LITR 100: Introduction to Literature

Spring 2015

Prof. James J. Donahue       donahujj@potsdam.edu     

130 Morey Hall        

In this course, we will read through a number of texts from 4 major literary genres: poetry, drama, short fiction, and the graphic novel. We will explore a variety of forms, themes, and ideas about the nature and function of literature. This is not a survey course, and we certainly cannot be expected to cover such a broad and endlessly developing concept as “literature.” However, we can build our skills in reading texts, and understanding the various ways that language works to create, define, and have us think past our world. By the end of the semester, we will have developed strong critical reading skills so that you are prepared to pick up and read the works of your choice and productively engage with them. Ultimately, by the end of this semester, we will have explored the continued wonder that is the art of language, and hopefully come to a greater understanding of its purpose in the world.

 

“Has literature a function in the state, in the aggregation of humans, in the republic, in the res publica, which ought to mean the public convenience (despite the slime of bureaucracy, and the execrable taste of the populace in selecting its rulers)? It has.”                         Ezra Pound, How to Read (21)

 

Upon successful completion of this course, you will have:

Become familiar with four major literary genres (poetry, drama, fiction, graphic novel)

Developed your abilities in critical close reading

Developed your abilities to critically discuss (in writing and orally) literary texts

Developed a greater understanding of the power of language (both the language that you encounter in the class, as well as the language you use in the class)

Developed a greater interest in textual analysis that will help you in any area of study

 

Course Requirements:

Attendance and Participation

You are expected to attend class and participate in discussion regularly. If you are excessively absent and/or tardy, you may be asked to withdraw from the course. Being absent and/or late does not excuse you from the work for that day. Missed exams cannot be made up unless arrangements are worked out ahead of time.

Students requiring special accommodations must see me as soon as possible, with proper documentation. All student athletes who will miss class time for approved activities must give me a schedule by the end of the first week of classes.

Reading Load

Some sections will be heavier than others. In general, the reading load will get progressively heavier, as you become better readers of literature and (hopefully) more interested in the material. I expect that you will read each assignment more than once, especially the challenging works. Do not wait until the last minute to do the reading.

 Exams

In this course you will take four exams, one each for the four genres we cover. Each exam will count for 25% of your final grade. If you must miss an exam, you need to notify me ahead of time. If needed, we will work out accommodations. Otherwise, you will earn an “F.” If you must make up an exam, you will be given a separate exam during my office hours. The exams will consist of any combination of identification, short answer, and essay questions, depending on the material covered on the exam. I will always spend some time before any exam in review, and will use that time to explain the particulars for that specific exam.

 Extra Credit

Because everybody has bad days, I allow for one extra credit assignment, to substitute for any one of your first three exams. (However, you cannot use this to replace a grade for an exam you missed.) After the third exam, I will announce for anyone interested the work and the essay question. The grade you earn on this paper will replace your lowest exam grade. There is, however, one catch. The grade will be changed, regardless of what you earn on the paper, even if the new grade is lower. In other words, although this assignment is open to all students, you should only opt for this assignment if your grade is in jeopardy, and you are willing to devote the necessary time to it.

 Plagiarism

Plagiarism is taking credit for work not your own. I have a “zero tolerance” policy on plagiarism. If you pass off another’s work as your own, you will fail this course.

Final Thoughts

This class will be challenging. We will read a variety of works, many of which are chosen precisely because they require critical analysis. However, they are also chosen because they represent some of the best, most interesting writing I have come across, and many are personal favorites of mine. I love this material, and will do what I can to share that love with you. All I ask in return is that you give the readings the time and energy they deserve. This course is, by necessity, reading-heavy. However, it is my hope that as the semester develops, this will seem less like work.

In this course we will be reading works that address adult themes, and often do so by employing adult language. These themes and this language may also become a part of our own intellectual discussions. Some of the issues and language choices may be offensive to some readers. It is important to remember that our methods are analytical, and our goal is a greater understanding of the materials. Further, there are multiple avenues for interpretation, and part of our goal will be to explore as many of them as we can. When discussing these issues and/or analyzing the language of the text, we must remember to be respectful to all. Intolerance of any kind will not be allowed in this classroom, and has no place in education.

If you have any thoughts, comments, questions, or concerns, I invite you to speak to me.

Books:

Kelly, Joseph. The Seagull Reader: Literature (2nd Edition)

Spiegelman, Art. Maus (Volumes I & II)

 

 

Course Calendar

Week 1

M 1/25: Course Introduction; active vs. passive reading

W 1/27: Introduction to Poetry; Carolyn Forche, “The Colonel

F 1/29: Anonymous, “Western Wind”; Emily Dickinson, “Wild Nights – Wild Nights!

