Powdermaker Hall 119
Office: Klapper 633
Office Hours: Tuesdays 3:30 – 5:30
Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake (Anchor)
Paul Beatty, The Sellout (Picador)
Siri Hustvedt, The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves (Picador)
Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself (Bedford St. Martin’s)
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (Bedford St. Martin’s)
Annotation Exercise 1: Make careful notes in the margins a poem by Emily Dickinson or a sonnet by William Shakespeare. Write a 1-2 page reflection on what you learned by annotating the poem. (10%)
Annotation Excerise 2: Pretend you are a character from a text we’ve read this semester and annotate two pages from another text we’ve read in the voice of that character. (20%)
Essay 1: Identify an intertextual relationship between two texts and cite a passage from each text to demonstrate how the later text expands, revises, or challenges an idea about the human raised in the earlier text. (30%)
Essay 2: Pretend you are the author of one or our course texts and write a letter to the author of another, focusing on particular questions about the human. Be sure to quote and analyze both texts. (40%)
- To reflect on literary history, drawing connections among works across the boundaries of genre, chronological period, and national literatures.
- To gain a sense of debates and ideas when it comes to defining and understanding what it means to be human.
- To practice close reading of literary texts
- To gain a sense of how historical and social contexts can illuminate literary texts.
- To become acquainted with a number of fundamental literary and cultural concepts and key terms.
- To continue to build your writing and research skills, focusing on the nuances of making an “argument,” as well as of entering into conversation with the ideas and claims of other scholars.
The Fourth Hour
241, 242, 243, and 244 are 4-credit, 4-hour courses that meet twice a week for 1 hour and 40 minutes.* This means that you will be meeting with your students for an additional 25 minutes during each class, or 50 minutes over the course of a week. The 4th hour was designed to build in some extra time to develop writing, reading, and other critical skills that will help students succeed as English Majors. With that in mind, we’ll spend lots of class timing practicing those skills.
If you have a medical, cognitive, or psychological reason to require accommodation in this class, please let me know. You should also contact the Office of Special Services in 171 Kiely Hall at 718-997-5870. The staff in Special Services will strive to offer any services students need.
A student’s work should be his or her own. But a student’s ideas should also engage the ideas of other thinkers and writers. Communication gives ideas meaning and creates a community of thinkers. This is where citation and plagiarism can become tricky. Plagiarism is, of course, a serious issue. It is important that you establish your own point of view, make it clear what ideas are yours and which come from your sources, and respond to your sources critically. Be sure also to cite all sources appropriately, using MLA style. Finally, if you’re struggling with your ideas, your writing, or your sources, be sure to talk to me. Plagiarism sometimes arises from confusion and sometimes from desperation. If you are feeling panicked or just unsure about a writing assignment, talk to me. I can help you with the process. I count on you to take your academic integrity seriously, and I take any breach of the college’s policy on plagiarism seriously, too. You should familiarize yourself with that policy, and let me know if you have any questions about it.
Formatting Guidelines for Writing Assignments
All your formal writing should be typed, double-spaced, with 1” margins. Please proofread carefully, so that your essay is polished and free of typographical errors. Give every essay a title and include your name as well as the course name and number. Be sure to include a list of works cited. Use MLA guidelines for citing sources and constructing your works cited list. We will discuss my expectations in class, but in general I expect essays to contain serious thought, analysis, and reflection, not simply summary or description.