I will periodically administer in-class quizzes or writing exercises. These exercises are intended to help you focus in the first few minutes of class so as to gain more from our discussion. They will also help ground you in the reading and writing strategies needed for the critical papers and final exam. Your best preparation is to be thoughtful with how you read prior to class--annotate difficult passages, look up unfamiliar terms in the OED Online, and take note of where you do understand a writer's implicit or explicit meaning, or where you see interesting relationships begin to emerge between texts.
In the first week of class, you will sign up, as a group, to lead a symposium on one of our longer texts. Using the reference books on reserve at Wells Library, the critical commentary in our anthology, and the theoretical essays assigned in each sphere, your group will present the terms and perspectives that you think best promote our understanding of how to read that text. The purpose of the symposium is not to place the whole burden of discussion on your group, but rather to invite you to develop expertise in a set of readings.
Short Critical Essays
Throughout the semester, you will write three short (~3 pp.) critical essays in which you respond to one of several prompts, which are intended as jumping off points. These prompts may ask you to analyze a literary device or illustrate a rhetorical concept at work in a particular text, or they may ask you to discuss how a perspective offered in one of our theoretical essays makes a difference in your interpretation of a particular writer's work.
Investigative Archival Project (Proposal and Paper)
This semester, you will explore an archival collection of rare texts by lesser-known women--including liberal free-thinkers and labor activists--and select one or more of their texts to be the basis of a longer investigative paper (~7 pp.). In this investigative paper, you will have the opportunity to formulate and respond to an original question based on the texts that you choose, by drawing on critical essays, secondary sources, or other materials related to the collection. We will dedicate several class days to this project, and you will submit a brief proposal (~2 pp.) in advance of the due date.
We will use this discussion blog for two purposes this semester: 1) following our archival work days, I will ask you to post your response to a brief question or problem-solving task that I provide to aid your exploration of our "collection"; and 2) from time to time, I may ask you to submit discussion questions in advance of a scheduled reading. Some posts will be individual, and others collaborative.