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EN237 Contemporary Literature: 1920-Present

 

Instructor: Dean Karpowicz             Office:   CART 251  
Email: karpowic@uwp.edu 
Phone: 595-2672
Office Hours: Monday 1-2; Wednesday 12-1; Tuesday/Thursday 2-3; Friday–by appt.

Course Description: In English 237, we will focus on the study American Literature dating from 1920 – present. Rather than perusing excerpts of texts written during this period, we will read a collection of shorter, entire works. This method allows for an in-depth analysis of each work that we cover. Minimal time will be spent covering particular literary movements, mainly Modernism and Postmodernism. Within the scope of our study, we will obtain the necessary skills to debate and analyze literary texts.

Course Work: We will read eight short novels and a selection of poetry in this course. Students will be graded on two tests, response posts, and a final paper. The tests will consist of several identifications and short answer questions; the final paper will be 5-7 pages in length and on the topic of the student’s choice. Final papers will be written in MLA style. They will use a minimum of 2 outside sources, with proper citations and a works cited page. If you have questions about a MLA citation, please ask me, as it isn’t something that we are going to cover in class; Also, the UW-Parkside library has more than one MLA Handbook on hand. There is also a very good resource at Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab. A sample paper can be downloaded here.

Forums: During the first week of class, students will register and post on the class website. This site will be used for class responses to the texts that we read. Your responses should be at least a few paragraphs long, and I may ask you to comment on a specific section of the reading. Each student will be required to complete five of the seven posted responses. Each response will be worth 20 points.

Texts: The following texts are required for the class. All in-class references that I make will be from the editions I ordered through the bookstore. However, students may use any edition they like. I do ask that you select a format that you can search if you use an electronic version of the texts, so that you can follow along with our discussion.

In Our Time, by Ernest Hemingway (ISBN: 0020518102)
As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner (ISBN: 067973225x)
The  Dharma Bums, by Jack Kerouc (ISBN0143039601)
Beloved, by Toni Morrison (ISBN: 1400033411)
White Noise, by Don Dellilo (ISBN: 0140077022)
V., by Thomas Pynchon (ISBN: 0060913088)
The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson (ISBN: 0553380966)

Buy the books from UWP Bookstore

Attendance

  • Students are allowed no more than three absences.
  • Students missing more than six classes should not expect to pass the class.
  • Students texting or sleeping in class will be marked absent.

Late Work and Make-up Work

  • Late posts will not be accepted. Threads are locked at Midnight. No exceptions.
  • Exams cannot be made up unless there is a documented emergency.

The Writing and Tutoring Center

  • I recommend that students make use of the tutoring services at Parkside. Information on making appointments and the policies can be found here.


Plagiarism

  • Any student found guilty of plagiarism will receive a zero for the theme, and plagiarism can result in a zero for the course. You may view the English Department policy here.

Disability Services Statement

It is the University’s policy to provide, on a flexible and individual basis, reasonable accommodations to students who have documented disabilities that may affect their ability to participate in course activities or to meet course requirements. Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact Disability Services for a letter of verification to provide to their instructors. Disability Services is located in WYLL D175 and can be reached at 595-2372 or kirby@uwp.edu


Grading Breakdown

10%   Class Participation/Attendance
25%   Responses and Board Activity
20%   Mid-term Exam
25%   Final Paper/Project
20%   Final Exam

English Department

Writing Goal Students will become writers who know how to employ a wide range of strategies as they write and to use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

Objectives

Students will:

  • craft written responses to texts that put the writer’s ideas in conversation with those in a text in ways that are appropriate to the discipline of English, or other appropriate contexts;
  • create multiple kinds of texts to extend and synthesize their thinking (including, but not limited to, analytical essays,  poems, scripts, brochures, short stories, graphic narratives); write texts for various audiences and purposes that are informed by research (e.g., to support ideas or positions, to illustrate alternative perspectives, to provide additional contexts);
  • craft writing as a process of motivated inquiry, engaging other writers’ ideas as they explore and develop their own;
  •  demonstrate an ability to revise for content and edit for grammatical and stylistic clarity;
  • demonstrate an ability to use the correct citation methods for the appropriate context;
  • demonstrate an ability to use the appropriate technology to communicate ideas;
  • demonstrate an ability to understand language, including its complexities, nuances, ambiguities, connotations and denotations, and be able to express that understanding, with increasing sophistication, as is appropriate for the level and context of the course;

 

Critical Reading and Analysis Goal Students will become accomplished, active readers who appreciate ambiguity and complexity, and who can demonstrate a wide range of strategies for understanding texts, including interpretations with an awareness of, attentiveness to, and curiosity toward other perspectives.

