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Cal State L.A.


English 441 Syllabus

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Prof. Jim Garrett
Office: E & T A608
Office Hours: Tues. and Thurs. 9-9:45am, Thurs. 3:30-6pm and by appt
Phone:  (323) 343-4163
Course web site:

Course Description: English 441 introduces students to the scholarly and critical discourses of literary studies. This course is intended to serve as an intensive and focused introduction to the historical development of literary and critical theory.

Learning Outcomes:

Students in English 441 will learn to

        Consider the philosophical and theoretical foundations of literary study;

        Identify major critical and theoretical questions and debates that have shaped the history of critical theory and literary criticism;

        Recognize and explain the relevance of historical and contemporary theories;

        Develop cogent, incisive, and well-written arguments that analyze and compare the claims, assumptions, strengths, and weaknesses of critical and theoretical arguments;

        Become producers of critical, textual, and theoretical knowledge.

Textbooks: The following texts are required for this class:

Richter, David. The Critical Tradition: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends. Third Edition. New York : Bedford/St. Martin, 2006. (ISBN 978-0312415204)

Other texts when necessary will be made available online.

Course Requirements: While the amount of reading in this class is not particularly great, much of it is difficult and will require not merely reading but re-reading. You will need to be diligent about planning ahead and completing your tasks on time. Listed below are the required assignments for this course. Please note that students must complete all assignments to pass this class.

  1. Three response papers (approx. 2 pages each) (10 points each, 30 points total-15% of total) 
  2. One argumentative essay (approx. 4-5 pages) (50 points-25% of total) 
  3. A take-home midterm exam (short answers and identifications, and essay questions) (50 points-25% of total) 
  4. A final exam (short answers, short answer identification questions, and one essay question). (50 points-25% of total) 
  5. Attendance and in-class activities (quizzes, in class writing, etc.). (20 points-10% of total)


Grading Policy: Course grades are based on standard percentages (i.e. 90% and greater is some version of an A, 80%-89% is some version of a B and so on). Plus and minus grades are used in the class.

Cell Phones and Other Electronic Devices: Please turn off all cell phones, pagers, portable radios, televisions, computers, MP3/CD/Disc/Mini-disc players, and any other electronic communication and/or entertainment devices before coming to class.

Contacting the Instructor: Email is the most effective way of contacting the instructor.

Attendance: Be there or miss out on the fun.

Please read the assigned texts before class. Often I will offer some guidelines about future reading assignments in class. For example, I might tell you to focus on a particular character or scene for the next class meeting. If you are absent, you are responsible for getting the assignment from a classmate.

Written Assignments: Please note the following carefully when preparing your written assignments for this class:

       Written assignments must be typed following standard formatting practices for college writing—use a readable type style (12 point type), indent paragraphs, double space between lines, and use one inch margins. Any style guide will contain information on formatting your written assignments for submission.

       Edit and proofread your work carefully before handing in written assignments

       Do not use plastic covers or report folders or title pages on your written assignments. Each assignment, though, should have your name, the course number, the date, and my name on separate lines (double-spaced) in the upper left corner of the first page. If the paper has a title, center it on the first page, after the above information.

       Use page numbers and place them in the upper right corner of the page. If you are uncertain how to have word processing software generate the correct page number in the header of your document, ask someone in one of the labs.

       MLA format and style conventions should be followed for all written assignments (essays and responses). For more information on MLA format and style conventions, see The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, the appropriate section of a recent (published after 2000) writer’s handbook, or one of the many reputable online sources.

       Late papers are not accepted. The assignment due dates are distributed on the first day of class, and the assignments are made available often weeks before they are due.

Academic Dishonesty/Cheating: Collaborating with others is encouraged when you are planning your papers, reviewing each other’s work, preparing for presentations or for exams. Study or reading groups can be effective ways to study and learn. However, when you write your papers, the text needs to be your own.

       You must carefully observe the standard rules for acknowledging the sources of words and ideas. If you make use of a phrase or a quote or if you paraphrase another writer’s words or ideas, you must acknowledge the source of these words or ideas telling us the source of these materials. APA and MLA style differ on the exact format of this attribution, but the simple version is the name of the author and the page number (if appropriate) in parentheses at the end of the sentence containing the use of the source material. If you fail to acknowledge properly the source of your text, you will receive a zero on the assignment and be reported to the Student Disciplinary Officer.

       If you plagiarize or otherwise misrepresent the source of your work, you will receive a zero on the assignment and be reported to the Student Disciplinary Officer.

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Last Update: 01/12/2016