Monday, April 16, 2007

Class Project: Syllabus

Here's my syllabus. I think it's done--I just have to finish up the annotated part of it, which I'll post soon. This is the week of projects, so I suspect it will be a project posting week here...


Jenn Miller

Professing Literature

David Jolliffe

April 18, 2007

Syllabus: Introduction to Literature

“Textually Active”

Course Overview:

Each day, all of are required to read and interpret the world around us. One person, for example, may see an advertisement and view it as a way of receiving information about some new product, while another may read the same text as a manipulative ploy and an exploitation of the unconscious consumer. It’s all in how you look at it!

The world of texts may come to us in the form of images, words, sounds, or speech, and we must be able to interpret those texts to fully participate in our world and comprehend what’s occurring around us. In order to be active consumers and producers of text, we need to understand how texts are produced, how to develop techniques to interpret those texts we encounter, and how to form methods to create meaningful text.

Learning Goals:

Students will study the variety of texts available to them for interpretation (be it literary, print, online, visual, etc), develop techniques to interpret the range of texts, produce creative texts of their own, and finally reflect on what is involved in the creation of texts.


  • Atwood, Margaret: The Penelopiad
  • Gaiman, Neil: Sandman Vol 1: Preludes and Nocturnes
  • Homer: The Odyssey
  • Nafisi, Asar: Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books
  • Silko, Leslie Marmon: Ceremony
  • selected readings as assigned
  • in class films


  • Blog (online reading journal)
    • The blog, hosted by Wordpress, will function as a reading journal. The minimum posting requirement is once for each class session, following an assigned prompt, though students are certainly welcome to post more. I’ll be reading these, and they will be available for your classmates to read and comment on. The blog entry will be due by midnight the day before the next class meeting so that I can read the entries. This will be counted as part of the participation aspect of the course.
  • Unit reflection papers (3 total)
    • These will be three 3-5 page papers that will come at the close of the first three units asking you to reflect on certain aspects of that unit.
  • Group parody project and presentation
    • The assignment at the close of Unit Four will be a group project and presentation. The class will be broken up into groups to create a parody or re-centered text based on The Odyssey.
  • Project proposal
    • In order to get you thinking and working on your final projects early, a project proposal will be due. It’ll give me a chance to provide feedback on your ideas and for you to ask questions.
  • Creative project/reflection/presentation
    • It is not enough for us to learn how to interpret texts—we must also know how to create them. The final project will contain three parts: the creative element (which can be anything textual—song, poetry, short story, essay, film, comic, painting, collage, etc—of your own creation), the reflective element (what went into your creative process?), and the presentation element, where you share your project with the class.


  • Participation—class interaction/blog assignments: 15%
  • Unit reflection papers: 15% each (45% total)
  • Group parody project: 15%
  • Final creative project: 25%

August 20—Introductions

Unit One: Text as History/Biography

August 22—Tim O’Brien, “The Things They Carried”

August 24—Dan Baum, “The Casualty: An American Soldier Comes Home From Iraq

August 27—Asar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran

August 29—Reading Lolita in Tehran

August 31—Reading Lolita in Tehran

September 3—Labor Day, no class

September 5—Reading Lolita in Tehran

September 7—Finish Reading Lolita in Tehran

Unit Two: Text as Culture/Oral History

September 10—John Lame Deer, “The Circle and the Square” Assignment #1 Due

September 12—Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony

September 14—Ceremony

September 17—Ceremony

September 19—Ceremony

Unit Three: Text as Visual Representation

September 21— Paul Gravett, Graphic Novels (excerpts) Assignment #2 Due

September 24—Neil Gaiman, Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes

September 26—view Mirrormask

September 28—view Mirrormask

October 1—finish Mirrormask

Unit Four: Interplay of Texts

October 3—Final project day: Assignment #3 Due!

October 5—Homer, The Odyssey

October 8—The Odyssey

October 10—The Odyssey

October 12—Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus

October 15—The Penelopiad

October 17—The Penelopiad

October 19—Group project work day: Project proposal due!

October 22—view O Brother Where Art Thou?

October 24—view O Brother Where Art Thou?

October 26—finish O Brother Where Art Thou?

October 29—Groups present parodies, Parodies Due!

Unit Five: Text as Creative Process

October 31—Michael Pollan “Why Mow?”

November 2—Non-fiction essay, continued

November 5—Edgar Allen Poe, “The Raven”

November 7—Edgar Allen Poe, “The Philosophy of Composition”

November 9—field trip to student art gallery

November 12—Prose contribution from MFA student

November 14—MFA student guest speaker

November 16—Poetry contribution from MFA student

November 19—MFA student guest speaker

November 21 & 23—Fall Break and Thanksgiving Holiday, no class

November 26—Project presentations

November 28—Project presentations

November 30—Project presentations

December 3—Project presentations

December 5—Dead Day

December 6—Class Final: Reflective piece posted to blog by HIGH NOON


the secret knitter said...

You've just been tagged for a Thinking Blogger award!

Good luck with your other homework assignment.

Kerry said...

Hmm, wordpress blogs...I wonder where in the world you would have gotten that idea... *grins and winks*

Looks like a fun and insightful course, too bad I can't take it!