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Washington State University
Donna M. Campbell American Literature

English 494: Jazz Age/Harlem Renaissance

English 494 [CAPS]: Jazz Age/Harlem Renaissance

Fall 2021
Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:00-1:15
Todd Hall 303

Dr. Donna Campbell (email is the best way to reach me)
357 Avery Hall
509.335.4831 (voice or text)
Student Hours: Stop by my office any time from 10-11:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, or email or text me for an appointment.
Virtual Student Hours: If you’re not on campus during those times, meet me in Zoom (link is in Canvas).


Like the 2020s, the 1920s, called “The Jazz Age” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, was a time of great cultural change brought about by technological advances, youth culture, the liberation of women, increasing voter rights, an emphasis on higher education, and increasing racial tolerance and respect for African American contributions to American culture (The Harlem Renaissance). Yet also like the 2020s, it was an era of vast income inequality and economic uncertainty with historical consequences that differed from the hope implied by “Jazz Age” and “Harlem Renaissance.” The basic principles of the course are to examine the mythology surrounding the era, to explore the cultural work that such a mythology has performed for later generations, and to investigate the ways in which such a mythology has obscured the political and racial tensions of the period.

Topics include the rise of modernism, post-WWI racial tensions, social unrest (the bonus marchers and the Palmer raids), race and the rise of the New Negro, ethnicity and restrictive immigration laws, Prohibition, the rise of gangster culture, cultural types (sheiks, flappers, and so on), freedom in sexual mores (including what critics are now calling the “gay Harlem Renaissance”), new technologies, the role of film as a disseminator of popular culture, and the emancipation of women.  Although we will discuss modernism, this isn’t a course in modernism’s “greatest hits” with the usual suspects: T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, and so on. Among the authors to be studied are the following: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jean Toomer, Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, Claude McKay, and Nella Larsen. Films include Harold Lloyd’s The Freshman, Oscar Micheaux’s Within Our Gates, and Howard Hawks’s Scarface (1932) or Mervyn LeRoy’s Three on a Match (1932). We’ll listen to the music of the era and identify its cultural references, including poems by Langston Hughes and others. We will conclude with a retrospective vision of the 1920s as seen in films and television series from later decades, such as Chicago, Some Like It Hot, The Great Gatsby, Cotton Club, Idlewild and Boardwalk Empire.

Course Goals and Objectives

The goals for students in the course are as follows:

  • To provide a culminating experience of studying a topic in both breadth and depth, using the 1920s as a lens to reflect on American culture past and present.
  • To permit students to draw on the skills needed to develop their own research or creative questions about this time period through a close analysis of 1920s American fiction, poetry, films, songs, and other cultural artifacts.
  • To encourage students’ investigations and explorations of open-ended issues and problems that dominated the 1920s and that persist in American culture today: race and racism, gender empowerment, the economic and social effects of income inequality, the emphasis on higher education, technological advances, and so on.
  • To understand that a work’s classic status and critical reputation may shift over time, and to conduct independent research into those reasons.
  • To learn about significant movements and trends in 1920s American literature (modernism and primitivism, for example).
  • To work with and learn to evaluate primary and secondary resources on the 1920s, including locating primary print sources and digitized versions online, learning to use the MLA Bibliography and other databases to find secondary sources, and learning to assess web materials for reliability, and locating primary source materials. The first “laptop day” exercisewill be devoted to this exercise.
  • To require students to demonstrate critical and creative thinking and communication skills and to synthesize the knowledge thus gained into papers and presentations in order to disseminate those insights to the class. Students will demonstrate these skills through the following:
    • Traditional short papers that demonstrate literary analysis skills
    • Paper 3 creative option that demonstrates creative skills
    • Research project that is the culmination of their investigations into a topic that they choose.
    • A precis assignment that requires students to summarize and analyze a critical article on the subject of their research
    • Collaborative class group discussions and presentations of findings (sheet music exercise, etc.)
    • Collaborative group weblogs published every week
    • Formal reports requiring independent investigation into a topic related to, but not covered by, class materials
  • To require students to demonstrate depth, breadth, and integration of learning through the creation of a culminating research project (prose or multimedia) and the oral presentation of that project to the class.

