ENGLISH 284: INTRODUCTION TO THEORY AND CRITICISM

    Section 001, MW 3-4:15 pm, HHH 323
    Spring 2013, UWEC

    PROFESSOR BOB NOWLAN
    Office: HHH 425,  Office Phone: (715) 836-4369
    Office Hours: MW 4:20-5 pm, T 8:50-9:30 pm, and By Appointment
ranowlan@uwec.edu
    http://people.uwec.edu/ranowlan

    
    BRIEF DESCRIPTION

    The principal aims of this course, English 284: Introduction to Theory and Criticism, are as follows:

1.    To provide you with an introduction to a basic array of key positions, concepts, and arguments representative of a select range of approaches in critical theory exercising significant influence within the academic and intellectual disciplines of contemporary English literary and cultural studies.


2.    To provide you with an opportunity to begin to make use of these same positions, concepts, and arguments in your own critical reading of, and critical writing about, literary and cultural texts.   

3.    To provide you with an opportunity to begin to understand what scholars working within contemporary English literary and cultural studies read, and write, as well as, more importantly, how they do so, and why they do so.  

4.    To provide you with an opportunity to begin to reflect on the theories and the modes of criticism you already otherwise make use of in your own reading of, and writing about, literary and cultural texts–as well as, more broadly, through your engagement in disparate other kinds of life-practices.    


    SOME BASIC DEFINITIONS

Theory = a conceptual explanation of an entity, including, in particular, of why it is as it is.

Criticism = an evaluative judgement in relation to an entity, supported by reasons and evidence.  

In short, theory grounds and thereby enables criticism while criticism in turn draws upon and, through practical application, generates the impetus for further development and refinement of theory.  


    EXTENDED EXPLANATION

    Throughout the everyday lives of each and every one of us, our ability to make sense of the world around us–and to orient ourselves to engage in relation to it on the basis of how we make sense–means that we are continually working with "theories" of one kind or another.  At the same time, because our everyday lives also demand that we make numerous judgements according to various standards and criteria and that we then proceed according to the judgements we have made, we are also continually thinking and acting in ways which are at least rudimentarily "critical" as well.  Nevertheless, in our everyday lives most of us do not all that often reflect upon precisely what theories are guiding and sustaining us, how so, and why so, nor do we frequently examine how and why we think and act critically in the ways that we do.  Moreover, if asked to produce a rigorous intellectual explanation, precisely accounting for and meticulously justifying the theoretical and critical influences upon and determinants of our everyday ways of thinking, understanding, feeling, believing, interacting, communicating, acting, and behaving, most of us would have a very difficult time.    


    Because the theories that guide and sustain us and the ways in which we think and act critically in our everyday lives are rarely simply the result of our own uniquely individual creation and rarely a matter simply of our own autonomously free choice–especially when we either are not conscious of their effects upon us or are unable to explain, account for, and justify these in a sustained and rigorous fashion–we are always working according to the influence and the determination of theoretical and critical approaches which are much larger than the space "inside" of our own "heads" or "minds": we are always working according to theoretical and critical approaches which occupy particular places within particular societies and cultures and which are formed as particular products of particular histories and politics.


    A course of "introduction to theory and criticism” presents an opportunity not only, therefore, to learn about the theoretical and critical approaches of what might often at least initially seem like an elite caste of distant and specialized others–specific, and frequently famous, named "theorists" and "critics"–but also to reflect upon how and why all of us work with the kinds of theoretical and critical approaches we do; where these come from and what gives rise to them; where they lead and what follows from them; which such approaches predominate in what areas of everyday life today, in what places within what societies and cultures, with what uses and effects, toward the advancement of what ends and toward the service of what interests; and what alternative approaches are possible, what alternatives are desirable, what alternatives are necessary, and how do we get from here to there.


        HOW TO APPROACH THIS CLASS IN ORDER TO DO WELL AND TO GAIN THE MOST FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A STUDENT ENROLLED IN IT

    In order to gain the most you can from this course you will need to keep several points in mind as we proceed:  
                

    First, we can only engage with a small number of significant contributions to the history of theory and criticism, and only very briefly in each case.  This is an introductory course, the opening to a potential lifetime’s pursuit; don’t expect that what we read and study this semester represents the ‘ultimate truth’ or the final answer to what constitutes the most important work in ‘theory and criticism’.  Critical theory potentially can encompass an enormous amount of work produced over many thousands of years, all across the world; this is just a beginning.


    Second, the reading you will do for this course should challenge you; you should find it difficult from time to time, at least initially so; and you should not expect that what you read will always make intuitive sense or provide immediate satisfaction.  For most of you, this is your first course in theory and criticism, whereas, in most cases, you had already taken many courses, and read many texts, in the area of “literature” well before you began your university studies.  Imagine what it might be like to take a course of introduction to literature having never previously taken such a course, studied or read any of the material, or maintaining even much, if any, familiarity with what literature involves and what it might mean to make sense of and respond to it.  Expect, therefore, in this class, that you will grow in understanding, facility, and confidence; don’t be needlessly hard on yourself–accept that you will learn through trial and error, through taking risks and trying out ideas, and by making mistakes.  You don’t need “the right answer” or “the right way to say it” to talk; by no means–learn through talking, and through becoming highly comfortable recognizing and accepting what you don’t already clearly understand and what you can’t already clearly articulate.


    Third, you will need, consistently and conscientiously, not only to work hard to remain patient, and to keep an open mind, but also not to rest content with the superficially apparent, the merely commonsensical, the seemingly self-evident, or the already familiar; work in theory and criticism deliberately challenges all of this, and in order to appreciate what it means to think, speak, listen, read, write, act, and interact in a critical and theoretical manner, you will need to follow this path as well.
                                

    Fourth, don’t look for hard and fast, simple right and wrong answers; the study of theory is as much, if not much more, about asking questions as it is about securing answers, and this process is continuously ongoing.  All positions are limited, in one way or another, and those seriously engaged in theoretical and critical work quite readily recognize and accept this fact.  We are constantly striving to extend, develop, refine, enrich, renew, open up, pass beyond, approach again, and to push in new and different directions–and all the while continuously updating our thinking and understanding because the objects of our theoretical and critical work do not remain static.  They change, often dramatically, with time and over space, plus the work of theorizing and critiquing these objects changes them, in turn requiring new theorizations and new critiques.    


    Fifth, and finally, I expect that you will always strive to understand what you read ‘on its own terms’, especially whenever you might find yourself troubled or disturbed by it.  I expect you to work hard to do justice to the positions you engage, and to be able to represent them as their adherents would recognize them.  In this introductory level class your aim must be to attempt to understand and to work with positions, concepts, and arguments from the critical theories we will study as their adherents would do so.  You cannot even begin usefully to argue with any of these until you thoroughly understand them and until you can make accurate and compelling use of them yourself, in your own speech and writing.


    HOW THE CLASS WILL PROCEED

    After an initial session of introduction and orientation you will read and we will discuss Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as well as the entirety of the background, contextual, and critical material included in the Norton Critical Edition of this novella.  Working with Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde will provide us with an initial point of entry in discussing issues of theory and criticism, while we will continually refer to this novella as a point of reference in making sense of positions, concepts, and arguments from each of the approaches in theory and criticism we will proceed to engage over the rest of the semester.


    After spending two class periods working with Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mt. Hyde we will explore, in turn: New Criticism, Structuralism, Deconstruction, Feminism, Queer Studies, Marxism, Historicism and Cultural Studies, and Postcolonial and Race Studies.  Robert Dale Parker’s How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies will serve as your principal textbook, supplemented by readings representative of each critical theoretical approach in Critical Theory: a Reader for Literary and Cultural Studies, edited by Robert Dale Parker.


    I will often make initial presentations (i.e., give short lectures) in class, but we will also work extensively together by way of a variety of different forms of discussion.  I will frequently ask  you to prepare short writings for class, and to do short writings in class (often as part of small groups), in order to facilitate our collective class discussion.  Besides referring periodically, throughout the semester, to Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, we will also test out ideas from critical theory in relation to a variety of other cultural texts, most likely including a number of short films.  


    In class I will encourage you to ask questions about whatever you don’t understand, and to do so frequently and often (although I likely will recommend that people with many questions not clearly shared by everyone else meet with me in conference outside of class to discuss these then and there rather than take up time in class).  I also encourage you to test out even highly tentative ways of translating ideas from critical theory into your own words, as well as to test out even highly tentative ways of illustrating and applying these same positions, concepts, and arguments to texts, contexts, situations, and experiences with which you are familiar.  You learn from doing so, from actively–vocally–grappling with this new material, and so will everyone else.  Since this is a beginning class in theory and criticism, I don’t expect any of you to be highly knowledgeable or highly articulate about anything we will be studying, so speaking in class is about process, not about product–in other words, it is about working toward understanding, not about demonstrating arrival at understanding.  I’m not interested in people ‘performing glibness’ for me, or for others; you are here to learn, and as far as possible to help your classmates learn, not to show off what you have already learned (and neither are you here to show off how well you talk nor how much you like to talk).   


    BOOKS

    All three of the following are required:
                                    
1.    Stevenson, Robert Louis.  Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  A Norton Critical Edition.  W.W. Norton, 2003.  ISBN#: 0-393-97465-0.  This Edition Only.

2.    Parker, Robert Dale.  How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies.  Second Edition.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.  ISBN#: 9978-0-19-975750-3.  This Edition Only.

3.    Parker, Robert Dale.  Critical Theory: a Reader for Literary and Cultural Studies.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.  ISBN#: 978-0-19-979777-6.  This Edition Only.

All three books are available at the UWEC Bookstore in Davies Center.  You may acquire them from other sources, as you wish, as long as you acquire them in sufficient time to do the work required of you.


    SCHEDULE

W 1/23: Introduction and Orientation.

M 1/28 and W 1/30: Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Norton Critical Edition.

    Read for Class, M 1/28: The entire book.  

M 2/4 and W 2/6: New Criticism.

    Read for Class, M 2/4: How to Interpret Literature, Chapter 2: “New Criticism.” 

    Read for Class, W 2/6: Critical Theory: Cleanth Brooks, “The Language of Paradox” and “The Formalist Critics,” 7-24.

M 2/11, W 2/13, M 2/18, W 2/20: Structuralism.

    Read for Class, M 2/11: How to Interpret Literature, Chapter 3, “Structuralism,” 44-63.
    
    * M 2/11: Paper #1 Assigned *

    Read for Class, W 2/13: Critical Theory: Ferdinand de Saussure, From Course in General Linguistics, 37-48.
    
    Read for Class, M 2/18: How to Interpret Literature, Chapter 3, “Structuralism,” 63-85.                    
    
    Read for Class, W 2/20: Critical Theory: Victor Shklovsky, “Art as Technique,” 48-58.  

    * F 2/22, Paper #1 Due, by 12 noon,  Professor Bob Nowlan’s English Department Mailbox, HHH 405 *

M 2/25, W 2/27, and M 3/4: Deconstruction.

    Read for Class, M 2/25: How to Interpret Literature, Chapter 4, “Deconstruction.”    
    
    Read for Class, W 2/27: Critical Theory: Friedrich Nietzsche, “On Truth and Lying in a Non-Moral Sense,” 89-96.

    Read for Class, M 3/4: Critical Theory: Diana Fuss, “Essentialism in the Classroom” and bell hooks, “Essentialism and Experience,” 145-159.

W 3/6, M 3/11, and W 3/13: Feminism.

    Read for Class, W 3/6: How to Interpret Literature, Chapter 6, “Feminism.”
    
    Read for Class, M 3/11: Critical Theory: Laura Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” 231-241, and bell hooks, “The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators,” 269-282.

    Read for Class, W 3/13: Critical Theory: Chandra Talpade Mohanty, “Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourse,” 93-717.

M 3/25, W 3/27, M 4/1, and W 4/3: Queer Studies.
                                
    Read for Class, M 3/25: How to Interpret Literature, Chapter 7, “Queer Studies.”

    * M 3/25, Paper #2 Assigned *

    Read for Class, W 3/27: Critical Theory: Adrienne Rich, “ Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence” and Monique Wittig, “The Straight Mind,” 283-320.

    Read for Class, M 4/1: Critical Theory: Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, “Gender Asymmetry and Erotic Triangles” and Judith Butler, From Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, 321-338.

    Read for Class, W 4/3: Critical Theory: Robert McRuer, “Compulsory Able-Bodiedness and Queer/Disabled Existence” and Judith Halberstam, “Queer Temporalities and Postmodern Geographies,” 353-377.

    * F 4/5, Paper #2 Due, by 12 noon,  Professor Bob Nowlan’s English Department Mailbox, HHH 405 *

M 4/8, W 4/10, M 4/15, and W 4/17: Marxism.

    Read for Class, M 4/8: How to Interpret Literature, Chapter 8, “Marxism.”

    Read for Class, W 4/10: Critical Theory: Louis Althusser, ”Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes Toward an Investigation),” 449-461.

    Read for Class, M 4/15: Critical Theory: Karl Marx, Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, “The Fetishism of Commodities and the Secret Thereof,” and “The Working Day,” 380-394 as well as Raymond Williams, “Dominant, Residual, and Emergent,” 461-466.

    Read for Class, W 4/17: Critical Theory: Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception,” 415-442.

M 4/22, W 4/24, and M 4/29: Historicism and Cultural Studies.

    Read for Class, M 4/22: How to Interpret Literature, Chapter 9, “Historicism and Cultural Studies” and Critical Theory: Dick Hebdige, From Subculture: the Meaning of Style, 508-523.

    * M 4/22, Paper #3 Assigned. *

    Read for Class, W 4/24: Critical Theory: Michel Foucault, “Panopticism,” 493-508 and Jonathan Dollimore, “The Politics of Containment,” 568-582.

    Read for Class, M 4/29: Critical Theory: Angela McRobbie, “Jackie Magazine: Romantic Individualism and the Teenage Girl,” 523-543 and Tricia Rose, “The Contradictory Politics of Popular Culture: Resisting, Selling Out, and Hot Sex,” 582-588.
    
W 5/1, M 5/6, and W 5/8: Postcolonial and Race Studies.

    Read for Class, W 5/1: How to Interpret Literature, Chapter 10, “Postcolonial and Race Studies.”

    Read for Class, M 5/6: Critical Theory: Franz Fanon, “On National Culture,” and Ngugi wa Thiong’o, “The Language of African Literature,” 627-667.

    Read for Class, W 5/8: Critical Theory: Homi K. Bhaba, “On Mimicry and Man: The Ambivalence of Colonial Discourse,” 668-675 and Gloria Anzaldua, From Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, 734-740.

    * F 5/10, Paper #3 Due, by 12 noon,  Professor Bob Nowlan’s English Department Mailbox, HHH 405 *

W 5/15, 5-6:50 pm: Final Examination, HHH 323.

    * THIS SCHEDULE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE *
                                        
                             
    UWEC MISSION STATEMENT ALONG WITH  UNIVERSITY-WIDE LIBERAL EDUCATION GOALS AND OUTCOMES


    The following is the official mission statement of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, a mission which includes us all, and which each of us helps realize, bringing to bear our own distinct talents, abilities, knowledges, skills, backgrounds, and experiences:


    We foster in one another creativity, critical insight, empathy, and intellectual courage, the hallmarks of a transformative liberal education and the foundation for active citizenship and lifelong inquiry.


This is a mission to aspire to meet, and each of you has a vitally important role to play in helping us do so.


    The following are the newly adopted official liberal education learning goals and outcomes for undergraduate education at UWEC, which faculty, staff, and administration seek to work together with you to help you realize over the course of your undergraduate years here at UWEC:


    Knowledge Goal: Build knowledge and awareness of diverse peoples and cultures and of the natural and physical world through the study of arts, histories, humanities, languages, mathematics, sciences and technologies, and social sciences.
                                        
        Knowledge Outcome 1. Describe and evaluate models of the natural and physical world through collection and scientific analysis of data, and through the use of mathematical or computational methods.

