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Schedule of Weekly Readings and Assignment Deadlines

Page history last edited by Cyrus Mulready 13 years, 7 months ago

Unit I: Introduction and Foundations


August 26: Introduction to the Course; Race, Nation, Identity: Framing our Inquiry



Henry Louis Gates, Jr, "Editor's Introduction: Writing 'Race' and the Difference it Makes" (1985) (focus especially on the first 15 pages)

Gates, "Reading 'Race,' Writing, and Difference" (2008) (You can skim this, focusing especially on the first three pages)


1. Read Gates's essays and note what you take to be his main arguments. What questions do you have after reading these essays?

2. Come to class with any questions you have about the course, syllabus, and requirements.


September 2: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity



Herbert Gans, "Symbolic Ethnicity: The Future of Ethnic Groups and Cultures in America"

James Alan McPherson, "Why I Like Country Music"

Assignment: Bring a brief response of roughly 300-500 words to class. You might want to e-mail the document to yourself, bring it on a flash drive, or better yet, upload it to Dropbox so that you have an electronic copy.



Unit II: Narrative and the Novel


September 16: Medieval Romance/Premodern Race and Identity



Wolfram von Eschenbach, Parzifal (selection)

"Prester John's Letter"

Robert Bartlett, "Medieval and Modern Concepts of Race and Ethnicity"

Blogging: Open topic this week. Please post 300-500 words in response to one of our readings, as well as at least one reply to another post.

Literature Resource




September 23: The Rise of the Novel/Narrative Theory



Aphra Behn, Oroonoko

"Novel" and "Point of View" in Abrams 

Blogging: This week, I'd like for you to post to the blog examples that illustrate the various examples of "Points of View" detailed in Abrams. These can come from anywhere--your favorite short story or novel, something we've read so far this semester, or something you are reading in another course. Comment on how the point of view used in your example conveys something about the meaning of the piece in question.

Literature Resource


Jacob Brill 

Liz Bonhag Oroonoko Study Guide.doc


September 30: The Contemporary Novel


Readings: Toni Morrison, Tar Baby (read to at least page 214 (up to Ch. 7))

Open topic this week. Please post 300-500 words in response to one of our readings, as well as at least one reply to another post.

Literature Resource


Stacey La Scala 

Andrew Chmielowiec

Tar Baby literary resource guide-1.doc *UPDATED*


October 7: Theory and Critical Paradigms


Readings: Toni Morrison, Tar Baby (Finish)

Presentations, on critical essays on Morrison's Tar Baby (sign up in table below);

Description of Essays

Guidelines for Presentations

Goyal, "The Gender of Diaspora in Toni Morrison's Tar Baby"
Krumholz, "Blackness and Art in Toni Morrison's Tar Baby"


Andrew B.

Moffit, "Finding the Door: Vision/Revision and Stereotype in Toni Morrison's Tar Baby"



Emberley,  "A Historical Transposition: Toni Morrison's Tar Baby and Frantz Fanon's Post-Enlightenment Phantasms"  
Duvall, "Descent in the 'House of Chloe': Race, Rape, and Identity in Toni Morrison's Tar Baby"
Ryan, "Contested Visions/Double-Vision in Tar Baby"
Magness, "The Knight and the Princess: The Structure of Courtly Love in Toni Morrison's Tar Baby"



Lepow, "Paradise Lost and Found: Dualism and Edenic Myth in Toni Morrison's Tar Baby" Adam & Scott

















October 14: John Edgar Wideman/The Question of Authorship



John Edgar Wideman, Philadelphia Fire

"Authors and Authorship" in Abrams 


Open topic this week. Please post 300-500 words in response to one of our readings, as well as at least one reply to another post.

Literature Resource


Andrew Bruso.

Lou Reid

Wideman P.F. Resource Guide.doc


Unit III: Poetry and Poetics


October 21: Introduction to Prosody and the Sonnet


Terry Eagleton, "How to Read a Poem"

Edward Corbett, "Figurative Language" from Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student

Selected sonnets and poems

Blogging: Select a figure of speech from Corbett and identify at least one example of that figure from our reading. Write a post of roughly 200 words discussing how the poem you have selected uses that particular figure of speech. What is its rhetorical effect?


October 28:


Readings: No Readings--Library Research Session and Midterm
Assignment: Midterm Exam (no blogging this week)


November 4: Close Reading Presentations


Readings:  No Readings--Seminar Participants will present Close Readings of Selected Poems. Please take the time to read over the blog to familiarize yourself with the poems others are working on this week.
Blogging: Post the poem (or a link to the poem) you will be performing a close reading of during your presentation, along with a brief overview of the poem and things we should look for in the poem.


Unit IV: Drama


November 11: Shakespearean Drama



Shakespeare, Othello (1602)

Emily Bartels, "Making More of the Moor: Aaron, Othello, and Renaissance Refashionings of Race" (1990)

Blogging: Choose a speech from Othello and use your tools of close reading to analyze its rhetorical style, use of figurative language, and metaphor. Try to connect your reading of this passage to some of the broader issues raised by Bartels, or by your own critical reading of the play.


Literature Resource Guide:

Selena Hughes

Pamela Ugor

Othello lit guide Eng 500 11-16-2010.doc


November 18: Race as Performance


John Guare, Six Degrees of Separation (1990)

Abrams, "Drama"

Literature Resource


Scott Schneider

Adam Ludwig 

Guare Resource Guide.pdf

Guare Resource Guide.docx


No Blogging this Week--200 Word Abstract and Annotated Bibliography for Seminar Paper (Here are some guidelines for writing your Abstracts)




December 2: From Page to Screen: Film and Literature


Readings: David Henry Hwang, M. Butterfly (1988) and David Cronenberg's Film Adaptation (1993)
Blogging: Select a scene from the film and discuss how Cronenberg chose to adapt the same scene in the play. You can also choose a scene that Cronenberg adds, or chooses not to include, and discuss the impact that decision has on the adaptation.


Literature Resource Guide:

Donal Henke

Kelly Young




December 9:  Prospects and Consequences for Further Study and Teaching



No Readings--Formal  presentations (reading from typed pages) of final essays in class. Selections should be about 2 pages, or no more than five minutes.

Blogging Reflection (In-Class):

Look back over your previous blog posts, first of all, and comment on what threads you see emerging in your own writing over the course of the term. Are there any recurrent themes, approaches, or ideas that you see? Are there any ideas in there that you would like to revisit, or have already? Second, what aspects of blogging to you most value, and how does that show up in your posts?


You don't need to post your response--we will discuss them in class.


Final Draft of Seminar Essay Due in my Office by Monday, December 13th, by 5:00


December 16, 7:15 p.m.: Final Exam




Open topic this week. Please post 300-500 words in response to one of our readings, as well as at least one reply to another post.

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