See the UCORE section below for the alignment of these objectives with UCORE and CAPS guidelines.

The main objective of this capstone course is to enable students to bring their expertise and subject knowledge from all their previous work to bear on a subject of interest to them in the Jazz Age or Harlem Renaissance. Toward this end, they will produce a capstone project (Paper or Project 4) toward which the other assignments will build.

Required Texts

Lewis, David Levering The Harlem Renaissance Reader 1995 Penguin / 0140170367
Fitzgerald, F. Scott Tender is the Night
Toomer, Jean Cane (Norton Critical Ed., 2nd ed. ) 2011 Norton / 978-0393931686
Larsen, Nella Passing 2003 Penguin / 9780142437278
Hemingway, Ernest The Sun Also Rises 1995 Scribner / 0684800713

List of 1920s periodicals available at Holland/Terrell library:

You need to bring your book with you to class each day. Having your book in class is a vital part of class participation: you’ll be asked to read passages aloud, give page citations, and so forth. Reading the book online and then coming to class is not sufficient, and your class participation grade will be lower as a result. Because the introductions to these books often contain “spoilers,” you need not read them until after you have finished the book.

Recommended Texts

  • Churchwell, Sarah. Careless People: Murder, Mayhem, and the Invention of the Great Gatsby. (2014)
  • Harmon and Holman, A Handbook to Literature (Prentice Hall, 9th ed.) (ISBN 0-13-012731-0)
  • Miller, Nathan. New World Coming: The 1920s and the Making of Modern America (2003)

Schedule of Assignments

This schedule should be regarded as a tentative guide to the assignments; it may well be changed as the semester progresses. You’re responsible for the material even if you missed class that day. Since you will also be writing about films and music of the era in your papers, quizzes, and exams, you should arrange to view or listen to any materials that you may miss if you do not attend class on a given day. Most are available either online, in the library, through Interlibrary Loan, or through a commercial service such as Netflix.

Date Reading Assignments Other Assignments
1 8/21 Introduction
8/23 Gender Matters, Part I

Dorothy Parker, “Resume”; (PDP 99); “Interview” (117); “News Item” (109); “Bohemia” (223); “Unfortunate Coincidence” (96); “Big Blonde” (PDP 187-210)
“You Were Perfectly Fine” (handout).

Note: I’ll ask for two volunteers to read “You Were Perfectly Fine” aloud in class, since it’s a dialogue between a man and a woman.

Sign up for weblog, report, or both
2 8/28 Gender Matters, Part II

Hemingway, “The Sea Change” (Blackboard and handout)
Hemingway, “Hills Like White Elephants” (Blackboard and handout)
Fitzgerald, “ Bernice Bobs Her Hair” (Blackboard and online)

Debate over bobbed hair (optional)

8/30 Flappers and Philosophers

“Winter Dreams”
(Blackboard and online)
“The Ice Palace” (Blackboard and online)
Weblog post #1
3 9/4 Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned, Books 1 & 2
9/6 The Beautiful and Damned, Book 3 Weblog post #2
Laptop day: Finding Scholarly Resources on the 1920s
4 9/11 Lost Generation and Expatriate Life 
Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises, chapters 1-12 (pp. 11-130)
9/13 The Sun Also Rises, chapters 13-end (pp. 131-251) Weblog post #3

Extra credit movie night: Three on a Match (1932) or Scarface (1932) (Time TBD)

5 9/18 Collegiate Culture
Film: Harold Lloyd, The Freshman
9/20 Visit to MASC (tentative date) Weblog post #4
6 9/25 No in-person class Paper 1 due
9/27 No in-person class: Song assignment
7 10/2 “Ain’t We Got Fun?” Popular Music of the 1920s

Discussion of song assignment (bring written version to class)

Sheet music exercise (in class)

Laptop day
10/4 Exam 1
8 10/9 The Harlem RenaissanceJazz and Poetry 
Lewis, introduction to The Harlem Renaissance Reader (xiii-xli)
Joel A. Rogers, “Jazz at Home” HRR 52-57
Sterling Brown, “Ma Rainey” HRR 232-234
Ma Rainey, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and other songs
Bessie Smith, “St. Louis Blues” (song)
Gwendolyn Bennett, “Song” HRR 221-222Possible extra credit movie night: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020)
10/11 Countee Cullen, “Heritage” and “From the Dark Tower,” HRR 244-248
Louis Armstrong, “Weary Blues” (song)
Langston Hughes, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” and “I, Too” HRR 257-258;”The Weary Blues” HRR 260-261; “Negro,” “Mulatto,” HRR 262-263
Weblog post #5
9 10/16 Harlem Renaissance: Poetry and Aesthetics

