ENGL 1270 Introduction to American Literature by Women

Instructor Contact:

Stephanie Couey

Email: stephanie.couey@colorado.edu

About the Course:

In this course, we will be reading, discussing, and writing about multi-genre works of U.S. American literature by women from the 17th century to the present that emphasize the concepts of human rights, feminism, and intersectionality, while also engaging with and challenging ideas of citizenship, nationality, and nationhood.

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, nationality, sexuality, class, and (dis)ability.

Some of the questions we may explore as a class are: what does it mean to be a woman in U.S. America? What does it mean to be a woman writer or artist in U.S. 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, and we will continuously ask how American literature by women engages with ideas of citizenship, belonging, and self-sovereignty.

Course Prerequisites: none

Proctoring (if applicable): This course requires proctored examinations. Exams are proctored which will require planning on your part. Proctors are individuals who administer the exam process following the guidelines provided by University of Colorado Boulder to ensure academic integrity. Some proctoring options require the student to pay a fee.


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

1.) Define a number of literary terms pertinent to the course’s readings.

2.) Demonstrate comprehension of the historical and social circumstances in which each text was produced.

3.) Apply a vocabulary of literary terms.

4.) Identify writers’ uses of literary devices.

5.) Analyze how literary texts discuss citizenship and women’s rights using the process of close reading.

6.) Formulate an interpretive thesis.

7.) Defend your interpretive thesis with analysis of textual evidence.

8.) Develop rhetorical and visual presentation skills.

9.) Create an original creative final project in the form of your choice OR compose a final paper.

Required Texts may include:

  • Miné Okubo, Citizen 13660, 1946, ISBN: 0295993545
  • Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric, 2014
  • Toni Morrison, A Mercy, 2008
  • Melissa Lozada-Oliva, Peluda, 2017
  • PDFs of additional readings provided

Grading (out of 100 percentage points):

Assignment Grade Percentages
Syllabus Quiz & Getting-to-Know-You-Survey   5%
Zoom Conference with Instructor  5%
Perusall Readings (7 sets; 3 percentage points each) 21%
Discussion Posts (8 posts; 3 percentage points each) 24%
Presentation 15%
Presentation Participation 5%
Final Project OR Paper Proposal 5%
Final Project: Creative Project, Proposal & Reflection Paper OR Final Paper 20%


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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