        Knowledge Outcome 2. Use knowledge, historical perspectives, analysis, interpretation, critical evaluation, and the standards of evidence appropriate to the humanities to address problems and explore questions.

        Knowledge Outcome 3. Use knowledge, theories, methods, and historical perspectives appropriate to the social sciences to explain and evaluate human behavior and social institutions.

        Knowledge Outcome 4. Use knowledge, historical perspectives, theories, or methods appropriate to the arts to describe their context, function and impact.

    Skills Goal: Develop intellectual and practical skills, including, for example, inquiry and analysis, critical and creative thinking, written and oral communication, quantitative literacy, information literacy, and teamwork and problem solving.                    

        Skill Outcome 1. Write, read, speak, and listen effectively in various contexts using a variety of means including appropriate information sources and technologies.

        Skills Outcome 2. Use mathematical, computational, statistical, or formal reasoning to solve problems, draw inferences, and determine the validity of stated claims.

        Skills Outcome 3. Create original work, perform original work, or interpret the work of others.
    
    Responsibility Goal: Apply personal and social responsibility for active citizenship and develop skills needed to thrive in a pluralistic and globally interdependent world.

        Responsibility Outcome 1. Use critical and analytical skills to evaluate assumptions and challenge existing structures in ways that respect diversity and foster equity and inclusivity.

        Responsibility Outcome 2. Evaluate the impact of systems, institutions and issues in local and global contexts and across cultures.

        Responsibility Outcome 3. Use critical and creative thinking to address civic, social, and environmental challenges.

    Integration Goal: Integrate learning across courses and disciplines within and beyond campus.

        Integrative Learning Outcome. Apply knowledge, skills or responsibilities gained in one academic or experiential context to other contexts.


These goals and outcomes require that you deliberately and assiduously strive to realize them.  This course can help you in striving to realize a number of these goals and outcomes, but it is especially useful in relation to knowledge outcome number 2.


    GENERAL EXPECTATIONS OF STUDENTS

    I expect students in this course to strive to become sincerely interested in learning about the subject matter of this course, and to be consistently intellectually serious as well as academically diligent in your pursuit of this learning.  And I expect you to let me know right away when and if you have any questions or problems about any aspect of how you are doing in and with the course, so that I can do whatever I possibly can to help answer these questions and solve these problems. In addition, you need to be ready to engage seriously, thoughtfully, and respectfully–at all times–with positions that you don’t necessarily agree with, and even with ones that you may find troubling.  After all, great works of art–including many great works of literature–are often created with the deliberate aim of disturbing, even shocking, many people who will encounter these.  Often the intent is to provoke strong response, as well as thought–and action–that goes beyond what has become familiar, conventional, commonsensical, and, especially, merely “safe.”  Likewise, as you will learn to understand and appreciate over the course of the semester, work in critical theory, across diverse varieties, often aims, quite deliberately, to defamiliarize commonsense, and often follows the famous declaration by postmodernist critical theorist Gilles Deleuze: “thinking begins in provocation.”  You are capable of dealing with these kinds of challenges in an intellectually serious, mature adult manner–and I will expect you to do so.  
 


    SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS FOR CLASS GRADE


Attendance

    Attendance is expected, and will be worth 10% of the overall course grade, 5% for the first half of the semester and 5% for the second half of the semester.  This course cannot contribute effectively to students' learning if students do not attend class.  What happens in class is indispensable.  Attendance includes not only being in class, but being in class on time, for the full class period, not leaving early, and not preparing to leave early.  It also includes being alert and attentive to the focus of our work together, not engaged with or distracted by anything else.  It further means being prepared for class–having done the required reading, and, as relevant, the required homework.


    In addition to the grade students receive for attendance, the following attendance policy will apply in this class, above and beyond my evaluation of your attendance for the purposes of a grade:

1.)     Students may miss a maximum of three class periods total over the course of the semester.  

2.)    Students should always let me know, preferably beforehand, if and when you are not going to be able to attend a class session, just the same as you would for a shift at a paid job, because I will count on everyone in the work we will be doing together this semester. You should likewise do so if an emergency requires that you arrive late to or leave early from class.