Claude McKay, “If We Must Die” and “The White House,” HRR 290-291
Alain Locke, from The New Negro, HRR 46-51
W. E. B. Du Bois, “Criteria of Negro Art,” HRR 100-105
Langston Hughes, “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,” HRR 91-95

10/18 Harlem Renaissance: Life Writings

Claude McKay, from A Long Way from HomeHRR 156-172
James Weldon Johnson, from Black Manhattan, HRR 34-45
Langston Hughes, from The Big SeaHRR 76-91
Rudolph Fisher, “The Caucasian Storms Harlem,” HRR 110-117

Weblog post #6
Paper 2 due
10 10/23 Harlem Renaissance: Modernist Experimentation 

Jean Toomer, Cane 1-51, especially “Karintha,” “Fern,” “Georgia Dusk,” and “Blood-Burning Moon”

Laptop day
10/25 Cane, 52-end, especially “Bona and Paul” and “Box Seat” Weblog post #7
11 10/30 Critical Perspectives on Cane

Read Reilly, Scruggs, Walker, Sollors, Jones in your Norton Critical Edition

Precis assignment on one of the assigned articles due in class; you’ll discuss it in class.
11/1 Harlem Renaissance: Race, Secrets, and Violence 

Claude McKay, from Home to Harlem, HRR 370-388
Angelina Weld Grimke, from “The Closing Door” HRR 486-500
Richard Bruce Nugent, “Smoke, Lilies and Jade” HRR 569-583

Weblog post #8
Optional Paper 3 (creative) due
12 11/6 Southern Horrors

Film: Oscar Micheaux, Within Our Gates (1919)

11/8 No in-person class: work on final individual or group projects Weblog post #9
13 11/13 Passing and Fictions of Racial Identity
Nella Larsen, Passing, part 1
11/15 Passing, parts 2 & 3 Weblog post #10
14 11/20-22 Thanksgiving Week: No Class
15 11/27 1920s Retrospective
Integrative analysis: How has the 1920s been viewed by subsequent decades in terms of history, culture, literature, and social change?
11/29 Presentations on 1920s authors Paper 4 due
16 12/4 Presentations on 1920s authors
12/6 Presentations on 1920s authors
17 Final Exam

Requirements and Assignments

Attendance and Class Participation.  Class participation and attendance are important, and you should come to class prepared to discuss each day’s reading. Since the syllabus is online, as are the readings not in your textbooks, you should have no trouble in reading the next day’s assignments even if you’re absent on the previous day. If you have questions about the day’s reading, don’t hesitate to ask; chances are good that someone else had the same question.

  • You’re expected to come to class every day and to wear a mask if you’re not vaccinated or otherwise feel the need to wear one. Because of COVID, do not come to class if you’re feeling ill for any reason. Email me and it’ll count as an excused absence. You do NOT need to tell me your symptoms or a diagnosis, just that you’re not feeling well and won’t be coming to class.
    • Your email is sufficient; no documentation is neededWSU Academic Regulation 72.c.1.6 states that “[t]he instructor may require the student to submit a written explanation of the absences, but written excuses from health care personnel should not be required since these requests frequently put the health care personnel in untenable positions.” In other words, instructors cannot request official documentation to allow excused absences except for military personnel and those traveling on WSU business.
  • After 4 unexcused absences your grade will drop one letter grade; excused absences (just email me) don’t count against this number.
  • Because we will be reading and analyzing passages from the readings during the class period, bringing your book with you is an essential part of class participation and will count in your class participation grade. As mentioned above, reading the assignment online and then coming to class is not sufficient.
  • This is a capstone course, so you can expect to spend at least 2-3 hours in reading and preparation for each hour of class time.
  • Included in attendance and class participation is the expectation that students will be respectful of their classmates’ and the instructor’s time and their mutual effort to concentrate on class discussion and activities. Activities such as texting, being on social media, reading material unrelated to the course during class time, and talking while others are speaking do not constitute respectful behavior and will significantly lower your class participation grade.

