ENGL 1270 Introduction to American Literature by Women

Instructor Contact:

Stephanie Couey, Instructor

Email: stephanie.couey@colorado.edu

About the Course:

In this course, we will be reading, discussing, and writing about multi-genre works of American literature by women from roughly 1600 to the present. Beginning with Indigenous writers, abolitionists, and suffragists, and leading up to contemporary novelists, short story writers, memoirists, essayists, and poets of distinct racial and ethnic backgrounds, we will examine how certain texts engage, subvert, and resist ideas about gender, while emphasizing how gender intersects with race, sexuality, class, and (dis)ability.

Our selected texts speak to what it means to be a woman in America and what it means to be a woman writer in America. We will track how American literature by women has motivated various political and social movements, while inspiring, reshaping, and redeveloping literary genres and conventions.

Students can expect to:

– Regularly engage in discussions and collaboratively annotate texts on Canvas

– Compose short pieces of critical or reflective writing throughout the semester

– Complete a creative final project of their choosing (a paper is also an option)

Course Prerequisites: none


By the end of the course you should be able to:

  • Identify key historic and literary movements of the past four hundred years
  • Demonstrate an understanding of literary genre conventions and their functions
  • Skillfully annotate and perform “close readings” of assigned texts

Required Texts:

Required Texts may include:

–       Toni Morrison, A Mercy, 2008.

–       Natalie Diaz, Postcolonial Love Poem, 2020.

Selections from:

–       Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist: Essays, 2014.

–       Cathy Park Hong, Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, 2020.

–       Additional PDFs posted to Canvas.

Grading (out of 100 percentage points):

Coursework and Grading:

Assignment Grade Percentages
Syllabus Quiz & Self-Introduction   3%
Zoom Conference with instructor  5%
Discussion Posts (5 sets) 25%
Reading Quizzes (5 quizzes) 25%
Reflection Journal (5 entries) 25%
Creative Project, Proposal & Reflection Paper 17%



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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado