- Participation: 15%
- Reading Quizzes: 10%
- Essay #1: 10%
- Proposal: 5%
- Essay #2: 25%
- Presentation: 10%
- Final Exam: 25%
All English classes use MLA 8 (Modern Language Association) formatting. Click here for a sample page.
I accept all assignments by email to email@example.com. They may be in only the following file formats:
- MS Word (.doc or .docx)
- Libre Office / Open Office (.odt)
- Apple Pages (.pages)
Your participation grade is based partially on attendance but mostly on participating in the class, by whatever means you are capable: classroom discussion, coming to office hours, communicating by email, etc.
There will be four, unannounced reading quizzes. Each one will consist of four simple questions of fact from the plays. The function of the reading quizzes is purely to determine whether you read the text.
Essay #1: Critical Analysis
Length: 1500 words
Choose one theory (i.e., one section of one of our chapters) or two closely related theories, go to an original text of that theory (as listed at the end of each chapter and/or in the Reader, on two-hour load in Belzberg Library) and perform a critical summary. That is to say, you’ll summarize the theory itself, and you’ll criticize it as well.
For the summary, your job is to explain how it works as a method of analyzing texts or other art/social objects (e.g., films, video games, etc.). This can include locating this specific theory in its historical/cultural context as well as talking about where it’s located in the world of theory (e.g., as a subset of other theory, as a response to another theory).
For the critique, your job is to explain what kinds of “texts” it might be especially good at addressing (as well as those that it might not be) and/or what kinds of biases or limits it has (i.e., theory pushes your attention towards some ideas and pulls it away from others). Remember, being “critical” doesn’t necessarily mean being negative, but you should be open to the possibility that the theory has limits or even flaws.
That said, please do not treat the preceding two paragraphs (summary and critique) as a list of things you must do in the essay. Instead, it is meant as guide for the kinds of things I am looking for in this essay.
Length: maximum 1 page
This is a brief explanation of what you propose to write for your Term Paper. It should include either a question you want to answer, or a problem you want to solve, or a hypothesis you want to test (i.e., you shouldn’t have decided what your thesis is at this point). In addition, you should name the main texts your essay will use (see below, “Research Paper”), and specifically, why your chosen theory/methodology is appropriate to the object or “text” you are analyzing.
Finally, you must include an outline of your essay (i.e., key terms/concepts you’ll need to define, how you’ll divide it into sections/paragraphs and what topics they’ll cover, what order they will go in and why). Remember, this is a proposal, so you shouldn’t do any of the actual arguing that will be in your paper. You should, instead, tell me what your essay will be.
Essay #2: Theory Application
Length: 2500 words
For this essay, you will pick a theory to apply to a text. Part of the task, then, is to pick a theory that will help better understand the text (i.e., you’re job is not to “prove” that the theory is correct).
The “text” can be any object of study, a text in the broadest sense: a book, short story, poem; a film or series of films; a television show (a single episode or limited selection of episodes); a comic book; a video game; a series of commercials; a genre (with a limited selection of examples); a production company/publisher/producer (with a limited selection of examples); or what have you.
The theory or methodology must come from a specific, original source such as a peer-reviewed article, a book chapter, or even a whole book (NB: there are lots of references in our textbook). You may choose two theories if you want to perform an intersectional analysis (e.g., feminism + postcolonialism, structuralism + Marxism, etc.). You may not repeat the theory you used in Essay #1 (I want you to learn more than one).
Please bear in mind that choosing a body of texts (i.e., more than one) as well as a pair of theories is an added degree of difficulty because you need to explain them all in your essay, which can result in an argument with lots of breadth but no depth. This assignment imagines that you will apply one theory to one text. The other options are there if you feel confident you can handle them.
The Final Exam
Due: 10 December 2017, 5:30pm
Length: 1000 – 1500 words
Respond to one of the questions below in the form of a thesis-driven, argumentative essay. Outside research is allowed but by no means required.
NB: Your essay may not focus on a theory or text that one of your previous essays has focused on (“focus,” here, means that your thesis directly addresses it). You may discuss or refer to texts/theories you have previously focused on for this class, but only if you do not repeat any of your own arguments, interpretations, or commentaries from those previous essays (i.e., give me new material!).
- to be announced!