2.)     If you need to miss more than three class periods total over the course of the semester you should arrange an officially authorized absence, through the Dean of Students’ Office.   If you need to miss more than three class periods, please contact me, as well as the Dean of Students’ Office, as soon as possible, so we can work together to make arrangements to help you make up what you miss.  Otherwise you will lose one full letter grade, off your final grade, starting with your fourth absence from class, for each class period missed beyond the third.

3.)    I will keep records for attendance at all class sessions.  Students who arrive late or leave early will be counted as absent.  Likewise, students who show themselves as unprepared for or distracted in class will be counted as absent.  I will make adjustments, accordingly, to my attendance record of each class session, after the class session.

4.)    You should avoid text-messaging, or web-searching, or facebooking, or playing games on your cell phone–just to mention a few common temptations–while we are working together in class.  If you repeatedly do any of these things you will suffer a loss of one full letter grade during each half of the semester where this becomes a problem.  Since you are mature, responsible adults, I respect, if you choose to ignore this warning, that you also choose to accept the consequences.  In other words, I won’t repeatedly warn you not to do any of these things; instead I will just note what you are doing, and adjust your grades accordingly.  I know that cell phones–and other electronic devices, especially providing access to the internet and the world wide web–present plenty of temptation, and most of us are used to being plugged in and connected all the time, but you can and will concentrate better, learn more, and contribute more and better if you set these devices aside and put them away while we are working together in class, unless you are using these devices as part of work on class activities.  If I can do so, you can too.  

5.)      IT IS VERY IMPORTANT IN THIS CLASS THAT YOU COME TO CLASS HAVING DONE THE READING REQUIRED PRIOR TO CLASS.  The quality of your own learning, and that of the rest of your classmates, depends upon you taking this seriously and carrying it out conscientiously.


Homework and Classwork

    Periodically I will assign you writing to do for class, and writing to do in class (often as part of small groups).  This will be worth 10% of the overall course grade, 5% for the first half of the semester and 5% for the second half of the semester.  I will evaluate and grade this work holistically, focusing on the qualitative seriousness, conscientiousness, diligence, and thoughtfulness of your work.


Participation and Contribution

    By raising questions, testing and trying out ideas, taking risks and making mistakes, you learn–and help others learn.  You learn through talking, not just talk to show what you have already learned.  It will be important that you strive to participate by speaking in class, in an academically and intellectually serious as well as respectful manner.  As previously mentioned, I am far more interested in process than product as far as students’ participation in class discussion goes.  I don’t expect eloquence–this is not a speech class.  The purpose of talking in this class is to help yourself, and to help others, work toward understanding, much more than it is to demonstrate arrival at understanding.  So don’t worry about finding ‘the right words’ before you speak– in this class ‘the right words’ are whatever words you can come up with, in order to honestly represent where you are at, in your thinking, at the moment in time in which you are invited to speak.  


    As likewise previously mentioned, I dislike participation which merely ‘performs glibness’, which works to ‘show off’ what and how much students already know (or think they know), as well as how well and how much these students like to talk.  Talking which pulls us off on far-fetched tangents, which remains disconnected from and disengaged with the reading and the rest of the class, or which effectively silences others, is negative participation.  


    In sum, quality participation is key.  At the same time, effective contribution involves listening as well as speaking–listening effectively is an important, and often difficult, skill, which people need to cultivate along with the ability to speak effectively.  Effective contribution can, furthermore, come from meeting and talking with me in conference outside of class.  


    Participation and contribution will be worth 10% of the overall course grade, 5% for the first half of the semester and 5% for the second half of the semester.  I will evaluate and grade this holistically, once again, focusing on overall quality.  


