Final Literary Analysis and/or Creative Project 30%
As a part of your final grade, students will have the option to create either an extended piece of literary analysis (a seven to ten page paper) or a creative project of their choosing. Below is a description of each.
Option A: Extended Literary Analysis Paper
The literary analysis can be a 7-10 page extended version of your blogs, your original online artifact paper, and/or your literary criticism essay--but revised and much more polished. You can also write a new paper if you wish. For this paper, you will also be required to bring in a second text: either a text from our class or a text of your choosing (for instance, you could do a comparative analysis of Carmilla with elements of the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer; or compare some song lyrics to aspects of I Am Legend…). This paper should be indicative of your critical understanding of the novel in terms of the vampire novel as applied to the course texts. Outside research is not required, but you must take responsibility for supporting the claims you make. In other words, you should draw upon the course texts—the literary criticism we’ve read, and any handouts of theory or primary sources I’ve provided for you in class—to help explain your ideas. You should also take responsibility for defining important key terms or providing some cultural context and background if your paper calls for it.
The paper should be no less than seven pages long. For each page you are short of the seven-page requirement, you will be docked one letter grade on the overall paper.
Your paper should also have a works cited page and meet the general requirements for MLA formatting and documentation.
Option B: Creative Project
Either as an individual or as a group, you will design your own project that demonstrates critical thinking about and critical understanding of Irish literature in general and of one of the novels we’ve read in class. You may choose the format for your project, and you are free to be as creative as you would like. Bear in mind that you must be able to post your creative project on the internet. So, even if you compose a series of songs based on one of the novels we read, for instance, you will have to find a way to post your music online.
The project must include the following components:
The Creative Component:
Your project may take any form you like, but make sure it reflects your particular creative strengths. No one will get an A for effort in this class. If your work is sub-par and sloppy, I will assess it as such. Make sure you undertake a project that will show off what YOU do best. If you work in a group, make sure you take on a task that will highlight YOUR particular talents.
The following are some suggestions of what students have done in the past:
1) Script or performance: Adapt a novel into a script or screenplay. Choose the most important elements, characters, symbols, language, dialogue, etc. to include in the play/film version. You could also cast it, design the sets and costumes, and create the advertisements. As a group, you can work together to create a short film.
2) Write a piece of “fan fiction”: Dictionary.com defines fan fiction as “a fictional account written by a fan of a show, movie, book, or video game to explore themes and ideas that will not or cannot be explored via the originating medium.” For this creative approach, you could write a piece of fan fiction that explores a character or an idea left unexamined in the original work. For instance, you might write a piece of fan fiction starring Carmilla and tell her story from her own perspective. There really is no limit to the possibilities with fan fiction.
3) Illustration: Create an artistic representation of the novel, be it an illustration, a collage, photography, or a computer graphic design. Choose the most important elements or symbols of the text to include in your design.
4) Website: Create a website for one of the novels. Write articles, create graphics, design activities, and provide links that allow visitors to interact with the novel.
5) Create a facebook page for a character or a novel: You can write status updates, “notes” about your daily life, provide photos, create pages for other characters and interact with them, and so forth.
6) Poetry or Fiction: Write poems and/or a short story inspired by some of the gothic elements we’ve explored in class.
7) Music: Compose a piece of music or a series of songs that reflects one of the novels we’ve read.
8) Multimedia: Compose a video montage using images and music to express and explore certain ideas, themes, or characters from one of the novels.
9) Psychoanalysis: Write a psychological diagnosis for one of the characters.
10) Education: Write a series of lesson plans explaining how you would teach one of these novels.
11) Make a comic book or graphic novel based on or inspired by one of the novels we read in class.
The Written Component:
Students who choose the creative project option must also write a 3-5 page essay critically reflecting on your work. You may use the following questions to get you started, but feel free to develop your own.
1) What is it exactly that you tried to accomplish through this project? How well do you think you accomplished it?
2) How did you apply what we read and discussed in class throughout the semester to your project? Make sure to quote from and use specific examples from the text.
3) What do you like best about this project and why? Which phrases, aspects, or sections stand out in your mind as being particularly good or well thought-out?
4) What parts of your project are you still concerned about? Perhaps these particular parts are not as clear or as vivid as you would like. Identify those parts and tell what it is about them that still bothers you.
5) How did you get this project done? Did you do extensive revising, or did you find that your first draft was fairly clear and complete already?
6) If you worked in a group, what part of this project did you particularly contribute towards? How well do you think you contributed to and worked with this group? If you had to evaluate your other group members, what grade would you give them?