Formal Papers. Clear sentences, a logical organizational plan, an original thesis, and good support for ideas are the goal for your papers. At the college level, and especially in an upper-division English course, great ideas require clear exposition. If the paper can’t make the “great idea” clear, it’s not a great paper.

Papers are evaluated on the conventions of standard written English as well as on the content, and the comments on your papers will reflect conventions such as sentence structure and punctuation. See the criteria below.

Students in this class will write the following:

  • Two shorter papers of literary interpretation or analysis requiring no research (4-5 pages or about 1000 words).
  • The third paper is optional; it includes a creative topics option and may substitute for either of the first two. In other words, if you complete all three short papers, the lowest short paper grade will be dropped.
  • One longer paper (8-10 pages) that will require either research or the reading of additional texts. The longer paper may be a group project and may take the form of a web site, wiki, or video production. More details will be available later in the course. This paper will be the subject of a final presentation.

Format. Papers must be neatly typed and carefully proofread. Citations should follow MLA style as outlined in the MLA Handbook. See more formatting guidelines at this link:

Electronic and Paper Versions. Either a paper version or an electronic version is acceptable. Paper versions are due at the beginning of class and will receive handwritten comments. Electronic versions must be uploaded to Blackboard,, by 9 p.m. on the due date and will receive typed comments in the margins. Papers uploaded after 9 p.m. will receive a 5 point penalty.

  • Electronic versions of papers must be uploaded by 9 p.m. on the deadline date.
  • Electronic versions will be returned through Blackboard.
  • Name your file as follows: LastnameFirstinitial_ClassNumber_Papernumber. Example: If Joan Smith turns in her first paper, the file would be called SmithJ_494_Paper1.doc. See the formatting guidelines for more information.
  • After the first paper, a failure to follow the guidelines will result in penalties (-1 for unreadable files that must be resubmitted; -1 for not following the naming conventions, -1 for absence of Works Cited page, and so on.) See the Format link or handout for more information.

Late Papers and Extensions. Late papers are penalized at the rate of one letter grade (10 points) per class day late; a paper that would have received a “B” or 85 on Tuesday will receive a “C” or 75 if handed in on Thursday.

  • If you do not turn in a paper, you will receive a 0 for that portion of your grade. Papers received after four class days will receive 50 points but will not be formally graded.
  • You have one 48-hour extension in this class. This extension means that your paper will be due on the next class day, which could be more than 48 hours, without penalty.You must request the extension ahead of time, and you should save it for a true emergency, since no other extensions will be granted for illness, funerals, weddings, or any other reason.

Exams. This course has two exams: a midterm and a final. Exams in this course will consist of objective (multiple choice, short answer, matching) questions, identification questions, and an essay written in class. The final exam will not be given early since alternatives to taking it are available to students.

QuizzesBecause quizzes have been proven to help students with the retention of material, unannounced quizzes over the reading will be given frequently in this class. The quizzes test your specific knowledge of the reading assignment for that day and sometimes ask about information from a previous day’s class discussion or lecture. For example, you might be asked the name of a character, the meaning of a term discussed in the previous class, the character associated with a particular quotation, or the results of a specific action that occurs in a scene. Their purpose is to reinforce your close reading of the material by asking you about significant points in the book.

  • Quizzes are usually composed of 10 multiple-choice questions, although some quizzes will ask you to write a few sentences in response to a question. If you’ve done the reading and have paid attention in class, you should easily be able to get a 10/10 on them.
  • Quizzes cannot be made up, even if you are absent because of illness, but the lowest quiz grade will be dropped.
  • Quizzes are usually given in the first 10 minutes of class; if you come in late and the quiz is in progress, you will not be able to take the quiz.
  • An optional quiz will be given as a universal “make-up” quiz at the end of the semester.
  • Students who have their books with them in class will be able to look up material for the bonus questions on quizzes.

In-class writing and short assignments. Short, typed responses to the reading may be assigned from time to time, as will short pieces of in-class writing.