Papers

    These papers will ask you to explain, illustrate, and apply key positions, concepts, and arguments in critical theory: paper #1 will engage with New Criticism and Structuralism, paper #2 will engage with Deconstruction, Feminism, and Queer Studies; and paper #3 will engage with Marxism, Historicism and Cultural Studies, and Postcolonial and Race Studies.  Details will be provided with the specific assignments.  These papers provide you the occasion not only to show me your learning, but also to advance this learning, as you often learn a great deal about something by writing about it.   In evaluating your work on these papers, I will take account of how carefully, accurately, seriously, and thoughtfully you engage with the positions, concepts, and arguments you are assigned to explain, illustrate, and apply.  Paper #1 will be worth 15% of the overall course grade, paper #2 will be worth 20% of the overall course grade, and paper #3 will be worth 20% of the overall course grade–for a combined total worth 55% of the overall course grade.  


    All papers should be typed, double-space, on standard white letter-sized (8" X 11") typewriter, computer printer, or photographic paper.  You may use any standard font you wish but your print size must remain between 10 and 12 points.  Pages should be numbered, and your name should be at the top of the first page.  The pages of your paper must be stapled together and you are responsible for doing so; I do not bring staplers to class.  You are also responsible for proofreading your paper before you turn it in; if you catch any typographical errors, you should neatly cross these out and write your corrections on top of these with a pen.  I will expect you, furthermore, to observe the rules and conventions of Standard Written English to the very best of your ability in writing these papers, including MLA format for citation and documentation of sources outside of those read for–and discussed in–class.  


    Late papers will lose credit unless you have made arrangements ahead of the time with me to turn in these papers late due to a serious personal or family problem.  Alternately, if you provide a reasonable explanation why you are late shortly after the paper is due, you won’t suffer any grade penalty.  It is best to talk with me directly about this, and to make sure to do so within a week’s time of the due date at the absolute latest.  I do understand that at times real problems come up for all of us, no matter what we might intend or prefer.   

Final Examination

    This assignment–involving preparation for a short individual presentation to make to the class–will be distributed and explained near the end of the semester.  It will function therefore akin to a ‘take-home’ exam, but, at the same time, take a form you likely never previously encountered with a final, and, I suspect, based upon my experience using this with previous Introduction to Theory and Criticism classes, a form that is also considerably more interesting and valuable than usual.  This assignment will ask you to reflect on and account for theories and modes of criticism that are important to you, in your own life, reflective of your values and convictions, and responsive to your background and experience.  You will receive a grade worth 15% of the overall course grade for your performance on this final examination assignment.  


    ACADEMIC HONESTY

    Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are serious offenses.  They not only undermine the goal of learning but also are exploitative of the work of others.  Deliberate dishonesty in written work as part of this course will result in a failing grade.  In addition, plagiarism may result in further disciplinary action on the part of the University administration, ultimately including expulsion from the University.  Also, if you directly echo someone else’s thoughts as articulated in the course of class discussion you should add the last name, followed by the letters CD (for class discussion), followed by the date, in a parenthetical citation right after the end of the sentence, viz: (Nowlan, CD, 2/13/13).


    CONFERENCES/EXTRA HELP

    I encourage you to meet with me in conference during office hours or at another mutually convenient time to discuss any issue of interest or concern related to what we are doing in this course.  Learning that takes place in conferences can be equally as important, and at times even more important, than what takes place in class.  Please do not hesitate to meet with me during office hours or to ask for an appointment at any time you think this might be helpful; making myself available for conferences with you outside of class is part of my responsibility as your teacher.  I welcome getting to know and work with my students outside as well as inside of class.  “My office hours” are for you, so do not worry about “disturbing” me; these are times I have set aside to work with students–that is their purpose.  I think it’s great when students want to meet, talk, and work on matters related to a class I am teaching.  

* Any student who has a disability and is in need of classroom accommodations, please contact both the instructor and the Services for Students with Disabilities Office, Old Library 2136; for more information on the services the latter office provides you, check out their webpage: http://www.uwec.edu/ssd/index.htm *


    CONCLUSION

    In the interest of accountability–me to you–I am here providing you a weblink to my autobiographical profile: http://people.uwec.edu/ranowlan/PROFILE_.htm.  It is useful for you to know who your teacher is, what he’s about, and where he’s coming from–and I like to be open, honest, and forthright with you about that.  I look forward to a great semester working together with you!