On Monday, November 22nd by 11:59 pm, I would like for you to post a paragraph on your blog on what you would like to do for your final project. This doesn’t have to be set in stone, but you should be able to articulate at least a general direction and focus. Make sure to include what novels you will you use, how you will go about completing your final project, and what you hope to accomplish with your essay/creative project.
By Wednesday, November 24th by 11:59 pm, you will post feedback on two of your peers’ blogs. Your feedback can consist of questions you think your peer should consider, ideas, storyline directions, passages you think would be worthwhile for your peer to reexamine, informative links, and so forth.
Try to spread the comments around as much as possible. If you see someone else has already commented, move on until you find someone without comments. The idea is to make sure that everyone has at least a little bit of feedback.
Your Final Project is due FRIDAY 12/17 at 11:59 pm. You must post all your materials on your blog, but also email any necessary materials to me as a back up (just in case there is a technological glitch).
Syllabus: Fall 2010
Introduction to the Novel: The Vampire Novel
I. Contact Information
Curtin Hall 506
Via Phone: Office hours will be held online through email, IM, or over the phone on Tuesday 12-1. Please feel free to call me during those times at (414)690-7909. Unless we've set up an alternative schedule, ONLY call me during those times.
Face-to-Face: Monday 3-4
II. Course Description
“The vampire of subjectivity sees the play of identity from the metalevel, sees the fragrant possibilities of multiple voice and subject position, the endless refraction of desire, with a visual apparatus that has become irreducibly and fatally different. Once one receives this Dark Gift, there is no way back to a simpler and less problematic time. The gaze of the vampire, once achieved, cannot be repudiated; it changes vision forever.”
--Allucuere Rosanne Stone, The War of Desire and Technology at the Close of the Mechanical Age.
The modern vampire is as old as the novel itself. Long before “Team Edward,” Buffy, and Sookie Stackhouse entered our popular imagination, a wide cast of vampire characters plagued modern literature, fascinating audiences with their seductive violence and glamorous, indulgent existences. But where does this figure come from? Why has the “vampire story” been such a pervasive story in Anglo-American literary history? Why is the vampire figure so ubiquitous in our culture and what do these inhuman creatures say about our own humanity and deep, inner longings? In what ways is the vampire a metaphor for modern life and how does the novel explore the darker facets of our contemporary society? In this course, we will examine these questions, analyzing the history and evolution of the vampire figure in the modern novel. Beginning with Romanticism and Lord Byron and then moving to the Heaths of Yorkshire, the dark underbelly of London, to a dystopian New York City of the future, to the sweltering streets of New Orleans, and finally ending at a public high rise in contemporary Stockholm, we will locate the vampire figure in particular historical, political, and social contexts and explore how this fantastical being expresses some of our greatest desires and darkest fears.
III. Course Texts
Course texts can be found at People’s Bookstore at 2122 E Locust St. (on the corner of Locust and Maryland). Some of the literature, including the literary criticism, is supplemented on D2L.
It is imperative for the success of our discussions that students make a concerted effort to buy the exact editions listed here. I encourage you to utilize People’s Bookstore, but if you must purchase books from another source, make sure to use the ISBN number to locate this book. An ISBN number is the individual number given to a particular edition of a particular book. I have provided these for you below.
• In a Glass Darkly. Sheridan Le Fanu. Oxford World Classics. ISBN: 9780192839473
• Wuthering Heights. Emily Bronte. Bantam Classics. ISBN: 0553212583
• Dracula. Bram Stoker. Norton Critical Edition. ISBN: 9780393970128
• Interview with the Vampire. Ann Rice. Ballantine Books. ISBN: 0345409647
• I Am Legend. Tor Books. Richard Matheson. ISBN: 0765318741
• Let the Right One In. John Ajvide Lindqvist. St. Martins Griffin. ISBN: 0312355297
• Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction. Jonathan Culler. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 019285383X
You will also need access to some sort of style manual to reference MLA documentation style and general expectations of grammar and mechanics. Please feel free to utilize a manual that you feel comfortable with, or feel free to access the University of Purdue’s excellent online writing guide at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/
IV. Technology Requirements
Computer and Online Access
Because the course will be conducted online, you need to have regular access to a working computer (Mac or PC) with a reliable connection to the Internet. You do not need to buy a brand new computer in order to do well in this course. However, you do need to have consistent access to a computer and the Internet. If you do not have a home computer with Internet access, you might elect to use UWM’s computer labs (see https://www4.uwm.edu/uits/services/campus/ccls/ for more details). Regardless of your access you should work out a schedule that allows you to spend several hours on a computer every week. Not having access to a computer or a bad internet connection is NOT an excuse for missing an assignment. Always have a contingency plan in place to ensure that you can get your assignments in on time.