 

Week 2

M 2/1: William Shakespeare, “Sonnet 18,” “Sonnet 130

W 2/3: Dylan Thomas, “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night”; Elizabeth Bishop, “One Art

F 2/5: Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself, 1-7”

 

Week 3

M 2/8: Ezra Pound, “In a Station of the Metro”; William Carlos Williams, “The Red Wheelbarrow

W 2/10: Wallace Stevens, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” “Anecdote of the Jar

F 2/12: Lewis Carroll, “Jabberwocky

Week 4

M 2/15: e. e. cummings, “Buffalo Bill ’s,” “anyone lived in a pretty how town

W 2/17: Poetry Exam Review

F 2/19: Poetry Exam

 

Week 5

M 2/22: Introduction to Drama

W 2/24: Sophocles, “Oedipus the King (3-32)

F 2/26: Sophocles, “Oedipus the King” (32-53)

 

Week 6

M 2/29: Henrik Ibsen, “A Doll House”(Act 1)

W 3/2: Henrik Ibsen, “A Doll House”(Act 2)

F 3/4: Henrik Ibsen, “A Doll House”(Act 3)

 

Week 7: Spring Recess

 

Week 8

M 3/14: Arthur Miller, “Death of a Salesman

W 3/16: NeMLA Conference (no class)

F 3/18: NeMLA Conference (no class)

 

Week 9

M 3/21: Susan Glaspell, “Trifles

W 3/23: Drama Exam Review

F 3/25: Drama Exam

 

Week 10

M 3/28: Introduction to Fiction

W 3/30: Kate Chopin, “The Story of an Hour

F 4/1: Edgar Allan Poe, “The Cask of Amontillado

 

Week 11

M 4/4: Ernest Hemingway, “Hills Like White Elephants

W 4/6: Raymond Carver, “Cathedral”

F 4/8: Joyce Carol Oates, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

 

Week 12

M 4/11: April Recess

W 4/13: Jamaica Kincaid, “Girl

F 4/15: Tim O’Brien, “The Things They Carried

 

Week 13

M 4/18: Hannah Voskuil, “Currents

W 4/20: Fiction Exam Review

F 4/22: Fiction Exam

The Extra Credit assignment will be available after the exam

 

Week 14

M 4/25: Introduction to graphic narrative

W 4/27: Maus: Book I – My Father Bleeds History, Chapters 1-3

F 4/29: Maus: Book I – My Father Bleeds History, Chapters 4-6

Extra Credit assignment due

 

Week 15: Lougheed Arts Festival

No classes this week. You are encouraged to attend events at the arts festival.

 

Week 16

M 5/9: Maus: Book II – And Here My Troubles Began, Chapters 1-2

W 5/11: Maus: Book II – And Here My Troubles Began, Chapters 3-5

F 5/13: Final Exam Review

 

The Final Exam will be given on the day and time assigned by the university. Please make all travel plans accordingly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LITR 300: Literary Analysis and Research 

Spring 2016   

Prof. James J. Donahue       donahujj@potsdam.edu      267-2833

Office: 130 Morey Hall

This class provides an introduction to literary theories. In addition to reviewing the basics of literary criticism (e.g., interpretation supported by close reading), the course will introduce and examine a number of different methods of reading, analyzing, and writing about literature, including Feminist, Marxist, and Deconstructive approaches.

The purpose of “theory” is to help change how we read, how we think, and in some cases how we act. The goal of this course is to introduce you to materials that confuse, frustrate, or challenge your own existing ways of reading and interpreting literary texts. You will spend much of the time confused…at first. As we work through these theories, you will discover new methods of interpretation and new ways to explore how to make meaning out of the chaos that is art and culture.

Upon successful completion of this course, you will have:

  • Broadened your ability to analyze literature through understanding multiple theoretical approaches
  • Developed your skills in reading, writing, and speaking about literature
  • Built a solid base for continuing advanced literary study and engagement with the profession

Texts:

James Joyce, “The Dead” (ed. Daniel R. Schwarz)

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (ed. Johanna M. Smith)

Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights (ed. Linda H. Peterson)

Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan, Literary Theory: An Anthology

 

Assignments:

3 essays: 25% each

Final Exam: 25%

(See end of syllabus for essay instructions.)

