changes: the forests were largely clear cut, the Everglades were drained and then turned into vast sugar and other plantations, rivers were straightened, phosphate was mined, and the soil continued to be degraded. Much of the work of this transformation was done by African-Americans; much of the capital for these changes came from and most of the profit went to Northern investors. Some of our greatest southern authors bore witnesses to these transformations and to environmental disasters which resulted, especially the flooding of the Mississippi in 1927 and of Lake Okeechobee in 1928. Being mindful of this context of environmental change, and of the social conditions of Jim Crow segregation, we will read:

  • Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), and some of her short essays;
  • Richard Wright, Down By the Riverside and The Ethics of Living Jim Crow (1938);
  • William Faulkner, Go Down, Moses (1942);
  • sections from William A. Percy’s Lanterns on the Levee (1941), as well as
  • sections of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas’s The Everglades: River of Grass (1947).

Three short papers.


  • Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)
  • Richard Wright, Uncle Tom’s Children (1940)
  • William Faulkner, Go Down, Moses (1942).

There will be a service learning component of this course; hours spent in the service component will be subtracted from the T/Th class time; we will work on one or two separate days in Detroit with the organization, The Greening of Detroit.

ENGLISH 313 - Topics in Literary Studies
Schedule Listing
201 (LEC)
TuTh 12:00PM - 3:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 0061120065
Their eyes were watching God, Author: Zora Neale Hurston ; with a foreword by Edwidge Danticat and an afterword by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Publisher: HarperCollins 1st Harper 2006
ISBN: 9780679732174
Go down, Moses, Author: Faulkner, William, 1897-1962., Publisher: Vintage Books 1990
ISBN: 9780060800550
Uncle Tom's children, Author: Wright, Richard, 1908-1960., Publisher: Harper & Row 1965
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