 

Objectives

 

Students will:

  • read and engage with texts from different genres (including poetry, prose, plays, screen plays, graphic novels, film), styles, and historical periods;
  • read a wide range of texts from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic, linguistic) of human experience;
  • apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. These strategies may include, but are not limited to: drawing on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, reflection, intertextuality, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, syntax, context, graphics, images);
  • demonstrate an ability to read and understand texts from multiple points of view (e.g. sympathetic to a writer’s position and critical of it) and in ways that are appropriate to the academic discipline or other contexts where the texts are being used;
  • develop their capacity to evaluate the aesthetic and ethical values of texts—and will be able to articulate the standards behind their judgments;
  • demonstrate an ability to critically read texts drawn from the full diversity of literary periods and genres and written by authors representing the full range of social, ethnic, and national origins that have contributed to the corpus of literature in English;
  • demonstrate an ability to read, with depth, critical texts, expository prose and other types of writings frequently not used in the curriculum of the major; for example, writing by fellow students;

 

History and Theory Goal Students will develop a comprehensive knowledge of the variety of texts in diverse time periods and in diverse locations, as well as know something of the critical and historical principles behind the construction of literary, linguistic, and cultural histories, in order to demonstrate an active participation in scholarship.

Objectives

Students will:

  • learn the terminology of literary and/or cultural periods in order to be active participants in a variety of literary and/or cultural fields;
  • have an awareness of controversies concerning the establishment of distinctions between periods, and an understanding of the general significances attached to various views taken of the transitions and differences between periods;
  • develop an ability to read texts in relation to their historical and cultural contexts, in order to gain a richer understanding of both text and context, and to become more aware of themselves as situated historically and culturally;

Research Goal Students will be able to follow a research process from proposal, research, drafts, to final projects.

Objectives

  • be able to generate questions to guide research;
  • demonstrate an ability to select and use effectively appropriate research databases;
  • demonstrate an ability to critically discuss and evaluate literary texts and ideas with specific reference to evidence;
  • be able to follow accurately the citation methods and structures appropriate to their field of study (thereby preparing them to learn other such systems in their chosen profession);

 

Collaborative Learning Goal Students will learn that the ability to communicate their ideas to a larger audience is as important as having the ideas themselves, and that sharing and coordinating ideas sustains and develops the larger intellectual sphere, of which they are a part. Students will understand the connection between collaborative learning and their intended professional field(s), including but not limited to their future professional roles and responsibilities.

Objectives

Students will:

  • develop and demonstrate an ability to use technology to work collaboratively;

Class Schedule

February
5: Introduction to the class. Literary Timeline. Historical Contexts for Modernism.
7: Modernism.  In Our Time, Hemingway (1-35)

12: Minimalism. In Our Time, Hemingway (have 35-96 read–through Ch. XI)

  • Think about the modern qualities of the stories
  • Think about the connections between the stories (plot & theme)

14: Finish In Our Time, Hemingway; Response 1 Due Sunday, (Midnight)

19:  As I Lay Dying, Faulkner (1-81)

  • Mark the distinctions, stylistically, between Hemingway and Faulkner. Be prepared to discuss.
  • Considering the differences, how might we still say that this novel is modern?
  • Think about the ways that Faulkner distinguishes each of his characters.

21: As I Lay Dying, Faulkner (82-197); Response 2 Due Sunday, Midnight

26: As I Lay Dying, Faulkner (Finish the novel)

  • What do you make of Darl’s final condition?
  • Where is the moral center of the text, if anywhere? Does it comment on morality at all?

28: The Beat Generation; The Dharma Bums, Kerouac, General Reactions ; Contribute to the Beatnik Thread!

March
5: The Dharma Bums, Kerouac (1-54)
7: The Dharma Bums, Kerouac;  Response 3 Due Sunday, Midnight

12: The Dharma Bums, Kerouac
14: Exam 1

19: Introduction to Postmodernism; V. General Reactions
21: V., Pynchon

Spring Break March 23-30; Response 3 Due Sunday, March 30th, Midnight

April
2: V., Pynchon
4: V., Pynchon 

9: V., Pynchon
11: Discuss Beloved, Morrison (1-86) ; Response 5 Due, Sunday, Midnight

16: Discuss Beloved, Morrison (87-235)
18: Finish Beloved, Morrison

23: White Noise, DeLillo (1-105; “Waves and Radiation”)
25:  White Noise,  DeLillo (109-163; “The Airborne Toxic Event); Response 6 Due–Sunday, Midnight

30: Finish White Noise, DeLillo
2: SF Timeline; Cyberpunk and Technoculture (Diamond Age: 1-181)

May

7: The Diamond Age, Stephenson (182-251); Response 7 Due–Sunday, Midnight
9: Finish The Diamond Age, Stephenson;

14: Final Exam 1:00-3:00

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