Reports and Blogs. Students in this class will either present a brief oral report to the class keep a weblog of their reading this semester. Both options will involve about the same amount of work, but with the blog option, you’ll be spreading the work out over the entire semester. You can pair up with someone to write the weblog.

Those who choose both to present a report and to keep a weblog will not have to take the final exam.

  • You’ll sign up for a report or a weblog in class. See the Reports and Blogs pages for more details.
  • To make the schedule updatable and available to all, it will be posted on our course site, as will the list of blogs.
  • Because the point of the weblog is to share your thoughts with others in the class, our main class site will contain a link with your name as part of the requirement. If you have any privacy concerns (under FERPA) about having people know that you are in this class or do not want your name posted anywhere on our class site, you should choose the Reports option instead. You’ll also need to write to me (on paper) requesting that your name be omitted from the Reports page.


Electronics PolicyRecent studies have demonstrated that people remember material better when they take notes by hand rather than on the computer, since typing on the computer tends to produce a transcription rather than the kind of selective note-taking that leads to understanding. Also, students participate more actively when they are not using a laptop, which benefits their class participation grade, and there are fewer distractions in the classroom without laptops. The following policies thus apply in this class:

  • No cell phones or texting. Those using cell phones or texting will be counted as absent for the day.
  • No laptops (iPads, netbooks, etc.) except on laptop days unless you have a reason that you’ve cleared with me ahead of time. If you must have a laptop open, the wireless should be turned off except on laptop days.

Plagiarism Policy. Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of someone else’s words or ideas. This definition includes not only deliberately handing in someone else’s work as your own but failing to cite your sources, including Web pages and Internet sources. Plagiarism also includes handing in a paper that you have previously submitted or are currently submitting for another course.

  • For a first offense, any paper plagiarized in whole or in part will receive an “F” (0 points), and the incident must be reported to the WSU Office of Student Conduct.  You will NOT be allowed to rewrite the plagiarized paper for a better grade.
  • Penalties for a second offense can range from failing the course to suspension from the university.

WSU Email Policy: Per new WSU policy, I will ONLY be able to respond to emails sent from your WSU email address.  I will not be able to respond to emails sent from your personal email address as of the first day of fall semester.

WSU Statement on Academic Integrity. Academic integrity is the cornerstone of the university. You assume full responsibility for the content and integrity of the academic work you submit. You may collaborate with classmates on assignments, with the instructor’s permission. However the guiding principle of academic integrity shall be that your submitted work, examinations, reports, and projects must be your own work. Any student who attempts to gain an unfair advantage over other students by cheating will fail the assignment and be reported to the Office Student Standards and Accountability. Cheating is defined in the Standards for Student Conduct WAC 504-26-010 (3).

WSU Midterm Policy. Based on ASWSU student requests and action by the Faculty Senate, WSU has instituted Academic Rule 88, which stipulates that all students will receive midterm grades. Midterm grades will be reported as they are calculated in Blackboard.

However, at midterm only 35% of the total graded assignments will have been turned in. Midterm grades are not binding, and because the bulk of the graded work in this course occurs after the midterm point, it can only accurately reflect student performance up to that point.

WSU Policy on Students with Disabilities. Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and need accommodations to fully participate in this class, please either visit or call the Access Center (Washington Building 217; 509-335-3417) to schedule an appointment with an Access Advisor. All accommodations MUST be approved through the Access Center.

WSU Safety Policy. Washington State University is committed to enhancing the safety of the students, faculty, staff, and visitors. It is highly recommended that you review the Campus Safety Plan ( and visit the Office of Emergency Management web site ( for a comprehensive listing of university policies, procedures, statistics, and information related to campus safety, emergency management, and the health and welfare of the campus community.

WSU Policy on Excused AbsencesSection 73 of WSU’s regulations does not permit instructors to request official documentation to allow excused absences except for military personnel and those traveling on WSU business; hence no other excused absences are permitted by WSU policy. The attendance policy for this course has been relaxed from previous versions of the course to include an additional absence to make up for this decreased flexibility in policy.

WSU OEO Policy. Discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct (including stalking, intimate partner violence, and sexual violence) is prohibited at WSU (See WSU Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct (Executive Policy 15) and WSU Standards of Conduct for Students).

