Fall 2014 Syllabus

Major Authors: Dickens

Paul Schacht, SUNY Geneseo

Office Hours

I'm available at a variety of times each week Monday through Friday. Just book an appointment with me and let me know what you'd like to talk about. Or drop by my office and see if the door is open. It usually is.

Texts

By Charles Dickens

By other authors

Learning Outcomes

In all 400-level literature courses in English at SUNY Geneseo, students will demonstrate

To learn more about learning outcomes in English, visit the Current Programs page of the English department website.

Requirements

One short paper (approx. 5 pages), 15%

One longer paper, drawing on at least two secondary sources (7-10 pages), 30%

Other writing as described below under “Routine,” 35%

Project Participation, 20%

Routine

Research, Report, Reply, Discuss

Monday

The whole class will set an agenda for the week by deciding what we’d like to know more about or what interpretive issue we’d like to pursue. One group will be responsible for following up during class and beyond. Others in class will work on a variety of projects.

Wednesday

We’ll begin with a 15-minute report from the group that took the lead on research that Monday. The group will work from Monday to Wednesday to prepare the report. One person in the group will be responsible for presenting, and another group member will be responsible for publishing the group’s report as a short blogpost on the Nineteenth-Century Studies Blog at English @ SUNY Geneseo. The blogpost is due by 11:59 pm Wednesday.  

The report must culminate in a discussion question. The question must be one that can be answered in multiple ways; that is, a question of interpretation. The report must also indicate why we should care how the question is answered.

The report will be followed by a brief, full-class discussion of whether the question is a good one to consider. The question may be amended or replaced by a new one in light of this discussion.

Once the question has been established, the groups (including the one that proposed the question) will discuss the question among themselves. Each group will develop an interpretive position and select a particular passage from the text as the focal point for this position.

Before class on Friday, someone from each group will publish the group’s response as a reply to the original blogpost. It should be brief and should include the passage that the group chose as its reference point in attempting to answer the question.

These blogpost-replies are a way to engage in conversation with the original post. They should follow the spirit and structure of writing-as-conversation developed in Graff and Birkenstein’s They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. They should use the templates (or variations thereof) described in Graff and Birkenstein’s book.

Friday

We’ll begin each Friday with 5-minute “lightning” talks. Each group will briefly summarize the interpretive position articulated in its blogpost. Lightning talks will be followed by open discussion of the interpretive question. In the open discussion, I will look to members of particular groups, as individuals, to offer a reply to the talks of other groups, as indicated on the syllabus. Between Friday and the following Monday, at least one member of each group should post a reply to the blogpost reply of the group’s it’s paired with for that week.

There are a couple of weeks shortened by holidays when we’ll have to modify the routine just a bit.

Papers

You’ll write two papers for the class. The first will be about 5 pages long, the second 7-10 pages long. You’ll use Google Drive to share drafts and completed work with classmates and with me.

By Monday of Week 4, you’ll have developed a thesis for the short paper. The thesis must position itself either (a) in relation to what has been said in class about an interpretive question, (b) what might be said in relation to a different interpretive question of interest to you, or (c) in relation to what a critic has written in relation to any interpretive question. You’ll share your thesis with the class. The class will critique selected theses together in an effort to help everyone understand what makes for an effective thesis.

On Friday of Week 4, we’ll follow a similar procedure with informal proto-drafts of the first paper.

By Friday of Week 5, you’ll share a full draft of your paper with me.

By Friday of Week 6, you’ll share the completed paper with me.

We’ll follow a similar procedure for the second, longer paper. Due dates appear below.

Projects

Every student in the class will participate in one of the following group projects. Details to be explained in class:

Final Meeting

We won’t use the final meeting for an conventional exam. Instead, we’ll use it for a culminating conversation about Dickens — in an effort to assess our answers to the questions that the class decided to pursue — and to share project results.