 

Course Policies:

Attendance and participation are expected. Class is more interesting when everyone participates. Although no portion of your final grade is devoted to attendance and participation, being excessively absent or late may result in your final grade being penalized. Also, being absent does not excuse you from the work of that day. You are responsible for keeping up with the readings and for turning your work in on time.

Unannounced late work will not be accepted for any reason. Any arrangements must be worked out with me in advance. All due dates are noted below.

Students requiring special accommodations must see me as soon as possible, with proper documentation.

This material can be very difficult, as can I. My expectations are high, and I promise you the rewards will be as well. Upon successful completion of this course, you will be more familiar with many of the theoretical approaches employed by professional scholars. I love this material, and promise to share my excitement. In return, I ask that you devote the proper time and effort to the readings and writing assignments. Make no mistake, there is a great deal of reading for this class, and it will be challenging. But if you give it the time and attention it deserves, you will be well rewarded.

Final note: In this course we will be reading works that address adult themes, and often do so by employing adult language. These themes and this language may also become a part of our own intellectual discussions. Some of the issues and language choices may be offensive to some readers.

It is important to remember that our methods are analytical, and our goal is a greater understanding of the materials.

Further, there are multiple avenues for interpretation, and part of our goal will be to explore as many of them as we can. When discussing these issues and/or analyzing the language of the text, we must remember to be respectful to all. Intolerance of any kind will not be allowed in this classroom, and has no place in education.

If you have any thoughts, comments, questions, or concerns, I invite you to speak to me.

Course Calendar

 Week 1: Introduction/Structuralism I

M 1/25: Course Introduction

W 1/27: Rivkin and Ryan, “The Implied Order: Structuralism”

F 1/29: Ferdinand de Saussure, “Course in General Linguistics

 

Week 2: Structuralism II

M 2/1: Jonathan Culler, “The Linguistic Foundation”; Roman Jakobson, “Two Aspects of Language”

W 2/3: Vladimir Propp, “Morphology of a Folk-Tale”; Roland Barthes, “Mythologies

F 2/5 James Joyce, “The Dead”

 

Week 3: Deconstruction I

M 2/8: Rivkin and Ryan, “Introductory Deconstruction”

W 2/10: Jacques Derrida, “Differance

F 2/12: Jacques Derrida, “Of Grammatology

 

Week 4: Deconstruction II

M 2/15: Jean Baudrillard, “Simulacra and Simulations

W 2/17: Barbara Johnson, “Writing”; Helene Cixous, “The Newly Born Woman”

F 2/19: James Joyce, “The Dead”

(Recommended optional reading: “Deconstruction and ‘The Dead’”)

Paper 1 Due

 

 Week 5: Feminism I

M 2/22: Luce Irigaray, “The Power of Discourse and the Subordination of the Feminine”; “Women on the Market”

W 2/24: Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, “The Madwoman in the Attic

F 2/26: Coppelia Kahn, “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle”

 

Week 6: Frankenstein

M 2/29: Frankenstein, 19-79

W 3/2: Frankenstein, 79-128

F 3/4: Frankenstein, 128-189

(Recommended optional reading: “Feminist Criticism and Frankenstein”)

 

Week 7: Spring Recess

 

Week 8: Feminism II (Intersectionalism)

M 3/14: Audre Lorde, “Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference”

W 3/16: NeMLA Conference (no class)

F 3/18: NeMLA Conference (no class)

 

Week 9: Gender Studies/Queer Theory I

M 3/21: Rivkin and Ryan, “Contingencies of Gender”

W 3/23: Gayle Rubin, “Sexual Transformations”; Michel Foucault, “The History of Sexuality

F 3/25: Judith Butler, “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution”

 

Week 10: Gender Studies/Queer Theory II

M 3/28: Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, “Epistemology of the Closet

W 3/30: Michael Moon, “A Small Boy and Others: Sexual Disorientation in Henry James, Kenneth Anger, and David Lynch”

F 4/1: Judith Halberstam, “Female Masculinity

Paper 2 Due

 

Week 11: Marxism I

M 4/4: Rivkin and Ryan, “Starting With Zero”

W 4/6: Karl Marx, “Wage Labor and Capital,” “Capital

F 4/8: Antonio Gramsci, “Hegemony”; Louis Althusser, “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses

 

Week 12: Wuthering Heights

M 4/11: April Recess

W 4/13: Wuthering Heights, 15-108

F 4/15: Wuthering Heights, 108-188

 

Week 13: Marxism II

M 4/18: Wuthering Heights, 188-288

(Recommended optional reading: “Marxist Criticism and Wuthering Heights”)

