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ENG 153 Syllabus Spring 2012

ENG 153 Syllabus Spring 2012

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Beard—Spring 2012 1
ENG 153: Introduction to Women Authors
Mourning and Memory in Women’s WritingENG 153-001MW 12:40-2:30113 Ernst Bessey HallMs. Erin Beard bearder1@msu.eduOffice: 107 Morrill HallOffice Hours: T 1-2, W 3-4or by appointmentCourse Description As an introductory English course, ENG 153 aims to begin to teach students techniques of literarystudy within the context of literature by women. Students will develop skills essential for literarystudy through intensive reading and writing practices including close reading and analytic writing.In this course, we will approach literature with the understanding that thoughtful writing begins asa careful reading practice and that reading and writing are inseparable activities. As such, we willconcentrate on intensive reading practices along with note taking, developing questions for literarystudy, and the process of analytic writing. Additionally, we will read Anglophone literature by women ranging from the seventeenth century to the present day. We will consider the question“What is women’s literature?” throughout the semester while also considering how the experiencesof women in various contexts affects the literature that they write, particularly in the context of mourning and memory. Within this context we will think about the following questions: How do women experience mourning? How do women represent mourning and memory in their writing?How is mourning a kind of memory practice or vice versa? Is there such a thing as “women’smourning?” How does mourning represent different kinds of familial, gendered, love, andspatial/material relationships? It is possible to represent mourning or memory? What can women’s writing tell us about human subjectivity? How does the experience of loss or attachment influenceidentity formation? In addition to these questions, students will work collaboratively to developother questions within the context of each text, eventually developing those questions into a finalanalytic, argumentative paper.Required Texts You must buy the exact edition listed. ISBNs are listed next to the MLA citation for the book tofacilitate online purchases. You must bring the text to class on the day it is assigned.Bechdel, Alison.
 Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
. New York: Mariner, 2007. Print. [9780618871711]Kindle edition acceptable.Carson, Anne.
. New York: New Directions, 2010. Print. [9780811218702]Cather, Willa.
 My Ántonia
. Ed. Janet Sharistanian. New York: Oxford UP, 2006. Print.[9780199538140]. Any Oxford edition is permitted.Johnstone, Edith.
 A Sunless Heart.
Ed. Constance Harsh. Orchard Park, NY: Broadview, 2008.Print. [9781551117416]Maso, Carole.
The Art Lover
. New York: New Directions, 1995. Print. [9780811216296]
Beard—Spring 2012 2
Morrison, Toni.
. New York: Vintage, 2004. Print. [9781400033416] All other texts will be posted as PDFs on Angel. On the assignment schedule, they are indicated with an “[A]”. You need to print these out and bring them to class or have them available on yourKindle. I would prefer that you not read them from your computer.Major AssignmentsCollaborative Writing 35%Midterm 15%Final 15%Paper 20%Participation 15%
Collaborative Writing Project:
For this project, you will be split into groups of 4 during the first week of class. As we get to know each other during that week, you will have the opportunity tochoose your group. You will work with this group throughout the entire semester to produce adocument that covers each assigned text. You are expected to contribute to this document twice a week, before each class. This document will be mostly informal writing, including text summaries,discussion questions, and preliminary group discussion. You should aim to produce a document with two goals in mind: 1), preparation for discussion for each class and; 2), a treasury of summaries/ideas about each text that will record your group’s hard work throughout the semester. At the end of the semester, you will each have a document that you can keep. I will grade you based on your individual contributions and the final product. Feel free to add to anything in thedocument at any time, but you should always have something up about the text at hand before class begins. I will have access to each document throughout the semester, and the other groups in theclass will be able to see what you have written but will not be able to edit or contribute. You mayalso use these documents in class to facilitate discussion. I expect that you will bring up your ideasin the document during class discussion! Think about your collaborative writing project as a livingdocument that will change and breathe based on your group’s collaboration, class discussion, and the readings. Make connections between all of these! The final grade for this project will becalculated holistically and will include each entry in the group document as well as two individualreflection papers, which you will hand in as hard copies.
 Midterm and Final Exams:
The final exam is not cumulative; it will only cover material from afterSpring break. Each exam will not draw from the collaborative writing project, but they will drawfrom the material that is covered during class, either from lectures or class discussion. Exams willinclude objective questions (multiple choice and short answer) as well as essay questions. You mustsupply your own bluebook.
 Your paper will be 5-6 pages long and will focus on one of the texts on the syllabus. You are welcome to read ahead if you would like to write about a text that is scheduled after the draft or thefinal paper due date. If you have an idea for a thesis that includes more than one text, you shouldclear your paper topic with me first. The paper should be mostly close reading, but you are welcome to include research that you have done using scholarly sources. I will not provide promptsfor the paper, but you should develop a thesis around the course theme and the questions that we will work through during the semester. You are welcome to draw from your collaborative writing project. If you decide to write about another person’s idea, you should chat with her/him about itand then cite that person’s idea in your paper. After Spring Break, I will begin meeting with each
Beard—Spring 2012 3
member of the class for paper conferences. The schedule will be up from the beginning of thesemester on Angel, and you can sign up at any time. At the conference, I expect that you will havea tentative, but developed, thesis and will have done research or prewriting. On the day the draft isdue, you will turn in a four-to-five-page draft. I will then return that draft to you with comments within a week, and you will be expected to make changes to your final paper based on mycomments. I will not grade the draft, but your final grade will be based upon how well youexecuted the suggested revisions. I will not accept late drafts. If you do not turn in a draft, I willdeduct a full point from the final paper grade. You must paper clip the draft to the final paper.
Participation goes beyond your presence in the class: you should make meaningful,consistent contributions to class discussion and to your group work throughout the semester. Firstof all, you need to be on time, which means that you are seated and ready to go at 12:40. Being late to class is extremely disruptive; I will take note and deduct participation points. Further, you mustalways bring the text with you and have it out on your desk. You should be ready to contribute toclass discussion by taking notes when you are reading and having your discussion questions ready to go. If you feel anxiety about speaking in class, use your notes and your work from theCollaborative Writing Project. Any in-class writing, quizzes, etc. that you complete during class will become part of your participation grade.*More thorough descriptions of class assignments can be found on ANGEL.Grading ScaleThis course uses MSU’s 4.0 grading scale. The final grade will be calculated with a weightedaverage formula and then rounded to the nearest half point.I expect that you will keep a record of your own grades; I cannot give you an estimate of your finalgrade until you complete all major assignments. I will not give extra credit.Resources for Literary StudyNote: See videos posted on Angel for instruction on how to find these resources.MLA Handbook: While this handbook is not required for this class, I highly recommend that you buy it and sign up for the online resources that come with the book at the website listed below.Preparing a Works Cited page using a citation generator is not recommended. You’ll use this bookuntil you graduate, and all of your English professors will expect you to be familiar with theguidelines it outlines. www.mlahandbook.orgLiterary Glossaries: These are like dictionaries for English majors. There are printed and onlinecopies available in several places. For a printed version, I recommend the second or third edition of 
The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms
. For online versions, Bedford’s can be found at bedfordstmartins.com/rewritinglit and the Oxford Glossary can be found through the library website by typing “Oxford dictionary of literary terms” into the search box in E-Resources.

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