Western Literature Syllabi

In days of yesteryear the WLA printed a photocopied collection of syllabi for teaching Western American Literature.  This syllabus collection was an invaluable reference for both new instructors and experienced professors looking for new approaches and fresh ideas.

The WLA plans to resurrect this syllabus sharing idea via an online Syllabus Exchange, linked to the WLA website and loosely modeled on the one that the Society of Early Americanists sponsors:

I am spearheading this effort, assisted by graduate student representative Matt Lavin.  Our first step is to invite you to contribute syllabi to the project—the more the merrier!

We imagine a rich and diverse site, offering an enticingly wide range of courses on Western American literature, film, and culture–from freshman composition to graduate seminars, from writing to literature to theory, from required courses to special topics, from regional to world contexts, and from classroom-based to web courses to interdisciplinary field courses.  In short, we hope the collection will reflect the intelligence, innovation, and diverse teaching contexts of the WLA membership itself.

Warning: when your syllabus is posted to the WLA Syllabus Exchange, people may borrow your ideas.  In fact, that is the point!–to share ideas, help each other, and promote good teaching.  The following guidelines will be printed on the site:

“The syllabi shared on this site are publications, protected by Fair Use laws.  If you wish to borrow ideas, you should credit the author on your syllabus.  Example: ‘Adapted from Shirley Lang’s Ethnic West course at Great Plains University.’”

I hope that you’ll be interested in participating.  Please email each syllabus as an attachment to wlasyllabi@gmail.com.  Pdf files are preferred, but we can also accept .doc, .docx, and .rtfs, as well as htm and html links to course websites.

Deadline?  The sooner the better!  Shortly after Valentine’s Day, February 14, Matt and I will begin to organize the first compilation.  After the first batch of submissions are posted, we will continue to accept syllabi (indeed, the website itself will invite submissions), but the site will be updated only once or twice a year.

When the WLA Syllabus Exchange is up and running, we’ll notify the WLA membership. Thanks very much, and let me know if you have any questions.  Please spread the word!


Cheryll Glotfelty  wlasyllabi@gmail.com
Professor, University of Nevada, Reno
Editor, WLA Syllabus Exchange
WLA Executive Council member
Matt Lavin
Graduate Student, University of Iowa
Assistant Editor, WLA Syllabus Exchange
WLA Graduate Student Representative


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