W 4/20: Mikhail Bakhtin, “Discourse in the Novel”; “Rabelais and His World”

F 4/22: Pierre Macherey, “For a Theory of Literary Production”

Paper 3 Due

 

Week 14: Ethnic Literary Studies/Critical Race Theory I

M 4/25: Ian F. Haney Lopez, “The Social Construction of Race”

W 4/27: Shelley Fisher Fishkin, “Interrogating ‘Whiteness’”; Toni Morrison, “Playing in the Dark”

F 4/29: Henry Louis Gates, “The Blackness of Blackness: A Critique of the Sign and the Signifying Monkey”

 

Week 15: Lougheed Arts Festival

No classes this week. Students are encouraged to attend arts festival events.

 

Week 16: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

M 5/9: Chapters 1-17

W 5/11: Chapters 18-30

F 5/13: Chapters 31-The Last

(Recommended optional reading: Jocelyn Chadwick-Joshua, from “The Jim Dilemma: Reading Race in Huckleberry Finn”)

 

The Final Exam will be given on the day and time assigned by the university. Please make all travel plans accordingly.

Essay Assignments:

  1. 4 pages: For your first essay, you are to provide a Structuralist or Deconstructive reading of “The Dead” (in whole or in part), grounded in the theoretical readings (from Rivkin and Ryan). Some questions to consider before you begin are: What does that particular theory value? What does that theory look for in a text? What passage(s) serve as the best examples for such a reading? How do the theoretical readings help provide a method for analysis? Your goal for this assignment is to demonstrate your ability to employ a theoretical model, and you will be graded on your ability to demonstrate an understanding of the theoretical text(s) you work with, as well as your ability to use those readings as a lens. Your goal for this assignment is to interpret “The Dead” according to the principles of the theory you work with.
  2. 5 pages: For your second essay, you are to provide a Feminist or Gender Studies/Queer Theory reading of either “The Dead” or Frankenstein. Using any of the theoretical texts read for this section, your goal is to provide an analysis of the text that engages the same concerns, issues, etc. (See above.)
  3. 6 pages: For this paper you are to provide a Marxist reading of any of the three literary texts read for class. Using any of the theoretical texts read thus far, your goal is to provide an analysis of the literary text that engages the same concerns, issues, etc. (See above.)

Final Exam: For your final exam, you are to provide an Ethnic Studies/Critical Race Theory reading of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Your goal with this exam is to demonstrate an ability to understand the theoretical essays and apply them effectively to the novel.

For each of the above assignments, you will be graded on the following:

  • Your ability to demonstrate an understanding of the theory
  • Your ability to apply that theory to the text of your choosing
  • Your ability to select and cite the most appropriate textual examples, and discuss them accordingly
  • Your ability to craft a structured, supported, and clear essay

For all but the final essay, you will also be graded on your ability to write clean, well-edited prose.

The final exam will be written in class, but you may prepare for this essay as you see fit. This exam will be open-book.

The exam will be held on the date and time assigned by the university. Make your end of semester travel plans accordingly.

 

LITR 5XX: Jazz Literature

Jazz Literature

James J. Donahue

Syllabus Draft

Course Description: In this course, we will study a sampling of literary works inspired by and responding to jazz. Along the way, we will experience a variety of forms of jazz music, in audio and video formats, from John Coltrane and Miles Davis to contemporary international artists. Because of the large number of artists that could be studied, this course will only briefly attend to a small selection, thus serving as an introduction to further reading and study rather than a comprehensive survey. Although a background in music studies (theory and performance) is not required, you are invited to bring to this class any related training and knowledge. Our focus will be on acquiring a basic understanding of the principles of bop and free jazz as a means of approaching, experiencing, and understanding literary texts. Specifically, we will focus on principles of adaptation, revision, and recurring themes.

Course Objectives: Upon successful completion of this course, you will:

-have further developed your skills in reading, analyzing, and writing about literary texts;

-have advanced your studies in 20th century American literature and culture;

-have built a solid foundation upon which you can further engage the arts.

Course Materials:

Note: The music will not be available at the university bookstore. You are encouraged to acquire copies of the music (in the format most accessible for your personal use). You are also encouraged to share materials.

