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Effective: Early Spring 8-Week 2017/2018

ENGL 425: Literary Theory And Criticism

Course Description

Methods and applications of literary and critical theories.

Prerequisite: Six or more hours of 300-level or higher English literature courses.

Proctored Exams: Final



Syllabus Contents

Textbooks

Required

  • Barry, Peter. Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory. 3rd ed. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009.
    • ISBN-978-0-7190-7927-6
  • Leitch, Vincent B. et al. Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2010.
    • ISBN-978-0-393-93292-8
  • Murfin, Ross C., ed. Heart of Darkness: Cases in Contemporary Criticism. 3rd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2011.
    • ISBN-978-0-312-45753-2

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.


Course Overview

This course is intended to introduce you to the complex ways that we have struggled to understand literature through the centuries. We will survey some of the key thinkers through this long history, but we will focus mostly on the 20th Century, when literary theory took on a new depth and coherence. These early 20th Century roots are crucial, as many theories that follow specifically challenge what has come before. This continues today, though literary theory borrows and intertwines with a great many other disciplines and social outlooks, so much so that often the “literary” seems to disappear. Reading theory isn’t easy, but it is vital in understanding how literary studies have developed and continue to evolve.

In this course, you will also develop a research proposal for the project you will complete in the Senior Seminar.



Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.


Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify the characteristics and history of major literary and critical theorists, movements, and schools.
  2. Apply critical theory to a literary text.
  3. Write a detailed proposal, including methodology, for a research project to be completed in senior seminar.
  4. Produce an annotated bibliography of critical works in preparation for the senior seminar project.

Grading

Grading Scale
Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
D 600-699 60-69%
F 0-599 0-59%
Grade Weights
Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions 300 30%
Essay 200 20%
Research Project Proposal 300 30%
Final Exam 200 20%
Total 1000 100%


Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Introduction - Sunday
Discussion 1: Theory before Theory 15
Discussion 2: Leitch Readings 15
Discussion 3: Heart of Darkness 15
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4: Structuralism 15 Sunday
Discussion 5: Heart of Darkness 15
Discussion 6: Horace and Others 15
Discussion 7: Research Project Proposal Brainstorming 15
Proctor Information N/A
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Essay: Critical Approaches to Heart of Darkness 200 Saturday
Discussion 8: Postructuralism and Deconstruction 15 Sunday
Discussion 9: Psychoanalytic Criticism 15
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 10: Marxist Criticism and Foucault 15 Sunday
Discussion 11: Criticism Exploration 15
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 12: New Historicism 15 Sunday
Discussion 13: Postmodernism 15
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 14: Feminist Criticism 15 Sunday
Discussion 15: Postcolonial Criticism 15
Discussion 16: Annotations 15
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 17: Queer Theory and Ecocriticism 15 Sunday
Discussion 18: Critical Approaches to Heart of Darkness 15
Discussion 19: Research Proejct Proposal Draft/Workshop 15
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Final Research Project Proposal 300 Thursday
Discussion 20: Theory after Theory 15 Saturday
Final Exam 200
Total Points 1000

Assignment Overview

Discussions

Each week there will be several discussion topics. While you are expected to post in each topic, I do not expect anyone to answer all of the individual questions listed. These questions are intended to help guide the class to what is most important in the readings and to generate extensive discussion. This is not simply homework to do on your own; rather, these are class discussions. Avoid putting all your answers in one posting, as it makes your ideas harder to read online, and makes it difficult for others to respond to specific points.

As in a classroom, dialogue with your classmates is an important way of learning. Listening to (reading) what others have to say is equally important. Ideally, this should go on all week, not just at the last minute on Sundays.

Your grade on the discussions will be based on both the quantity and the quality of your posts. Everyone is expected to post a minimum of two times in each topic: at least one initial response to the discussion question or prompt and one response to a classmate.

All discussion assignments must be completed by 11:59 pm CT Sunday, except for Week 8 when they will be due at 11:59 pm CT Saturday.


Essay: Critical Approaches to Heart of Darkness

The goal of this essay is to demonstrate your ability to apply a particular critical theory – New Criticism – to a literary text. New Criticism is the foundation for all later theory, so it is a good one to use in your analysis of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

Your essay should begin with a quick explanation of New Criticism—its basic ideas, applications, and some of its history and key figures. You should incorporate references to the course readings covered thus far in the course where appropriate. You will then apply this understanding of the methods of New Criticism to Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Evaluate how well New Criticism works in approaching this novel.

The essay should be 900-1100 words in length and follow current MLA style for both the content and citation. It should be edited carefully for grammar and style. Review the Content area for requirements and expectations. Your essay should be submitted to the appropriate dropbox by 11:59 pm CT Saturday of Week 3.


Research Project Proposal

This project requires that each student select a potential literary topic for the Senior Seminar (ENGL 431) and generate initial materials for that project. These materials must include an introduction/proposal that outlines the project’s overall goals and theory/theories of choice that would guide the project (400-600 words) and citations for at least 5 peer-reviewed items in current MLA form, and annotation for each item which discusses the content, outlook and potential usefulness of each source (100-200 words each). Since we are reading Heart of Darkness as our class sample text, this is explicitly not a topic option.

Review the Content area for requirements and expectations. Your Research Project Proposal should be submitted to the appropriate dropbox by 11:59 pm CT Thursday of Week 8.


Final Exam

The final exam will consist of an essay question and five short answer questions. It can be found in the Quizzes area. You must take it in a proctored setting. See the information in the course Content area about locating a proctor. The Final Exam will be available 12:01 am CT Monday until 11:59 pm CT Saturday of Week 8. You may take the exam at any time during this period, but once you begin you will have 2 hours to complete the exam. Please review the Exam Policies and Guidelines document posted in the Content area.


Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Week 1: Introduction to Theory
Readings

Barry: Introduction, Chapter 1

Leitch: Introduction (pages 1-36), Gorgias (pages 37-38), from Aristotle’s Poetics (pages 88-115), Cleanth Brooks (1217-29)

Heart of Darkness, Part I, pages 17-46

Introduction
Introduce yourself to me and to your classmates. Include information about your hobbies, family, educational goals, favorite books, etc.
Discussion 1: Theory before Theory
Respond to the questions listed in the Content area for this topic and to your classmates. A minimum of two postings is required.
Discussion 2: Leitch Readings
Respond to the questions listed in the Content area for this topic and to your classmates. A minimum of two postings is required.
Discussion 3: Heart of Darkness
Respond to the questions listed in the Content area for this topic and to your classmates. A minimum of two postings is required.
Week 2: Structuralism
Readings

Barry: Chapter 2

Leitch: Horace (pages 122-32), Saussure (pages 845-49), Wimsatt & Beardsley (pages 1232-45), Eliot (pages 955-60), Barthes (pages 1316-20)

Heart of Darkness, finish, pages 46-94

Discussion 4: Structuralism
Respond to the questions listed in the Content area for this topic and to your classmates. A minimum of two postings is required.
Discussion 5: Heart of Darkness
Respond to the questions listed in the Content area for this topic and to your classmates. A minimum of two postings is required.
Discussion 6: Horace and Others
Respond to the questions listed in the Content area for this topic and to your classmates. A minimum of two postings is required.
Discussion 7: Research Project Proposal Brainstorming
Write about three different topics/pieces of literature that you might consider for the Senior Seminar project. Give feedback to others. A minimum of two postings is required.
Proctor Information
Submit your proctor form to the appropriate Dropbox folder by the end of the week. Remember to “Save” the form before placing it in Dropbox. See the Content area for more information.
Week 3: Poststructuralism/Deconstruction and Psychoanalytic Criticism
Readings

Barry: Chapters 3 and 5

Leitch: Corneille (pages 283-88), Bloom (pages 1651-59), Lacan (pages 1156-63), Nietzsche (pages 759-64), Derrida (pages 1713-26), de Man (pages 1361-65)

Murfin/Heart of Darkness: “Deconstruction and Heart of Darkness,” pages 205-44

Essay: Critical Approaches to Heart of Darkness
Review the assignment expectations and guidelines in the Content area. Submit your completed essay to the appropriate dropbox by 11:59 pm CT Saturday.
Discussion 8: Postructuralism and Deconstruction
Respond to the questions listed in the Content area for this topic and to your classmates. A minimum of two postings is required.
Discussion 9: Psychoanalytic Criticism
Respond to the questions listed in the Content area for this topic and to your classmates. A minimum of two postings is required.
Week 4: Marxist Criticism and Foucault
Readings

Barry: Chapter 8

Leitch: Marx and Engels (pages 647-51), Trotsky (pages 877-80), Gramsci (pages 1002-7), Foucault (pages 1490-1520)

Discussion 10: Marxist Criticism and Foucault
Respond to the questions listed in the Content area for this topic and to your classmates. A minimum of two postings is required.
Discussion 11: Criticism Exploration
Respond to the questions listed in the Content area for this topic and to your classmates. A minimum of two postings is required.
Week 5: New Historicism and Postmodernism
Readings

Barry: Chapters 4 and 9

Leitch: Greenblatt (pages 2150-9), Baudrillard (pages 1553-56), Haraway (pages 2187-90), Lyotard (pages 1463-65), Hooks (pages 2509-15)

Murfin/Heart of Darkness: “The New Historicism and Heart of Darkness,” pages 245-84; Survey Part II, “Cultural Contexts”

Discussion 12: New Historicism
Respond to the questions listed in the Content area for this topic and to your classmates. A minimum of two postings is required.
Discussion 13: Postmodernism
Respond to the questions listed in the Content area for this topic and to your classmates. A minimum of two postings is required.
Week 6: Feminism and Postcolonial Approaches
Readings

Barry: Chapters 6 and 10

Leitch: Woolf (pages 892-99), Hurston (pages 1008-10), Gilbert & Gubar (pages 1926-37), Achebe (pages 1610-12), Fanon (pages 1440-46), Said (pages 1866-88)

Murfin/Heart of Darkness: “Feminist and Gender Criticism,” pages 163-204 and “Postcolonial Criticism,” pages 285-324

Discussion 14: Feminist Criticism
Respond to the questions listed in the Content area for this topic and to your classmates. A minimum of two postings is required.
Discussion 15: Postcolonial Criticism
Respond to the questions listed in the Content area for this topic and to your classmates. A minimum of two postings is required.
Discussion 16: Annotations
Post your first three annotations in the discussions and respond to others’ work. Do give feedback about both content and MLA form.
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Week 7: Queer Theory and Ecocriticism
Readings

Barry: Chapters 7 and 13

Leitch: Wordsworth (pages 556-59), Sedgwick (pages 2466-76), Rich (pages 1591-1609), Butler (pages 2536-39)

Murfin/Heart of Darkness: “Combining Postcolonial, Feminist, and Gender Criticism with Queer Theory,” pp. 325-44

Discussion 17: Queer Theory and Ecocriticism
Respond to the questions listed in the Content area for this topic and to your classmates. A minimum of two postings is required.
Discussion 18: Critical Approaches to Heart of Darkness
Respond to the questions listed in the Content area for this topic and to your classmates. A minimum of two postings is required.
Discussion 19: Research Proejct Proposal Draft/Workshop
Post a draft of your proposal. Additionally, provide feedback on at least two classmates’ essays.
Week 8: New Trends and Course Conclusions
Readings
Barry: Chapters 14 and 15
Final Research Project Proposal

Your Research Project Proposal should be submitted to the appropriate dropbox by 11:59 pm CT Thursday. It must include:

  • an introduction/proposal that outlines the project’s overall goals and theory/theories of choice that would guide the project (400-600 words) 
  • citations for at least 5 peer-reviewed items in current MLA form, 
  • an annotation for each item that discusses the content, outlook, and potential usefulness of each source (100-200 words each).

Review the Content area for additional requirements and expectations.

Discussion 20: Theory after Theory
Respond to the questions listed in the Content area for this topic and to your classmates. A minimum of two postings is required.
Final Exam
The final exam will consist of an essay question and five short answer questions. You will have two hours to complete the exam. You must complete the exam with a proctor. The Final Exam must be completed by 11:59 pm CT Saturday.


Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism

Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.

Non-Discrimination

There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

Late papers will be penalized 5% per day and may be refused entirely if more than one week overdue.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

Proctor Policy

Students taking courses that require proctored exams must submit their completed proctor request forms to their instructors by the end of the second week of the session. Proctors located at Columbia College campuses are automatically approved. The use of ProctorU services is also automatically approved. The instructor of each course will consider any other choice of proctor for approval or denial. Additional proctor choices the instructor will consider include: public librarians, high school or college instructors, high school or college counseling services, commanding officers, education service officers, and other proctoring services. Personal friends, family members, athletic coaches and direct supervisors are not acceptable.


Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.


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