Attendance and Participation: As our work here will revolve around discussion, your participation and preparedness are indispensable, and will be graded. You will be permitted one unexcused absence; each additional unexcused absence lowers your final grade one step. Moreover, chronic late arrivals will not be tolerated; for every three late arrivals, one unexcused absence will accrue. Attendance at the screenings is likewise required; if you have a conflict, it is your responsibility to ensure that you see the film. Factored into your A&P grade will be required attendance at a number of lectures and panel discussions in the "Representations: Race/Tech-nology/Culture" series. Finally, be aware that presence without preparedness does not count. Do the reading. (15%)
Readings and Responses: As you'll no doubt quickly note, there's a lot of reading in this class: twelve novels, plus supplementary theoretical and critical essays. As you'll also quickly figure out, most of the novels are very fast reads. While I may narrow your focus in them at times, please note that the supplementary essays are not optional reading; I'll expect each of you to be able to use them in your discussion of the novels. You will be required to post at least one reading response for each novel on Web Crossings. I'm going to start off those discussions, but I hope they'll remain pretty free-form Ñ use this space to get down those middle-of-the-night flashes of inspiration that we might miss otherwise. (The grade for this will be factored into your participation grade; thus, you may balance too little talking in class with more posting, and vice versa. Being very talkative in class, however, does not absolve you of Web Crossings responsibilities.)
Class Facilitation: Early in the semester, I will divide the class into discussion groups. Each group will be responsible for taking the lead in class discussion, on a rotating basis. Each group will facilitate our discussion by giving a brief presentation and by preparing questions and topics that actively guide our exploration of the material. More details to follow. (15% total)
Papers: During the semester, you will produce two 5-page papers in which you will perform a close reading of any element of a particular group of texts. These papers may later serve as the jumping-off point for your term paper, or you may abandon these topics altogether and work on something new. The term paper, due at the end of the semester, will be 15 pages long, will involve substantial research, and will make a complex, well-defined argument. You will submit a proposal and an annotated bibliography for this paper several weeks in advance of the paper itself; shortly before the paper itself is due, you will submit a draft to a peer reviewer. All papers must use proper MLA format. Late papers will only be accepted by prior arrangement. Again, more details to follow. (brief papers, 15% each; term paper, 40%)
*Alternate to Paper Requirements: In the past, this class has had a mandatory web component, in which, rather than writing traditional scholarly papers, students were asked to use the technologies of the web to effectuate the same kind of work. In this class, the web component is not required, but I will allow any student who wishes to do that variety of critical work to do so. I will ask you to commit yourself to this web-based approach fairly early in the semester, so please take a look at the kinds of projects that have been done in the past, to see if this is an avenue you would like to explore (http://www.english.pomona.edu/pomo). One note about this possibility: please don't fool yourself into thinking that this is an easy way to get out of doing rigorous critical writing. On the contrary; with the web assignments, I require both rigorous critical work and technical proficiency, so these projects are more work rather than less. That having been said, they are often more rewarding. Please see me soon if you are interested in pursuing a web project.
N.B.: There are currently no quizzes or exams scheduled for this class. I reserve the right to change my mind about this, however, if I feel an insufficient number of people are completing the readings each week. Do your friends a favor: do the reading, talk in class, and avoid a nasty final.