Books

Jack Kerouac: Mexico City Blues, Old Angel Midnight

Bob Kaufman: Cranial Guitar: Selected Poems by Bob Kaufman

Amiri Baraka: Wise, Why’s, Y’s

Michael S. Harper: Dear John, Dear Coltrane

Michael O’SiadhailHail! Madam Jazz

Toni Morrison: Jazz

Paul Beatty: Slumberland

CDs

Miles Davis: Kind of Blue

Charles Mingus: Pithecanthropus Erectus

John Coltrane: A Love Supreme, Lush Life

Marianne Trudel: La vie commence ici

Mats Gustafsson: HIDR0S6

Gil Scott-Heron: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Course Outline:

Unit 1: Jazz as Method

Reading

“My Favorite Things” (The Sound of Music) Sheet music

Donna LeeSheet music

Audio Recordings

Rodgers and Hammerstein, “My Favorite Things” (from The Sound of Music)

John Coltrane, “My Favorite Things” (album version)

Jaco Pastorius, “Donna Lee” (album version)

Online Materials

My Favorite Things

Selection from The Sound of Music

John Coltrane live performances: 1961, 19631965

Mary J. Blige, “My Favorite Things

Kids On The Slope, “My Favorite Things

Charlie Parker, “Donna Lee

Jaco Pastorius, “Donna Lee” live: 1982

Unit 2: The Beat Movement and the Bop Aesthetic

Readings

Jack Kerouac: “About the Beat Generation” (handout); “The Beginning of Bop” (handout); “Beatific: The Origins of the Beat Generation” (handout); Mexico City Blues; Old Angel Midnight

Bob Kaufman: Cranial Guitar: Selected Poems by Bob Kaufman

Audio Recordings

Jack Kerouac: “Lucien Midnight: The Sounds of the Universe in My Window”; selections from “Poetry for the Beat Generation” (with Steve Allen)

Miles Davis, Kind of Blue

Video Recording

Jack Kerouac on The Steve Allen Show

Unit 3: Free Jazz

Readings

Amiri Baraka: Wise, Why’s, Y’s

Michael S. Harper: Dear John, Dear Coltrane

Selected John Coltrane Poems, including:

Jayne Cortez, “How Long Has Trane Been Gone

Sonia Sanchez, “a/coltrane/poem

Haki R. Madhubuti, “Don’t Cry, SCREAM

Audio Recordings

Charles Mingus: Pithecanthropus Erectus

John Coltrane: A Love Supreme, Lush Life

Video Recording

“Songs in Amiri Baraka’s Wise, Why’s, Y’s

Unit 4: Jazz Beyond Borders

Reading

Michael O’Siadhail, Hail! Madam Jazz

Audio Recordings

Marianne Trudel, La vie commence ici

Mats Gustafsson, HIDR0S6

Video Recordings

Marianne Trudel Trio: Rehearsals and performances

Unit 5: Spoken Word

Audio Recording

Gil Scott-Heron: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Video Recordings

Gil Scott-Heron: Black Wax

Tracie Morris: “Slave Sho to Video aka Black but Beautiful

Tyehimba Jess, “Another Man Done

Spoken Word Poems by Native American/First Nations Women

Unit 6: Jazz as Method (2)

Possible Readings

Toni Morrison: Jazz

Paul Beatty: Slumberland

Jackie KayTrumpet

Artists I Would Like To Include (but do not yet know how)

Nathaniel Mackey

Mendi Obadike

Brad Mehldau

Keith Jarrett

Michael Manring

And there are plenty of others, so please make suggestions!

 

LITR 447: Narratives of Survivance

LITR 447: Narratives of Survivance

James J. Donahue

Spring 2016

Course Description

Although the term “survivance” has multiple definitions, it has taken on a particular meaning in Native American/First Nations communities. As defined by novelist, poet, theorist, and cultural critic Gerald Vizenor, survivance connotes an active sense of presence on behalf of Native Americans and First Nations people, a positive process that goes beyond mere survival and suggests a celebration of the wide variety of cultural forms and productions. In this course we will read works of contemporary fiction that embody Vizenor’s conception of survivance, both in theme and – more importantly – in narrative form. Along the way we will study certain key concepts in contemporary narrative theory, and how they may be useful in the study of these novels.

Upon successful completion of this course, you will have:

– Gained a more thorough understanding of ethnic American literary studies

– Developed your skills in reading, writing, and speaking about literature

– Engaged with current discussions in professional literary scholarship

– Built a solid base for continuing advanced literary study and engagement with the profession

Assignments:

Short (10 minutes) presentation on a key concept in narrative theory (10%)

Short (5 pages) paper applying that key concept to one of the novels (10%)

Brief annotated bibliography (10%)

Final Paper, including abstract (10 pages minimum) (30%)

Midterm and Final Exams (20% each)

Course Policies:

Attendance and participation are expected. Class is more interesting when everyone participates. Also, being absent does not excuse you from the work of that day. You are responsible for keeping up with the readings and for turning your work in on time. Unannounced late work will not be accepted for any reason. Any arrangements must be worked out with me in advance. All due dates are noted below. Students requiring special accommodations must see me as soon as possible, with proper documentation. All student athletes who will miss class time for approved activities must give me a schedule by the end of the first week of classes.

