It appears that your browser does not support JavaScript. We use JavaScript on our website to display some information. Please use a browser that supports JavaScript.

Special Topics in American Literature

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Spring 2016
Prothro-Yeager Hall
Classroom Number
BW 226
Days & Times

Tuesday: 6:30-9:15 pm

Dr. Greg Giddings (view Profile)


Sun Also Rises
Light in August
Streetcar Named Desire
Horseman, Pass By
Prince of Tides
Course Objectives

Utilizing a post-structuralist perspective on gender in general and masculinities more specifically, this seminar will trace the varied masculine performers found in American literature during the 20th  and 21st centuries. In particular, the class will focus on the constantly changing notions of masculinities, demonstrating gender’s cultural constructedness, as well as its slipperiness.


My goal is to provide a wide variety of ideas relating to masculinities--in a wide variety of texts.  Therefore, the texts will include not only novels, but short fiction, drama, and non-fiction as well.  Furthermore, some texts will be canonical, while others less frequently discussed by the academy.

Course Expectations

Each student will be expected to come to class prepared and ready to participate.  Please realize that a thorough discussion of masculinities will occasion delve into subject matter that is sexually explicit (both heterosexual and homosexual sex), and some students may be uncomfortable with these conversations. However, such discussions are necessary to facilitate our understanding of the varying masculine subjectivities in the literature. (The assigned readings also contain graphic violence. So this is clearly an R-rated class.)


Following the suggestions generated by the graduate faculty assessment committee (on which I formally served), this class is “geared toward” the graduate student eventually participating in the larger conversation that transcends the classroom.  With that controlling concept in mind, the student will be expected to demonstrate his or her understanding and acknowledgement of this broader academic discussion in a formal book review and presentation, as well as an end-of-semester research paper and conference paper proposal.

Grading Standards





F--less than 60

Final Exam 05/07/2016 6:30 pm
Submission Format Policy Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.
Late Paper Policy

I will accept late work only for 24 hours after an assignment's due date--and then with a one-letter-grade penalty.

After 24 hours, I will not accept late work.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

I expect all siminar students to be conscientious in attendance.

Anyone missing class excessively will be dropped from the class. (I consider three absences excessive.)

Attendace is also important to your class participation grade, which is 20% of your semester grade.

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Calendar Attachment

Syllabus--spring 2016-20160128-154422.doc

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at