• Gieseking, Jen Jack, William Mangold, Cindi Katz, Setha Low, and Susan Saegert, eds. 2014. The People, Place, & Space Reader (PPSR). New York: Routledge.
  • Yang, Gene Luen. 2008. American Born Chinese. New York: Square Fish.
  • O’Hara, Frank. 2001. Lunch Poems. San Francisco: City Lights Publishers.
  • Atwood, Margaret. 1985. The Handmaid’s Tale. New York: McClelland & Stewart.


The assignments in this course are structured to examine, illuminate, and intervene in theories and concepts of space and place that infuse what we imagine to be the United States of America, or, as we more often refer to it: “America.” In other words, how do concepts of place and actual places like manifest destiny, City on a Hill, neighborhood, ghetto, the Midwest, Main Street, the Deep South, the White House, Ellis Island, gold mines, Native American reservations, suburbs, Alcatraz, prisons, Silicon Valley, the Wild West, the rural, borderland, Woodstock, the slave auction block, Ground Zero, wilderness, metropolitanism, frontier, and even Connecticut (Mark Twain’s, Greenwich, or a Trinity College student’s version) define what America is, and, in turn, who its citizens are and could be, what its political economy is and can be, and what its culture is and will be.

Students will produce a short writing assignment at the beginning of class, and a mid-length paper as the capstone of the course. During the class, students will also produce a “listicle” on a key concept of the American geographical imagination and a digital timeline that explores a specific US site that exemplifies that concept; you will offer short presentations on both. Each student will sign up to team present on a day’s course readings, researching not only the argument of the piece but also the author who wrote it, and the aim of their larger work to place it in context. Missing one-and-a-half or more class meetings will result in losing five points from your final grade.

Class Participation & Attendance (20%)

Environmental Autobiography (10%)

Concept Research Project: Listicle (15%)

Site/Image/Text Research Project: Timeline and Paper (15%)

Student-Led Discussion of the Readings (20%)

Final Research Paper (20%)


The website can be found at While we will cover how to use WordPress in class, see the course page for more details and/or reminders. Learning new technology as you share work is an incredible skill for internships, jobs, and graduate school—jump in! Further, you will learn the JSTimeline code in class, giving you some experience worth bragging about in cutting-edge collaborative, participatory technology.  A teaching assistant for the course we’ll also offer office hours to support any questions you might have.


Students of Trinity College are held to the Student Integrity Contract, which can be found in full in the Student Handbook. Your work will be graded according to the rubric designed by your instructor. Cheating and plagiarizing will be dealt with according to university guidelines. Respect and responsibility are core to your life as a Trinity student—enjoy applying, developing, and even honing them in our time in this course. If you have a documented disability and have been approved for academic accommodations, please present your accommodations letter privately during the instructor’s office hours over the first two weeks of the semester. If you do not have a letter, but have a disability requiring academic accommodations, or have questions about applying for accommodations, please contact the Disability Coordinator.