This material can be very difficult, as can I. My expectations are high, and I promise you the rewards will be as well. Upon successful completion of this course, you will be more familiar with a wonderfully complex movement in twentieth-century American literature and culture. I love this material, and promise to share my excitement. In return, I ask that you devote the proper time and effort to the readings and writing assignments.

Final note: In this course we will be reading works that address adult themes, and often do so by employing adult language. These themes and this language may also become a part of our own intellectual discussions. Some of the issues and language choices may be offensive to some readers. It is important to remember that our methods are analytical, and our goal is a greater understanding of the materials. Further, there are multiple avenues for interpretation, and part of our goal will be to explore as many of them as we can. When discussing these issues and/or analyzing the language of the text, we must remember to be respectful to all. Intolerance of any kind will not be allowed in this classroom, and has no place in education. If you have any thoughts, comments, questions, or concerns, I invite you to speak to me.

Course Calendar

Week 1: Introductions

M 1/25: Course introduction

W 1/27: Introduction to Native American/First Nations survivance

F 1/29: Introduction to key concepts in Narrative theory

Week 2: Gerald Vizenor, Native Liberty: Natural Reason and Cultural Survivance

M 2/1: “Introduction: Literary Aesthetics and Survivance”

W 2/3: “Unnamable Chance” and “Native Liberty”

F 2/5: “Survivance Narratives” and “Mister Ishi of California”

Week 3: James Welch and Structuralist Narratology

M 2/8: from Mieke Bal, Narratology; James J. Donahue, “Cosmopolitanism, Focalization, and Ethics in James Welch’s Fools Crow” (handouts)

Student presentation(s) on focalization (papers due by Wednesday)

W 2/10:Fools Crow (Part 1)

F 2/12: Fools Crow (Part 2)

Week 4:

M 2/15: Fools Crow (Part 3)

W 2/17: Fools Crow (Part 4)

F 2/19: Fools Crow (Part 5)

Week 5: Leslie Marmon Silko and Feminist Narratology

M 2/22: Susan Lanser, “Toward a Feminist Narratology,” Robyn Warhol, “Toward a Theory of the Engaging Narrator: Earnest Interventions in Gaskell, Stowe, and Eliot” (handouts)

Student presentation(s) on feminist narratology (papers due by Monday)

W 2/24: Gardens in the Dunes (Parts 1 and 2)

F 2/26: Gardens in the Dunes (Parts 3 and 4)

Week 6:

M 1/29: Gardens in the Dunes (Parts 5 and 6)

W 3/2: Gardens in the Dunes (Parts 7 and 8)

F 3/4: Gardens in the Dunes (Parts 9 and 10)

Week 7: Spring Recess

Week 8: Midterm Exam

M 3/14: Midterm Exam

W 3/16: NeMLA Conference

F 3/18: NeMLA Conference

Week 9: Thomas King and Possible Worlds Theory

M 3/21: from (handouts)

Student presentation(s) on possible worlds theory (papers due by Wednesday)

W 3/23: Green Grass, Running Water (1-107)

F 3/25: Green Grass, Running Water (111-193)

Week 10:

M 3/28: Green Grass, Running Water (194-250)

W 3/30: Green Grass, Running Water (253-361)

F 4/1: Green Grass, Running Water (365-469)

Week 11: Unnatural Narratology

M 4/4: Maria Mäkelä, “Realism and the Unnatural” (handout)

Student presentation (paper due Friday)

W 4/6: Brian Richardson, “Representing Social Minds: ‘We’ and ‘They’ Narratives, Natural and Unnatural” (handout)

Student presentation (paper due Friday)

F 4/8: Jan Alber, “The Social Minds in Factual and Fictional We-Narratives of the Twentieth Century” (handout)

Student presentation (and paper due)

Week 12:

M 4/11: April Recess

W 4/13: Brainstorming session for final papers

F 4/15: Open discussion about research annotated bibliography

Week 13: Joseph Boyden

M 4/18: The Orenda (Part 1, 1-75)

W 4/20: The Orenda (Part 1, 76-150)

F 4/22: The Orenda (Part 2, 153-233)

Week 14:

M 4/25: The Orenda (Part 2, 234-317)

W 4/27: The Orenda (Part 3, 321-404)

F 4/29: The Orenda (Part 3, 405-487)

Annotated Bibliography due

Week 15: Eden Robinson

M 5/2: Monkey Beach

W 5/4: Monkey Beach

F 5/6: Monkey Beach

Final Paper due

Week 16:

M 5/9: Monkey Beach

W 5/11: Monkey Beach

F 5/13: Monkey Beach

The final Exam will be given at the day and time assigned by the university.