A Word Processing Program
While we will be doing most of our assignments on blogger (details below), you should have access to some sort of word processing program. To help make file sharing more possible, you are required to use a word processing program that can save files in either .doc (MS Word Document) or .rtf (Rich Text Format). Microsoft Word is installed on all lab computers and will save in both formats. Alternately, you may chose to download OpenOffice ( www.openoffice.org ), a free program that has many of the same features as Microsoft Word. You may also chose to buy a word processing program through the Wisconsin Integrated Software Catalog ( http://wiscsoftware.wisc.edu ) which offers discounted software to students. It doesn’t matter which program you use as long as it can open and create .doc or .rtf files.
Adobe Reader is available for free at www.adobe.com and will be necessary to read course documents. Be sure to download the “free” version and not the “trial” version; the trial version will ask you to purchase it after 30 days.
For those of you who are facebook junkies, I have created a facebook page for this course at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=143927002306974
This group is intended as a supplement to English 263: The Vampire Novel. Here, students can post links, ask questions, receive updates, and chat about various topics related to our fanged friends. You do NOT have to be on facebook to be successful in the course, but I thought it would something useful for those of us who find this interface useful.
IV. Course Methodology
There will be five main components to this course:
• blogs and comments 25%
• discussion forum 25%
• an essay on an “online artifact” 10%
• an extended blog analyzing a piece of literary criticism 10%
• a final project (a creative project or an essay) 30%
A. Reading Blog 25%
Please Note: my blog is located at http://thevampirenovel.blogspot.com
Most of the course activity will take place on blogger (www.blogspot.com). I’ve chosen to use blogs instead of D2L for our discussions because I find that it’s just a better product. Students can post links, videos, pictures, and personalize their “space” much easier on this interface than on D2L.
Students will be required to keep and maintain a reading blog throughout the course. Feel free to personalize your blogs in any way you like. Although it should be legible, clear, intelligent, critical, and evident of close-reading, this is more or less an informal place for you to try out ideas, explore certain questions the text raises for you, and highlight passages of the text you would like to reference and examine for class discussion or for a paper or project. This is NOT a place to summarize the text or regurgitate what you read on sparknotes. Please don’t summarize the text for your readers. I’m assuming the class will read the texts (and I have read them several times, as well). We don’t need a lengthy discussion of plot, and I’m much more interested in what YOU think about these works.
• Students will post a blog every Wednesday at 11:59 pm (before midnight) every week.
• Blogs should be roughly 500-800 words (unless you are assigned to post your online artifact analysis or your analysis on a piece of literary criticism. See below for details).
• Students will ALSO post 2 comments by Wednesday at 11:59 pm (before midnight) every week. (Comments can be on another student’s blog or in response to what a student wrote on your own blog).
• Comments should be roughly 250 words each.
• ALL Blogs and comments must include at least one direct quote from a text. This is to ensure that your blog and comments are grounded in some sort of textual reality (in other words, it’s not just what you “feel”). You can quote from the novel, a piece of literary criticism, another student, my blog, or a reliable source from the internet (use serious discretion on this last one). Make sure you provide page numbers, links, etc. to cite whom you are quoting.
Late Blogs/Comments and Missing Blogs/Comments Policy:
• Late blogs will not be accepted. If it’s late, it will not count.
• Students are allowed to miss up to TWO blogs and FOUR comments throughout the semester without penalty (please note: this contingency does NOT count for the “Online Artifact Assignment” or “The Literary Criticism Assignment”). Please use these “passes” on blogs and comments with discretion and save them for emergencies (i.e. your internet is down or you are seriously ill).
• Every missed blog after two will drop the student’s grade down a letter grade.
• Every missed comment after four will drop the students’ grade down half a letter grade.
You can compose your blog in however way you prefer, but here are some suggestions to help you succeed:
• Take two or three quotes from the text that seem significant, important, puzzling, especially difficult, and/or troubling to you. Attempt to read and analyze them very closely, developing questions from your reading.
• Respond to another students’ blog (make sure to provide a link to the student’s blog).
• Locate a particular character and list various descriptions of that character, passages, dialogue, and/or choices that this character makes. Analyze what you think the author is trying to say with this character.
• Take a particular theme, trope, or symbol that seems to recur in the work and explain its significance
• Explain your general response to the novel in a critical and engaged manner. Don’t forget to explain why you react to the novel as you do.
