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American Drama 565-01

Fall Semester 2011
MWF 1:00-1:50, GH 301
Instructor: Dr. K. Nichols, Office: GH 450
Email: knichols11@cox.net


Course Description

This course is an upper-division survey of 19th- and 20th-century (including contemporary) plays written by American playwrights. Representative dramatists from each literary-historical period and a range of dramatic styles will be covered, with the emphasis on modern drama. Although analysis of dramatic texts will be our main focus, some attention will be paid to the theatrical, cultural, and historical contexts. Selections from filmed productions will be shown periodically.

Required Textbooks

Plus several other dramas available online or on library reserve.


All major assignments must be completed to pass the course.
You may e-mail papers to me at knichols11@cox.net, but make sure they are attached as a .doc or .rtf file.

Extra Credit

You may earn extra credit points by attending the PSU live theatre productions of The Madwoman of Chaillot (Oct 27-29, Pittsburg Memorial Auditorium, 8 pm) and/or Theatre Unplugged (Dec. 2-3, Studio Theatre,Grubbs 108, 7 pm). Other live theatre events are sometimes available in our region, but get my permission to go to them for extra credit.

To earn the credit, fill out a fairly simple, two-page "Cultural Events Report Form." See Cultural Event Report Form (online). These reports are due no later than one week after the event. Each report will add 2 points to your final average, with 4 points raising your final grade by 1/2 letter grade.

Late Work Policy

Late papers and exams will be graded down one letter grade for each day they are late.

Absence Policy

Regular attendance is required. Everyone has FOUR pre-excused absences for those difficult times in life that interfere with class attendance, so you do not need to clear absences with me, but it is a good idea to check with me (or a classmate) to make sure an assignment was not changed while you were gone. Students who miss more than four classes may be dropped from the roster for "excessive absences."


I strongly support the policies of the English Department and the University on plagiarism. Undocumented use of someone else's material (including "borrowing" their language or their ideas) will result in an F on the paper or for the course--or worse for the most egregious cases.

See me if you have questions about what is or is not plagiarism. I'm always happy to help students who are making good-faith efforts to do things right.

Course Web Pages

You can quickly access our online syllabus by typing in one of the following addresses:

You can also access my home page (which links to all my web pages) by going to the PSU home page and then locating the English Department web page. Find my name on the "Faculty" list and click on it. That will take you to my home page.

Office Hours (Grubbs 450)

I am always happy to meet with students in my office to discuss any questions about our class or related matters. The most efficient ways to contact me are 1) to see me before or after class, 2) to e-mail me at knichols11@cox.net, or 3) to tape a note to my office door.

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