WSU Policy on Discrimination. Discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct (including stalking, intimate partner violence, and sexual violence) is prohibited at WSU (See WSU Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment (Executive Policy 15) and WSU Standards of Conduct for Students).

If you feel you have experienced or have witnessed discriminatory conduct, you can contact the WSU Compliance & Civil Rights (CCR, formerly CRCI, formerly OEO, formerly CHR) and/or the WSU Title IX Coordinator at 509-335-8288 to discuss resources, including confidential resources, and reporting options. (Visit for more information).

Most WSU employees, including faculty, who have information regarding sexual harassment or sexual misconduct are required to report the information to CCR or a designated Title IX Coordinator or Liaison.  (Visit for more info).

Addition to WSU’s policy: rude, profane, threatening, or otherwise inappropriate emails will receive no reply and will be forwarded to the appropriate administrative office.

Weight of Assignments for English 494

Because of FERPA and privacy issues, no grades will be discussed or transmitted by e-mail or instant messaging. Emails about other matters will usually receive a response within 24 hours except on weekends, when replies will be sent on Monday morning. Please identify yourself using first and last name and use conventional email etiquette.

Exams (exams, 10% each) 20 percent
Short papers (2 at 15% each) 30 percent
Report or weblog 10 percent
Precis 5 percent
Longer Paper or Project (20%) plus presentation (5%) 25 percent
Quizzes, class participation, group presentations, and in-class writings 10 percent
Grading Criteria

A note on the evaluation process in this course: Each piece of written work, from an essay on an exam to a formal paper, starts as a “0” and rises to one of the levels listed below based on the quality of its ideas, development, and writing. Thus your writing does not start from an “A” and “lose points” based on certain errors; instead, grading starts from a baseline and points are added based on the quality of your work. Think of the grading scheme as you would think of a game or a job. You don’t start with a perfect score (or a high salary) and lose points by making errors; rather, you start from a baseline and gain points based on the quality of your skills as demonstrated by your performance. The same is true here.

I will use abbreviations as references to grammatical principles on your corrected papers. The abbreviations and accompanying explanations are available on the “Key to Comments” document at

A (Excellent)