• Connect the current text we’re reading to another text we’ve read. Cite passages to show the relationship you’re making in your blog.
• Anytime you feel that you can’t fill 500 words, begin to write down questions. Make sure to cite places in the texts that inspired these questions. Questions are particularly helpful for discussion (and if used in class, will help with your participation grade).
• You can also include any pictures, songs, or movie clips to connect your reading to some other form of media (please note that adding a lot of pictures will not help you out in terms of length).
Your final grade on your blogging activity will be based on how well you’ve read and thought about these texts and how adept you’ve been at critically analyzing these works. I will also grade on how well you’ve improved throughout the semester. I will also grade you on the quality of your comments to your peers. In the first couple of weeks, I will give reminders of my expectations. If I see any serious issues that need addressing, I will email you privately. If you do not receive an email from me about your blog, rest assured that you are meeting my expectations. It would be impossible for me to comment on every blog every week, but I will do my best to engage with you online as much as possible. I see myself as a facilitator of discussion, but the quality of discourse in our vampire novel “blogosphere” will ultimately depend on you and your own level of engagement.
B. Discussion Forum 25%
On the main website for the class (www.thevampirenovel.blogspot.com) there will be three discussion forums: Forums A, B, and C. These forums are powered by nabble. You will want to register with nabble (It’s very easy. All you need to do is provide an email address and a password) unless you want to fill in your information for each post.
Every week, I will post questions on forums A and B to get the discussion started. I may post some basic guidelines for your post that week such as having you quote from a specific passage, develop a question of your own, or seek out specific themes or ideas. Forum C will be a “free” forum where students can initiate what they would like to discuss.
There will be no minimum or maximum requirement for participation in the discussion forum. Although these forums are asynchronous (meaning you can jump in and out whenever you like), these forums will function a lot like participation in a “real” class. You will be graded not just on the frequency of your participation, but on the quality of your posts, questions, and responses. One week you may have two very lengthy and involved posts, another week you may post six or seven good quality questions. While very different, both types of participation can be useful. Similar to the activity on your blogs, I will grade you holistically at the end of the semester. I will assess you on how well you’ve read and critically analyzed the texts, but also how engaged you were and the quality of your interactions with your peers. In the first few weeks, I will give gentle reminders of what I expect in these discussion forums, but these discussions will mostly be student-driven, meaning I cannot guarantee the quality of every discussion every week. If after a few weeks I think you are not meeting expectations, I will send you a private email wherein we can discuss some effective strategies to help you participate more effectively. While student-driven, there will be some basic requirements.
Basic Requirements for Discussion Forums:
• Students are allowed TWO free weeks off of participation in the discussion forum with NO penalty.
• After two weeks, every missed week of activity will result in a dropped letter grade at the end of the semester.
C. Analysis of an Online Artifact 10%
(For a more detailed discussion of this assignment see “Analysis of an Online Artifact” Assignment Sheet)
For this assignment, students will post an essay (roughly 1000 words or 3-5 pages double-spaced in a word document) rhetorically analyzing what we will call an “online artifact.” You will sign up for a date to post this essay (it will count in lieu of a blog post), and your artifact must in some way be related to the novel we’re currently reading. An online artifact could be an essay on an aspect of vampire lore or culture, an online art exhibit, a youtube video and/or a discussion of a youtube video, a website, a chat forum, an article from an online periodical, and so forth.
Signing up for a date to post your online artifact is binding. You cannot rearrange dates after you have committed to a certain date.
B. Analysis of a Piece of Literary Criticism 10%
(For a more detailed discussion of this assignment, please see the “Analysis of a Piece of Literary Criticism Assignment” document).
Over the course of the semester, students will choose ONE piece of literary criticism to write about (again, this will count as a blog post. There is no need to write an “extra” blog on top of this assignment). Unless otherwise noted, these essays will be on D2L.
For this blog, there are no particular parameters on what students can write about, but I expect that your essay will contain elements of the following:
• An explanation and analysis of the author’s main ideas and points.
• A close reading of specific passages, explaining their meaning and significance. Make sure to QUOTE DIRECTLY FROM THE TEXT.
• Definitions of key terms and concepts. For instance, if you see difficult or “jargon-y” terms or concepts in the text such as “deconstruction” or “postcolonialism,” be prepared to explain these terms to better facilitate your audience’s understanding of the author’s ideas.
• A discussion of the criticism in relation to the literary text. For instance, do you agree/disagree with the author’s reading? Why or why not?
• End your essay with at least two questions on the piece of literary criticism in relationship to the literature.