Schedule

Week

Date

Reading

Activity

Writing

1

M 8/25

none

Introduction to the course

W 8/27

TS/IS Intro-Ch. 3

Chesterton, “The Great Popularity”

What do we want to know about Dickens? How will we find out what we want to know? What questions of interpretation should organize our investigations? What can we expect people to disagree about in reading Dickens?

F 8/29

TS/IS Chs. 4-7

Tools we’ll use

2

M 9/1

-

Labor Day

W 9/3

OT

Research (1) & Projects

F 9/5

OT

Report & Discuss: 1

draft position papers

3

M 9/8

OT, TS/IS Chs. 8-11, 15

Research (2) & Projects

W 9/10

OT

Report & Discuss: 2

draft position papers

F 9/12

OT

Reply & Discuss: 2-3, 4-6, 1-5

4

M 9/15

OT

Critique draft theses for first paper

Thesis for short paper due by class time. (Share with all in Drive.)

W 9/17

OT

Projects & Project Updates

General class discussion of OT

F 9/19

OT

Critique proto-drafts of first paper

Proto-draft of first paper due. (Share with all in Drive.) Critique in class.

5

M 9/22

CC

Research (3) & Projects

W 9/24

CC

TS/IS

Report & Discuss: 3

draft position papers

F 9/26

CC

Reply & Discuss: 2-5, 3-4, 1-6

Full draft of first paper due. (Share with me in Drive.)

6

M 9/29

CC

Research (4) & Projects

W 10/1

CC

Report & Discuss: 4

draft position papers

F 10/3

CC

Reply & Discuss: 2-6, 4-5, 1-3

First paper due. (Share with me in Drive.)

7

10/6

CC

Research (5) & Projects

10/8

CC

Report & Discuss: 5

draft position papers

10/10

CC

Reply & Discuss: 1-2, 3-4, 5-6

8

10/13

-

Fall break

10/15

BH

Research (6) & Projects

10/17

BH

Report: 6

Critique draft theses for second paper

Thesis for second paper due. (Share with all in Drive.)

9

10/20

BH

Research (1) & Projects

10/22

BH

Report & Discuss: 1

draft position papers

10/24

BH

Reply & Discuss:1-6, 2-4, 3-5

10

10/27

BH

Research (2) & Projects

10/29

BH

Report & Discuss: 2

10/31

BH

Critique proto-drafts for second paper

Proto-draft of second paper due, including list of sources. (Share with all in Drive.)

11

11/3

BH

Research (3) & Projects

Post at least one secondary source for second paper in the class Zotero group. Add your own last name as a tag.

11/5

BH

Report & Discuss: 3

11/7

GE

Critique revised thesis paragraphs

Reply & Discuss(?): 2-3, 4-6, 1-5

Revised thesis paragraph for second paper due. (Share with all in Drive.)

12

11/10

GE

Research (4) & Projects

11/12

GE

Report & Discuss: 4

11/14

Critique proto-drafts

Reply & Discuss (?): 2-5, 3-4, 1-6

Proto-draft of second paper due, including list of sources. (Share with all in Drive.)

13

11/17

GE

Research (5) & Projects

11/19

GE

Report & Discuss (5)

11/21

GE

Reply & Discuss: 2-6, 4-5, 1-3

Full draft of second paper due. (Share with me in Drive.)

||

14

11/24

GE

11/26

-

Thanksgiving break

11/28

-

Thanksgiving break

15

12/1

GE

Research (6) & Projects

12/3

GE

Report & Discuss: 6

12/5

GE

Reply & Discuss:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

Second paper due. (Share with me in Drive.)

16

12/8

GE

Wrap up loose ends

12/12 at 12 p.m.

FINAL MEETING

  • Group posts on blog by 10 am on Friday
  • Each post should have 3 sections
  • Project description
  • Methods
  • What we learned
  • Include links so others can learn about the tools you used
  • What you learned is most important
  • 15 minutes for presentation/5 minutes for Q & A for each group (20 minutes total)
  • 10-minute break after first 3 presentations
  • Everyone bring laptops to try tools