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Salem High School English Department Curriculum and Resources: Comprehensive American Studies 2

The English component of the SHS Humanities Program teaches students to speak, listen, and view effectively; to read with understanding, to write clearly and correctly, and to actively explore ideas through the mastery of the English language.

Comprehensive American Studies II. Topics

Unit 1: Slavery/Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Unit 2: Civil War/Reconstruction/The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Unit 3: Natives/The West/Excerpts by Sherman Alexie/Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Unit 4:  Industrialization/Immigration/Progressives/Maggie/The Jungle

Unit 5:  Imperialism/World War I/Hemingway Short Stories

Unit 6:  The 1920s/The Great Gatsby

Unit 7:  Great Depression/The Grapes of Wrath

Unit 8:  World War II/Various Selections and Excerpts/When the Emperor Was Divine/Maus

Unit 9:  The Cold War and the 1950s/The Crucible/Death of a Salesman

Unit 10: Civil Rights/Speech Analysis

Unit 11: Vietnam/The Things They Carried

Unit 12: Globalization and Modern Politics/Various Short Stories/Reflections on being “American” in the Contemporary World

What we study

Comprehensive American Studies 2 employs an interdisciplinary approach that allows students to examine the relationship between American history and literature through an examination of economic, political, social, intellectual, and cultural influences from 1850 to the present.  Representative works from this time period will be discussed with emphasis on meaning and technique. In addition to traditional texts, primary and secondary sources will be utilized. Frequent writing assignments will help students develop a clear, unique style. A research paper using MLA documentation will be required.  Students explore guiding questions such as, What is the American Identity or similarly What it means to be an American?  Additional supporting questions appear under each unit.  The questions are included to encourage both teacher and student discussion and research.