GECD 601: Introduction to Graduate Studies

GECD 601: Introduction to Graduate Studies

James J. Donahue

Fall 2016

Course Description

In this course, students will be introduced to a variety of skills and methods necessary for completing graduate work in interdisciplinary studies in the humanities. This course is designed to prepare students to engage work that incorporates multiple discursive traditions (and, as such, disciplinary fields). Students will be introduced to multiple approaches and methods of research in the humanities, with a particular emphasis on developing interdisciplinary research projects. Additionally, students will be introduced to multiple approaches to what is commonly called the “digital humanities,” and be encouraged to work with digital tools and resources in developing their final projects. (To assist in this exploration, most class periods will include the exploration of a different online archive.)

During the semester, students will engage in the following:

  1. Read and analyze works that draw from different discursive traditions
  2. Identify and explore different epistemic moments and paradigm shifts in the humanities
  3. Explore some of the various opportunities encompassed by “the digital humanities”
  4. Complete a final project that engages multiple discursive traditions.

Course Policies

Because this course only meets once per week, and because the work done in the class cannot be adequately made up, attendance is mandatory. Absences will result in grade penalties. After three absences, students will fail the course.

Because of the small class size, participation is mandatory. In some cases, participation will come in the form of presentations to the class. However, all students are expected to contribute to the discussion, especially as this discussion will assist all students in developing their work and preparing for their success in the program. Failure to contribute to the discussion will result in grade penalties.

Students are expected to come to class fully prepared, which means the following:

  • in possession of all necessary materials
  • in possession of all written work due that day
  • having completed all of the reading to be discussed that day.

Failure to come prepared will result in grade penalties.

Students are encouraged to use any and all technologies needed for their full preparation and participation in the class. Additionally, students are encouraged to seek assistance at any and all stages of the development of their work (including, but not limited to, office hours, group work, and any available campus resources). Finally, students needing accommodations are encouraged to come speak with me and seek assistance from the appropriate campus offices.

Course Assignments

Short (15 minute) presentations throughout the semester….10% each (40% total)

Episteme identification (10 pages)……………………………….20%

Research Project………………………………………………….40% total

Abstract (1 page)……………………………………………………10%

Annotated bibliography……………………………………………..10%

Final project………………………………………………………….20%

Although they will be on different topics throughout the semester (see Course Calendar below), each presentation will involve 15 minutes of material from each student (and will be followed by a 5 minute Q&A period). These presentations are intended to foster discussion, rather than be the final word on a topic. Students will be graded on their ability to assess the materials, present on a fundamental point, encourage class discussion, and use any relevant visual materials.

Presentation 1: Students will present on selected chapters from Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, as a means of raising questions and fostering discussion.

Presentation 2: Students will present their epistemic moments to the class, in order to brainstorm directions and address concerns, as well as generate discussion.

Presentation 3: Students will read and present to the class on a recent work of interdisciplinary scholarship engaging some aspect of the American frontier.

Presentation 4: Students will present their final projects to the class.

For the Episteme Identification project, students will identify an epistemic moment, as defined by Michel Foucault (see Week 2). This moment must have a demonstrable impact on at least two different discursive traditions (to be identified by the students). Students will present on this moment and produce a 10-page paper explaining its impact on multiple discursive traditions. Students are expected to engage in any necessary research (in the relevant media) for support. Students will be graded on their ability to identify an engaging epistemic moment, work with the necessary supportive research, and convincingly explain how that moment impacted multiple discursive traditions.

 For the Research Project, students will develop – in stages – a project that engages multiple discursive traditions or disciplinary fields. Students will first compose an abstract, outlining their project and identifying the discursive traditions that will be engaged. Students will then engage in the necessary research, which will culminate in an annotated bibliography (which will include annotations for every work consulted, not just the ones used in the final project). Finally, students will compose the final project, which will be presented to the class. These projects can take a variety of forms (academic paper, digital project, etc.). Students will be graded on their ability to formulate, research, and complete the various stages of the project. If an academic paper, the assignment must include at least 18 pages of revised prose. If another project is settled on, I will work with the student to determine the scope of the project.

