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Prof. Jim Garrett
Office: E & T A608
Office Hours: Mon 4:30-6pm, Tue 10-11am, Noon-1pm, Thu 10-11am and by appt
Phone: (323) 343-4163
Course web site: http://www.calstatela.edu/faculty/jgarret/501/
Description: Prerequisite or corequisite: ENGL 441. Introduction to
the basic concepts and methods of contemporary trends in literary and
Description: English 501 is one of the two required
introductory courses designed to prepare students for graduate level
coursework and to introduce 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
contemporary literary and critical theory. It surveys significant
developments in several fields of English studies, with particular
emphasis on major debates in contemporary literary theory.
Students in English 501 will learn to
Consider the history of the discipline of English Studies;
Identify major critical and theoretical questions and
debates that have shaped 20th and 21st century
Recognize and explain the relevance of historical and
Engage in critical discussions about the nature of English
studies, literature, literary and narrative form, language, theory,
ideology, subjectivity, culture, gender, sexuality, nationality,
embodiment, and power;
Conduct advanced analysis of theoretical arguments with
emphasis on comprehension, synthesis, and comparison of critical
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
following texts are required for this class:
Peter. Beginning Theory: An
Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory. Third Edition.
Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009. (ISBN 978-0719079276)
Joseph. Heart of Darkness: A Case
Study in Contemporary Criticism. Third Edition. Ed. Ross Murfin.
David. The Critical Tradition:
Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends. Third Edition.
texts to be made available online.
Requirements: Listed below are the requirements for this course.
Please note that students must complete all assignments to pass this
Presentation (10% of your grade): A seminar presentation is a 15-20
minute presentation to the rest of the class about an assigned reading.
For the presentation, plan to go beyond regular class preparation, at
the very least, providing background about your topic, a generous
overview, and a discussion of its relation to other readings for that
week (or read earlier). You should also be prepared to answer questions
and help lead class discussion for that topic. You should prepare a
handout for the class; however, do not simply read from your prepared
handout or paper.
· Weekly Response Papers (30% of your grade): Each response paper is a 1-2 page response to the readings assigned for the week. Use the keyword associated with the week’s reading to focus your attention on one or more of the readings. You must complete five of the six weekly responses, with everyone required to submit a response on Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Responses will be submitted online using a blog located at
Responses must be posted by on the Sunday preceding the assigned readings.
· Critical Perspectives on Heart of Darkness Paper (25% of your grade): This assignment is a 5-7 (early draft) to 8-10 (later draft) paper that uses critical discussions of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness to examine, compare, and contrast the foundational values and methods of selected critical perspectives.
Final Exam (25% of
your final grade): This will be an essay exam of one or two
questions which will ask you to incorporate several of the readings in a
theoretical examination of the ideas explored throughout the quarter.
(10%): I expect full participation from all members of the class.
Absences or failure to prepare are unacceptable. You will be graded on
the following scale
5 points for being fully
prepared and offering frequent and insightful comments in class
4 points for being well
prepared and participating in discussion several times/class
3 points for being
somewhat or superficially prepared and participating in discussion
occasionally (once or twice/class)
0-2 points for absences,
failure to participate significantly in class discussion
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.
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.
the Instructor: Email is the most effective way of contacting
Be there or miss out on the fun.
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
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
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
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.
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.