Since this course is a seminar, general attentiveness and active contribution to discussion will be particularly important, and more than two unexcused absences will significantly and adversely affect your final grade. Please read the assigned material before class and come prepared with questions and issues you would like to address (at times I will give you more specific instructions for this). As part of your participation grade, at least three substantive blog posts will be required during our discussion of The Familiar. More details will be provided in class.
Note: I will be asking students who have not already visited office hours to make formal appointments for the weeks of February 16 and 23.
Literary analysis: 25% (1500 words)
Questions and topics to be assigned.
Deadline: January 30
Précis assignment: 20%
– One of the assignments for this class will be writing a critical summary, or précis, of a text of your choosing. What this means essentially is that you will read the piece thoroughly, process it, and restate the highlights and key points in your own words. You will not be expected to communicate all of the complexities and minutiae of the argument; think instead about presenting a basic picture of the text.
– You will begin your précis with a short passage, which will ideally function as a springboard and provide you with a way into the argument. You should give a gloss or explication of that passage, much like we will do throughout the quarter when we read out a few lines and ask ‘what does this mean?’ ‘what is the significance of this claim?’ etc. There are no right and wrong passages to choose per se, but some might be better chosen than others. After this first passage, try to the best of your ability to put the rest of the précis in your own words: the emphasis should be on your comprehension of what the author has to say.
– The exact text is up to you, but it must come from either the “book cultures” or “hermeneutic method” sections of the course. Corresponding dates on the syllabus: January 27-February 26.
Guidelines: The only structural requirements, apart from that of length, are that you (1) begin with a short passage that for you contains a central point of the text; and (2) thereafter keep quotation to a bare minimum.
Technical Format: One page, single-spaced, very narrow margins, approx. 500 words.
Due Date: Your précis will be due in class the day we are to discuss your chosen text. Emailed documents will not be accepted. So, if you were going to write about Freud, your précis would be due no later than February 10.
Resume/CV exercise: 10%
Following from our study of the expressive aspects of typography and book design, students will be asked to design their own document, in this instance a resume or CV. Further instructions will be provided in class.
Deadline: Friday, March 6
Research report: 20%
The final assignment for this course will be to produce a research report on an artifact, broadly conceived, that instantiates some of the primary themes and questions that we will be considering throughout the term. The standard format of these reports will follow the guidelines adopted by the Transliteracies research project, but we will discuss the assignment at length in class. These reports should be published online and I will link them to our course website.
Deadline: Tuesday, March 17