  • Ideas and analysis. Greatly exceeds expectations and develops in a consistently excellent manner. Readers will learn something from this piece of writing. Ideas are original or especially insightful for the level of the class (i.e., an excellent paper in a 200-level course does not need to demonstrate the same level of originality and depth as an excellent paper in a 300- or 400-level course).
  • Organization. Organizational plan is clear, as is the thesis and purpose of the piece. Thesis is original and interesting.
  • Development and support. Develops its points effectively, logically, and in an original fashion. Assertions are supported by evidence. Paragraphs are unified, coherent, and complete.
  • Style. Sentences are fluent, graceful, and a pleasure to read. They are free from errors, although there may be a minor error in the piece.
  • Mechanics (spelling, usage, and punctuation such as commas, semicolons, and possessive apostrophes, quotation marks, and title punctuation). Papers will be almost entirely free from mechanical errors.
  • Audience. Has a clear understanding of audience as demonstrated by the paper’s use of tone and an appropriate level of diction.
    B (Good)
  • Ideas and analysis. Exceeds expectations and develops in a good but perhaps predictable fashion. Paper will cover the most logical points about a piece of writing but may not provide as much new analysis. Ideas may be good but perhaps not as insightful or well developed as those for work in the “A” range.
  • Organization. Organization and thesis are logical but could be clearer. Thesis is solid but less innovative than in an exceptional paper. Some transitions may be missing.
  • Development and support. Includes a thesis idea that is generally supported by evidence and a logical order of paragraphs. Some unsupported generalizations may occur, or  some paragraphs may lack unity or support.
  • Style. Demonstrates correct sentence construction for the most part, although some sentences may be awkward or unclear. Papers will generally have few (1-2) or no comma splices, fragments, fused sentences, tense and agreement errors, or other major grammatical problems. Minor errors in grammar may occur.
  • Mechanics. One or two instances of an incorrect use of words, spelling errors, or punctuation errors such as missing possessive apostrophes may occur
  • Audience. Clear sense of individual voice and awareness of audience expectations. Level of diction may be uneven or somewhat inappropriate for the assignment.
  • C (Satisfactory or Acceptable)
    • Ideas and analysis. Meets expectations but does not go beyond them. May respond to the assignment in a satisfactory but predictable or superficial way. May have more plot summary than analysis.
    • Organization. Exhibits a discernable organization but may not provide a clear connection to the thesis. Thesis may be obvious or too general. Paragraphs may not follow the most logical order.
    • Development and support.Development may consist of obvious generalizations that only tell readers what they already know with limited support from the text.
    • Style. May demonstrate little sentence variety. Grammatical errors such as comma splices, fragments, agreement errors, vague or awkward phrasing may obscure the meaning of an otherwise good paper.
    • Mechanics. May contain odd word choices, consistent errors in punctuation, or problems with usage.
    • Audience. Voice and diction may be significantly inconsistent with audience expectations or the requirements of the assignment.
  • D (Deficient)
    • Ideas and analysis. Limited ideas and cursory development; does not meet expectations or the terms of the assignment on one or more dimensions.
    • Organization.Focus may be unclear or the essay may lack an arguable thesis. Paragraph order may be confusing. May lack adequate organization or sufficient support for its argument.
    • Development and support.Relies strongly on generalizations rather than support and may lack specific references to the text. Paragraphs may lack unity, coherence, and completeness. Paragraphs may be insufficiently developed.
    • Style. Contains many errors in sentence construction, including comma splices, fragments, fused sentences, agreement problems, and awkward sentences. Some parts may be difficult to read and interpret.
    • Mechanics. May demonstrate significant deficiencies in punctuation, word choice, and spelling.
    • Audience.Paper may demonstrate a consistently insufficient awareness of audience.
  • F (Unacceptable)
    • Ideas and analysis. Fails to meet expectations for ideas and analysis.May include too much plot summary or so many quotations that analysis is missing.
    • Organization. Focus many be diffuse or unclear. Sentences and paragraphs do not follow a logical order.
    • Development and support. Thesis may be missing.Generalizations may be used in place of analysis. Insufficient development for the requirements of the assignment.
    • Style. Serious errors such as comma splices, fragments, fused sentences, and agreement problems obscure meaning and make this paper inconsistent with college-level writing standards. A paper at this level may be difficult, frustrating, or confusing to read.
    • Mechanics. Contains numerous errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
    • Audience.Serious problems with tone, diction, and sense of audience.
    • A paper will receive an “F” if it is plagiarized in whole or in part.

Grade Cutoffs for Assignments

The total number of points varies by assignment. The chart below shows the approximate letter grade for points earned in each assignment.

WSU final grade submission permits only solid, plus, and minus grades (e.g., C, C+, or C-).
WSU final grade submission has no “A+” grade, so the highest paper grade will be “A” (95) in compliance with WSU standards. There is no “D-” grade, so a final average of 60-62 = D for the same reason.

Total Points 100 15 20 25 30 35 50 75 125 150 500 If your final % is Your final grade would be . . .
A 93 14 18 23 28 33 47 70 116 140 465 93 or above A
A/A- 92 14 18 23 27 32 46 69 116 139 463
A- 90 13 18 23 27 32 45 67 113 135 450 90-92 A-
B+ 88 13 17 22 26 31 44 66 110 132 440 88-89 B+
B/B+ 87 13 16 22 26 30 43 65 110 131 438
B 83 12 16 21 25 29 42 62 104 125 415 83-87 B
B/B- 82 12 16 20 24 29 41 61 103 124 413
B- 80 12 16 20 24 28 40 60 100 120 400 80-82 B-
C+ 78 11 15 19 23 27 29 58 98 117 390 78-79 C+
C/C+ 77 11 15 19 23 27 28 57 97 116 388
C 73 11 15 18 22 26 37 55 91 110 365 73-77 C
C/C- 72 10 14 18 21 25 36 54 90 109 383
C- 70 10 14 17 21 25 25 52 88 105 350 70-72 C-
D+ 68 10 13 17 20 24 34 54 85 102 338 68-69 D+
D/D+ 67 10 13 16 19 23 33 50 84 101 315
D 63 9 13 16 19 22 32 57 79 95 313 63-67 D
D/D- 62 9 12 15 18 21 31 46 78 94 312
D- 60 9 12 15 18 21 30 45 75 90 300 60-62 D

