American Literary Traditions (ENGL 210)
Prof. Randy Bass - firstname.lastname@example.org
M, 8:50-10:05--ICC 105; W, 8:50-10:05--Reiss 282
Eric Hofmann, Collaborating Instructor - email@example.com
Syllabus Section Links:
The Annotated Reading Schedule (Course Reflections
and Reading Benchmarks)
Traditional and Hypertext Paper Requirements
This course will examine several works of American fiction as they have
shaped and been shaped by some of the most important literary traditions
in the United States. This course is not a "survey" course, but it is intended
to be an introductory course for the study of the multiple literatures
of the United States. Our focus will be primarily how the aesthetic, rhetorical,
formal, and cultural dimensions of the works are expressive of a variety
of shared themes such as human and cultural memory, the meaning of national
history, cultural and social construction of self-identity, and dramas
of racial difference. The course will meet one day a week in a conventional
classroom and one day a week in a networked computer classroom, where we
will learn to use a variety of electronic tools for analyzing and seeing
these literary texts in new ways, as well as writing about them in nontraditional,
multimedia formats. (return to top)
Course Online Syllabus/Web pages: http://www.georgetown.edu/bassr/traditions.html
READING SCHEDULE AND "BENCHMARKS"
Wed 8/27 Introduction to course, web site, key concepts.
Mon 9/1 No class
Wed 9/3 Silko, "Language and Literature from a Pueblo Perspective"
(handout); Michael Joyce, "Afternoon" (available online in any ACS public
Mon 9/8 Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson (through p. 226)
Wed 9/10 Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson (finish)
Mon 9/15 Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson; Thomas, ed. Plessy v. Ferguson
Wed 9/17 Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson; Plessy readings, cont.
Mon 9/22 Morrison, Beloved (part one, through p. 165)
Wed 9/24 Morrison, Beloved
Mon 9/29 Morrison, Beloved (parts two and three, finish)
Wed 10/1 Morrison, Beloved; Dori Laub, M.D., "Bearing Witness,
or the Vicissitudes of Memory," and extracts from Ruins of Memory,
Mon 10/6 Morrison, Beloved
Wed 10/8 Morrison, Beloved, holocaust/memory; Melville, Moby-Dick
(Intro, Etymology and Extracts) Traditional Analysis Paper Due
Mon 10/13 Columbus Day
Wed 10/15 Melville, Moby-Dick (through p. 117, "The Lee Shore")
Mon 10/20 Melville, Moby-Dick (through p. 289, "Of the Monstrous
Pictures of Whales")
Wed 10/22 Melville, Moby-Dick (through p. 482, "The Pequod Meets
the Samuel Enderby of London")
Begin Working on Moby-Dick Hypertext Analysis Paper
Mon 10/27 Melville, Moby-Dick (finish)
Wed 10/29 Melville, Moby-Dick
Mon 11/3 Melville, Moby-Dick
Wed 11/5 Melville, Moby-Dick Hypertext Analysis Paper Due
Mon 11/10 Silko, Ceremony (through p. 130)
Wed 11/12 Silko, Ceremony; T.C. McLuhan, "Dream Tracks"
Mon 11/17 Silko, Ceremony (finish)
Wed 11/19 Silko, Ceremony; Holocaust readings
Mon 11/24 Spiegelman, Maus (Book I)
Wed 11/26 Spiegelman, Maus (Book II, finish)
Mon 12/1 Spiegelman, Maus; Holocaust readings.
Wed 12/3 Spiegelman, Maus; Holocaust readings
Final Hypertext Projects/Papers due: Friday , December 19, at 4:00pm.
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Mark Twain: Pudd'nhead Wilson
Toni Morrison: Beloved
Herman Melville: Moby-Dick
Leslie Marmon Silko: Ceremony
Art Spiegelman: MAUS: A Survivor's Tale
Brook Thomas, ed. Plessy v. Ferguson: A Brief History with Documents
plus essays and selected readings, including: Silko, "Language and
Literature from a Pueblo Perspective"; Michael Joyce, "Afternoon" (hypertext
fiction); selected readings on Holocaust, memory, and testimony; T. C.
McLuhan, "Dream Tracks"; and a few others. We will also do a lot of work
with Internet sites dealing with the authors, their works, and contexts.
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ACADEMIC HONOR CODE: Students should be familiar with the GU honor code
and are reminded that rules for plagiarism and other honor violations apply
as rigorously to electronic work as printed work.
FOURTH CREDIT OPTION: Students who are engaged in community service
are encouraged to make connections between their work and the many possible
connections in this course, either in conversation or through their hypertext
projects. I encourage students who are interested in the fourth credit
option for applying their service work to learning to speak to me early
in the semester to make arrangements for it. (return
Students are expected to attend class, keep up with the reading, and actively
share in the responsibility for making knowledge in the course. Student
participation in class, engagement with the materials, preparedness with
reading questions and passages, participation in the course's electronic
activities, including all electronic classroom activities will weigh significantly
in the grading. Student responsibilities fall into three categories:
Reading Questions: Each week, the reading will be accompanied
by reading questions, which will be distributed variously by paper, the
Web site, and the listserv. You are responsible for being prepared on the
reading questions (never more than 1 or 2 at a time). Sometimes, instead
of specific questions, I will ask you simply to prepare a passage that
you felt was important, for which you can identify key themes, issues,
and connections. Sometimes you will be asked to write on a reading question
when you come into class; sometimes I will use the reading questions as
the basis for class discussion and call on you to speak to the questions
for a minute or two; othertimes the reading questions might guide or inform
our work with electronic texts and Internet archival work. The Reading
Questions are not optional guides for the reading, but a critical component
of the course.
Hypertext Journals: Every Wednesday we will be in Reiss 282,
doing electronic work with electronic texts and resources. Most of these
activities will be done in pairs, or groups, and will involve writing research
and synthesis reflections in a Web- journal. You will use Netscape's text
editor as your hypertext writing environment, enabling you to make direct
electronic links to outside resources, as well as linkages to other students'
Analysis Paper: One third of the way through the course, there
will be a traditional analysis paper, related to Twain, Morrison, and all
other readings thus far. This paper can be built on and transformed in
the next hypertext project.
Hypertext Projects ("papers"): There are two hypertext "papers"
in this class, in the form of hypertext writing projects. I make no assumptions
about technical skills so you will get training and help to write your
hypertext projects. You will also be assigned to a "writing group" so that
you can count on a few others for feedback and mutual assistance. The two
hypertext projects will come at the two-thirds point and end of the semester.
Much more information will follow about these.
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