Signing up for a date to post on your online criticism is binding. You cannot rearrange dates after you have committed a certain date.
D. Final Project: Creative Project or Extended Literary Analysis 30%
As a part of your final grade, students will have the option to create either an extended piece of literary analysis (an eight page paper) or a creative project of their choosing. We will discuss this assignment in much further detail later in the semester, but what follows is a brief summary of the requirements.
The literary analysis can be an extended version of a blog, but revised and much more polished. You can also write a new paper if you wish. For this paper, you will also be required to bring in a second text: either a text from our class or a text of your choosing
Students may also have the option of doing a “creative project” for their final grade. This could be anything from writing a piece of “fan fiction” based off one of the texts we read in class; creating a film, a series of paintings or photographs, a website, a psychological profile of a main character; or even develop a series of lesson plans for teaching one of the novels. My objective in providing this as an option is to grade you based on your own personal and unique strengths while still insisting in critical and quality work. Accompanying your creative project, you must also provide a three to five page explanation of the choices you made in creating your project and what specific texts you are drawing from and why.
V. Class Policies
A. Late Work
Late work is unacceptable in this course and will not receive credit. I believe the deadlines for blogs and assignments are reasonable. Save your “free passes” for blogs for the unexpected and make sure to give yourself plenty of time to post your assignments.
B. Email and Email Attachments
I will always try to answer my emails promptly and thoroughly, but every once in a while my schedule will not allow me to do so. Generally, I will answer my email within 48 hours. Unless it is an emergency, emails sent after 5:00 pm or on weekends will have to wait until the next working day for a response. Please take care in composing your emails and write them with clarity and purpose. Provide a salutation and a signature line, making sure you provide your full name. I am responsible for several students, and it’s important that we avoid any miscommunication.
Also, I will from time to time email you announcements, so please check your email daily.
C. Online Etiquette (or “Netiquette”)
Even though this is an online course, that does not mean we suspend general standards of etiquette and collegiality. Some things to keep in mind when posting and responding to your peers are the following:
• Be mindful of your language. If you are particularly passionate about an issue, write it out, but maybe give yourself a brief interval before posting.
• Be mindful of your use of sarcasm; humor doesn’t always translate online.
• Be forgiving and understand that for some students, online communication is new to them and that they may still be working on constructing a dynamic “online identity.” If you feel particularly offended by a classmate, please email me privately so I can address the issue.
• Think carefully about the content of your message before contributing it. Once sent to the group, there is no taking it back. Also, although grammar and spelling of a post will not be graded, they do reflect on you, and your audience might not be able to decode misspelled words or poorly constructed sentences. It is a good practice to compose and check your comments in a word-processor before posting them.
• Be careful about using all caps. YOU DON’T WANT TO SEEM LIKE YOU’RE YELLING!
• While the occasional emoticon and acronym (i.e. LOL! KWIM, etc) is okay, I urge you to avoid using them, if at all. For one, I do wish for us to maintain a level of scholarly sophistication in this class in terms of prose, and second, I may not know you’re talking about! (I’m old and not always up with the lingo). As someone who grades your work, you will want to make sure that you are communicating your ideas articulately and effectively. I know that there are times when only a smiley face will do, but always try to use words to express your ideas first and foremost.
• Remember that what would be inappropriate for the real classroom is most likely inappropriate for the virtual classroom.
• Don't add your comments to a discussion before reading the comments of other students.
D. Academic Honesty
Plagiarism—the use of another person’s ideas or words without providing proper and fair acknowledgement—is not acceptable in the academic community. At UWM students found plagiarizing or engaging in other forms of academic misconduct (such as submitting a paper that was previously submitted for another class) may face failing the course, suspension, expulsion or other disciplinary action. If you are unsure about how to cite a source, consult a style manual, the OWL Perdue website, a tutor at the Writing Center, or email me with questions.
UWM Writing Center, Curtain Hall 382
The Writing Center offers UWM students free, on-to-one conferencing on all stages of the writing process. You may find it invaluable to visit the center early during the semester and develop a relationship with a writing tutor. For an appointment, stop by, call 229-4339 or visit www.writingcenter.uwm.edu . Remember to bring a copy of your essay and the assignment description to your tutoring session.
Student Accessibility Center (SAC), Mitchell Hall 112
This center provides confidential services for all students with disabilities. If you believe you might have a disability that may affect your course work, please arrange to meet with a SAC advisor. If you are working with a SAC advisor, please meet with me in private and provide me a copy of your VISA statement within one week of our first class.