Course Books

Matthew K. Gold, ed., Debates in the Digital Humanities

Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Stephen Jay Gould, The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magister’s Pox

Stephen Jay Gould, Time’s Arrow, Time’s Cycle: Myth and Metaphor in the Discovery of Geological Time

 

Arthur I. Miller, Einstein, Picasso: Space, Time, and the Beauty that Causes Havoc

Assorted handouts

 

Course Calendar

Week 1: Introductions

W 8/31

Course introduction

Syllabus

Interdisciplinary scholarship

Research methods via the SUNY Potsdam library

Student introductions

The Walt Whitman Archive

Unit 1: Epistemes and Paradigms

Week 2:

T 9/7

Michel Foucault (handouts)

From The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences: 71-76, 236-249, 344-367

From Gold, Debates in the Digital Humanities:

Matthew Kirschenbaum, “What Is Digital Humanities and What’s It Doing in English Departments?”

Kathleen Fitzpatrick, “The Humanities, Done Digitally”

Emily Dickinson Archive

Week 3:

W 9/14

Michel Foucault (handouts)

From The Archaeology of Knowledge & The Discourse on Language: Chapter 6: Science and Knowledge

Open discussion of episteme assignment (using the example of sports free agency)

From Gold, Debates in the Digital Humanities

Lisa Spiro, “This Is Why We Fight: Defining the Values of the Digital Humanities”

Patrik Svensson, “Beyond the Big Tent”

Piers Plowman Electronic Archive

Week 4:

W 9/21

Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Student presentations (1) on the reading

From Gold, Debates in the Digital Humanities

Stephen Ramsay and Geoffrey Rockwell, “Developing Things: Notes toward an Epistemology of Building in the Digital Humanities”

Johanna Drucker, “Humanistic Theory and Digital Scholarship”

Prelinger Archives

Discussion of episteme assignment (students must have selected an epistemic moment)

Unit 2: Interdisciplinary Scholarship

Week 5:

W 9/28

Stephen Jay Gould, The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magister’s Pox (first half)

 From Gold, Debates in the Digital Humanities

Bethany Nowviskie, “What Do Girls Dig?”

Student presentations (2) on epistemic moments

The Strong Museum of Play Archive

 

Week 6:

W 10/5

Stephen Jay Gould, The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magister’s Pox (finish book)

From Gold, Debates in the Digital Humanities

George H. Williams, “Disability, Universal Design, and the Digital Humanities”

Digital State Archives-New York

 Epistemic Identification Due

Week 7:

W 10/12

Episteme Identification Due

Week 8:

W 10/19

Steven Jay Gould, Time’s Arrow, Time’s Cycle: Myth and Metaphor in the Discovery of Geological Time (first half)

From Gold, Debates in the Digital Humanities

Tara McPherson, “Why Are the Digital Humanities So White?, or, Thinking the Histories of Race and Computation”

Amy E. Earhart, “Can Information Be Unfettered?: Race and the New Digital Humanities Canon”

Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

Week 9:

W 10/26

Steven Jay Gould, Time’s Arrow, Time’s Cycle: Myth and Metaphor in the Discovery of Geological Time (finish book)

From Gold, Debates in the Digital Humanities

Neil Fraistat, “The Function of Digital Humanities Centers at the Present Time”

Julia Flanders, “Time, Labor, and “Alternate Careers” in Digital Humanities Knowledge Work”

 Week 10:

W 11/2

Arthur I. Miller, Einstein, Picasso: Space, Time, and the Beauty that Causes Havoc (chapters 1-5)

From Gold, Debates in the Digital Humanities

Alexander Reid, “Graduate Education and the Ethics of the Digital Humanities”

Discussion of final projects

Week 11:

W 11/9

Arthur I. Miller, Einstein, Picasso: Space, Time, and the Beauty that Causes Havoc (finish book)

From Gold, Debates in the Digital Humanities

Cathy N. Davidson, “Humanities 2.0: Promise, Perils, Predictions”

Student presentations (3) on interdisciplinary scholarship

 Research Project Abstract Due

Unit 3: Final Projects

Week 12:

W 11/16

Individual meetings for final projects

Week 13:

W 11/23

Thanksgiving Break.  No class.

Week 14:

W 11/30

Individual meetings for final projects.

Annotated bibliography due

Week 15:

W 12/7

Student presentations (4) of final projects

Research projects due