Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

CCOG for ENG 237 Summer 2022

View archive version »
Course Number:
ENG 237
Course Title:
Working-Class Literature
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Introduces U.S. and global literature by and/or about the working class. Prerequisites: (WR 115 and RD 115) or IRW 115 or equivalent placement. Recommended: ENG 104, ENG 105, and/or ENG 106. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Analyze literature to identify the differences and similarities in working-class experiences across time and national contexts.
  2. Examine recurring themes within working-class literature both within and across national contexts.
  3. Compare and contrast differences in style and form in working class literature that are shaped by national status, traditions, and/or cultures.
  4. Identify the variety of contexts—historical, cultural, sociological, and political—under which literature is produced and distributed.
  5. Produce critical, reflective, and/or creative writing about working-class literature.

Integrative Learning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to reflect on one’s work or competencies to make connections between course content and lived experience.

General education philosophy statement

English and Writing courses align with the PCC General Education philosophy by providing an appreciation of writing and literature from global and personal perspectives. Students in English courses engage the imagination, critical inquiry and self‐reflection, and in the process of doing so, cultivate a more complex understanding of their own culture(s), linguistic/communication practices, and perspectives in relation to others. Because the literary arts lie at the heart of most human cultures, they are essential for understanding each other and navigating our differences. In literature classes, students explore significant texts from diverse cultures and periods in history. Students look closely at texts from a range of genres, articulating the way elements of writing, content, form, and style are interrelated, and considering how values and interpretations have changed over time and through different theoretical lenses. Students engage texts through critical analysis and creative response, learning to use evidence to support their interpretations and to navigate critical conversations. Students explore literature both as an art form designed to provoke thought and challenge social norms, and as an expression of human experience. Writing and Literature courses foster a stronger sense of engagement with history, culture, and society. Writing and Literature students develop an awareness of themselves as readers and writers in a global world, and an enlarged understanding of the relationships between language, identity, ideas, scholarship, communication, and transformation.

Cultural Literacy

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to analyze and evaluate how cultural systems relate to broader social dynamics.

Course Activities and Design

Class meeting time consists of lecture, group discussion, and small group discussion. Meeting time may also include the following:  writing; performing; viewing film; listening to performances, guest speakers, or audio recordings.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment tools may include
• informal responses such as quizzes, study questions or journals;
• participation in small-and full- group discussion;
• in-class and out-of-class writing;

• formal academic essays;
• presentations by individuals and groups;
• short and long essay examinations;
• close reading exercises using support/evidence;
• portfolios of creative writing or visual art forms;
• dance, theatrical or spoken-word performances;
• academic essays that evaluate various interpretations of a text and their relative validity. Both instructor and peer evaluation may be incorporated into the assessment process.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

The course will introduce and foster understanding of:

• the confines and fluidity of class identity in and the influence of these questions of identity in literature by/about the working class

• ways and reasons that working-class literature has traditionally been marginalized

• stereotypes and generalizations of working-class as primarily male, white and industrial, and the response of working-class literature to such generalizations

• the ways that working-class literature identifies intersections of race, gender, ethnicity, citizenship, educational status, and sexual orientation with class identity

• the relationship between traditional notions of literary genres (poetry, fiction, drama) and forms such as letters, memoirs, oral history, songs, speeches, leaflets

• rhetorical considerations, especially with regards to socio-historical context, intended audience and political purpose of working-class texts

• the relationships between creativity and productivity, especially within the context of power and ownership

• themes of power and powerlessness

• the significance of linguistic styles in representing power relationships