1Narrative, Place and Identity in North America
Instructor Dr. Katherine Ann Roberts
4 -157 Alvin Woods Building
884-0710, ext. 2167
*please do not use MyLS email
Office hours: Monday 1:30-2:30, Tuesday 4:00-5:00 or
Time Monday 9:30-12:20
Room BA 209
This course examines the “foundational fictions” of Canadian, American and Mexican culture through a
study of narrative, place and identity. Key themes will include tensions between ethnic, regional and
religious identities, urban and rural spaces, the relationship to land and place and the encounter of
European and First Nations peoples, worldviews and lifeways. This year the course will explore these
themes through three spatial/generic paradigms: the West (Western), the Border and the Road.
Guy Vanderhaeghe, The Last Crossing, 2002
Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men, 2005.
Jack Kerouac, On the Road, 1955.
+ additional required readings will be posted to the My Learning Space page
The course lectures are once a week for three hours (with a 10-15 minute break).
Course Homepage Through the MyLearningSapce course homepage, students will be able to access documents and other
materials and view their grades. Power point presentations will be posted systematically at the end of
each lecture; presentations will not be available prior to lecture. Additional readings will be available
online, posted to this site. The website is an integral component of the course and, as such, students
are strongly encouraged to visit it regularly.
This course will take a lecture format using a variety of visual aids in order to present and analyze the
course material. The readings have been selected to foster critical thinking; the lectures will expand
upon and critique the material covered in the readings and provide a synthesis of the different
components. Students will have the opportunity to ask questions and time will be devoted to class
discussion whenever possible.
Group Presentation 25%
Written Assignment 25%
Final exam (take home) 25%
Homework assignments 25%
Group presentation: Students will work in groups on class presentations that explore one or more
aspects of the themes evoked in each unit. More details will be made available later on in the semester.
Written Assignment: 1250-1500 words (5-6 pages), to be submitted on Nov. 4. More details will be
made available later on in the semester.
Homework: Students will submit a one-page response every week to questions on the assigned
readings. These responses are due at the beginning of class and must be submitted in person. No
assignments are to be submitted by email, after class, nor should students summarily depart after
handing in their work. Questions on the readings will be sent to students by email the Thursday before
Final Exam: A take-home exam will be assigned during the exam period. The exam will be
comprehension (cover the entire course).
DETAILED CLASS SCHEDULE:
Week 1 Introduction:
Week 2 Unit 1: West
Considerations of genre; Canadian/American comparisons Week 3 Unit 1: West
Sept. 23 Guy Vanderhaeghe, The Last Crossing
+ additional readings
Week 4 Unit 1: West
Sept. 30 Guy Vanderhaeghe, The Last Crossing
Film screening: Stagecoach, dir. John Ford, 1939.
Week 5 Unit 1: West
Oct. 7 Group presentations
Week 6 Unit 2: Border
Oct. 21 Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men
Week 7 Unit 2: Border
Oct. 28 Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men
Film screening: Frozen River, dir. Courtenay Hunt, 2008.
+ additional readings
Week 8 Unit 2: Border
Nov. 4 Group presentations
Written Assignment due
Week 19 Unit 3: Road
Nov 11 Jack Kerouac, On the Road