Skip Navigation
search: People Opens New Window | Departments Opens New Window | Penn State Opens New Window | Web Opens New Window
Penn State mark
Penn State mark
University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

American Studies (AM ST)

AM ST 050 (GH) The Literature and Lore of Mining (3) Experience and values of mining tradition: survey of the literature and lore, including field research.

AM ST 050 The Literature and Lore of Mining (3)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

AM ST 050 is a nontraditional approach to the humanities whose central methodology is a comparative use of literature, lore, and oral history to explore humanistic themes related to the coal mining experience and tradition regionally, nationally, and internationally. Throughout the course, knowledge about the miner and his tradition is derived and synthesized from a variety of sources. During the 15 weeks, students typically read one novel, one play, six short stories, a dozen poems, six essays and articles, and a mining culture and lore anthology. Students also view films and videos, examine historical documents, artifacts, and photos, listen to oral history tapes, and visit a coal heritage site. Central to the course is a three-week segment devoted to preparing students to conduct field research involving an interview of a miner or miner's wife. The other 12 weeks are divided equally to stress poetic, fictional, dramatic, and expository expressions of the mining experience. Students analyze and interpret information collected during the field research and make connections between the contents of the interview and the contents of the national and international literature selections assigned for class. By reading, analyzing, and discussing works of literature, students learn how the mining tradition was an inextricable part of American culture and how it played a vital role in the industrial revolution of America. Issues related to immigration, ethnicity, and the struggle between labor and management are also illuminated. Some universal themes related to the human condition to be explored are: the search for dignity, security, and justice; the struggle against the environment to achieve purpose and meaning in life; the indomitable human spirit versus resignation to fate; and the values of solidarity, brotherhood, and family relationships. Representative authors to be studied who have written about coal mining are D.H. Lawrence (England), George Orwell (England), Franz Kafka (Austria-Czech), Stephen Crane (U.S.) Alexandre Kuprine (Russia), and Emile Zola (France). After reading selections by these authors, students compare and contrast the mining tradition in the U.S. to the mining tradition in other countries, with special emphasis on the coal miner's life style, character, and values. For assessment, students will complete three exams-objective and essay in nature. They will conduct an oral history field research project, prepare three reports, and keep a journal. Class attendance and discussion of the work assigned will also be factors in evaluation. The course will fulfill a general education humanities requirement.

General Education: GH
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: Humanities
Effective: Spring 2004

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


Look up course abbreviations

Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

Skip Popular Searches
  1. Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements
  2. General Education: United States Cultures and International Cultures
  3. Course Index
  4. Graduate Degree Programs Bulletin
  5. General Education: Arts
  6. General Education: Humanities
  7. General Education: Health and Physical Activity
  8. General Education: Natural Sciences
  9. General Education: Social and Behavioral Sciences
  10. General Education: Writing/Speaking