UCORE Goals and Course Goals

The following requirements pertain to CAPS courses in addition to UCORE goals (”):

  • Require students to draw on the skills needed to develop their own research or creative project, and to initiate investigations and explorations of open-ended issues and problems.
  • Require students to demonstrate Integrative Learning: by showing a depth of knowledge within the chosen academic field of study based on integration, for example, of its history, core methods, techniques, vocabulary, and unsolved problems;
  • UCORE committee suggests that capstone courses and assignments intentionally offer students: •
    • Authentic, contextualized experiences or complex scenarios
    • Independence and agency, with feedback along the way
    • Opportunities to integrate and extend prior learning; and to use critical inquiry
    UCORE Goals Addressed in this Course At the end of this course, students should be able Course Topics Addressing this Outcome Evaluation of Outcome
    Critical and Creative Thinking. Graduates will use reason, evidence, and context to increase knowledge, to reason ethically, and to innovate in imaginative ways.

    CAPS: Require students to draw on the skills needed to develop their own research or creative project, and to initiate investigations and explorations of open-ended issues and problems.

    • To read and closely analyze a number of works of literature and journalism within the course materials described.
    • To study a topic in both breadth and depth, using the 1920s as a lens to reflect on American culture past and present.
    • To permit students to draw on the skills needed to develop their own research or creative questions about this time period through a close analysis of 1920s American fiction, poetry, films, songs, and other cultural artifacts.
    • All course topics
    • All lectures and class discussions
    • All papers
    • Final paper
    • Creative option project
    • Graded class discussions
    • Graded papers
    • Creative option paper evaluation
    Scientific Literacy.Graduates will have a basic understanding of major scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision-making, participation in civic affairs, economic productivity and global stewardship. 
    • To understand the ways in which scientific knowledge can be contingent not only on evidence but upon the historical framework in which it is gained.
    • To recognize that 1920s scientific theories led to harmful conclusions in terms of racism and eugenics
    • Selected readings, including “The Closing Door”
    Evaluation of papers and class discussions.
    Information Literacy. Graduates will effectively identify, locate, evaluate, use responsibly and share information for the problem at hand. 
    • To view and interpret multiple kinds of texts, including maps, songs, and political cartoons, to understand the ways in which they comment on and reflect their culture.
    • To work with and learn to evaluate primary and secondary resources, including locating primary print sources and digitized versions online, learning to use the MLA Bibliography and other databases to find secondary sources, and learning to assess web materials for reliability, and locating primary source materials. These will be addressed on laptop days and during our visit to the MASC.
    • Visit to the MASC
    • Laptop days
    • Finding 1920s materials
    • Precis assignment
    • Successful completion of laptop day and MASC exercises and integration of that knowledge into papers and projects.
    • Quizzes
    • Final project (web possibility) evaluation via rubric.
    Communication. Graduates will write, speak and listen to achieve intended meaning and understanding among all participants. 
    • To synthesize and create knowledge and to disseminate those insights to the class (reports, presentations, papers) and to the world beyond the classroom (blogs).
    • Formal reports
    • Informal class presentations
    • Class discussions
    • Papers and projects
    • Oral presentations
    Evaluation for formal reports, papers, oral presentations, weblogs, and class discussions.
    Diversity. Graduates will understand, respect and interact constructively with others of similar and diverse cultures, values, and perspectives. 
    • To learn about significant issues, movements, and trends in literature of the 1920s including historical issues of racism, class, and gender inequities
    • Reading theorists and artists on the Harlem Renaissance
    Evaluation for oral reports, class discussion, and papers.
    Depth, Breadth, and Integration of Learning. Graduates will develop depth, breadth, and integration of learning for the benefit of themselves, their communities, their employers, and for society at large. 
    • To search for instances of how 1920s perspectives, language, and literature permeate contemporary culture and to assess the ways in which they affect our perspectives on issues such as individualism, industrialism and ecology, relations with other countries, and aesthetics, gender, and sexuality.
    • Cultural history, including films, recorded music, sheet music, and so on
    Formal evaluation for final project, presentation, and weblogs.