Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ENGL 266 - Literary Analysis

This course explores some of the most important and influential concepts informing contemporary literary and cultural theory. In the process, we will engage with several prominent methodologies, as well as the philosophical and historical antecedents without which the discipline of literary and cultural studies would not be as vibrant as it is today. Issues pertaining to identity, cultural value, and the matrices of patriarchal, phallogocentric, and colonialist ideology that inform much of Western culture will be considered (and reconsidered) in depth, as will various avenues for resisting reductionist thinking. The readings are demanding and may require you to think about art and culture in ways you may have never imagined, but if you are dedicated, serious, patient, and courageously open to new ideas, you may find that this course will change the way you understand what it means to be human.   

Who: Prof. Jay McRoy
Office: CART 228
Office Hours: W 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Required Texts:
  • The Foucault Reader Edited by Paul Rabinow (FR)
  • Literary Theory: An Anthology Edited by Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan (LT)
  • Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? by Mark Fisher
  • The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
  • Assorted On-line Texts (marked with an +)
  • Assorted Hand Outs (marked with an *)

The Rules of the Game: 

As we only meet twice a week for one hour and twenty-two minutes per session, attendance is mandatory.

Preparation and Participation.  You are required to do all of the assigned reading and writing for the course, and to have all of this completed by the beginning of class. Failure to keep up with the reading will have a negative impact upon your performance in this class; a chronic lack of preparation will be disastrous.

For each class, I will prepare a detailed lecture and present assorted multimedia materials designed to render the texts under discussion more accessible. However, as we will all have spent significant time engaging with the readings prior to class, your insights and questions are invaluable. I won't lie to you - this is difficult material; to pretend that it isn't would be to do you a grave disservice. However, as this course in literary and cultural studies is the foundation for further, and more advanced, engagements with literature and media on the 300 and 400 level in English (and several other disciplines), it is vital that we wrestle with these challenging ideas and meet the questions they raise with questions of our own.

Assignments and Grading.
As this is a course in literary theory and analysis, there will be a substantial amount of reading and writing in this course.  If you are used to "banging out" your written assignments the night (or maybe even hours) before they are due and relying on your word processor to catch minor errors, you may find that such an approach will result in very poor grades. No matter how great your ideas are, if you are unable to present them in a clear and cogent fashion, your audience will not be able to appreciate your observations. Your written work for this (or any) course is a reflection of who you are as a student, so all written work for this class must be proofread carefully and then, once some time has passed, proofread again.

The written work in this class will consist of Critical Response Papers (60% of your final grade) and a Major Literary Analysis Essay (40% of your final grade).

Attendance and Participation:
This course requires active student involvement. Therefore, it is expected that students will attend every class session on time and will stay until the end of each session. Attendance will be recorded at each class session. Because unexpected conflicts do arise, students will be allowed to miss up to 3 classes during a full-semester course without penalty. Additional absences will impact your grade in the course. Students who accrue more than 3 weeks of missed class (6 absences) cannot earn a grade higher than D+.

60% - Critical Reading Notes ("CRN" - No More than 500 Words):  
Critical Reading Notes are due the day the material is scheduled to be discussed. They should be your attempt to make sense of the text(s), not your opinions on it. Note key concepts and quotable lines. Note any connections you find between/among readings throughout the semester. Note points of departure among the various theorists we will encounter. Note any important writings that the readings reference. Critical Reading Notes must always contain a full citation of the text in MLA format, as well as page numbers for any quotes. There are twelve (12) dates when Critical Reading Notes are due; you need only turn in eight to fulfill the course requirement. If you complete more that eight (8), I will drop the lowest grade.

40% - Major Literary Analysis Paper (Approximately 5-7 pages): This course will culminate with a major analytical essay. In this paper, students will analyze Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper, incorporating ideas advanced by one or more of the critics we study this semester. Your thesis for this essay must be cleared with me at least three weeks before the paper is due. As you draft and revise your essay, please feel free to meet with me to discuss your progress during my office hours or by appointment. I am on campus pretty much every day and want you to succeed; please do not hesitate to approach me with any concerns or difficulties you encounter as you craft this analysis.

Both the Major Literary Analysis Paper and the Weekly Response Papers will be graded according to the following scale:

A  = Excellent
A- = Very Good to Approaching Excellence
B+ + Very Good
B = Good
B- = High Average
C+ = Average College-Level Work
C = Approaching Average College-Level Work
C- = Subpar Effort
D = Poor
F = Unacceptable

Department of English Statement on Academic Misconduct

The English Department regards any type of academic misconduct as a serious offense. Academic misconduct can take many forms, including plagiarism, collusion, or cheating on tests or exams.

I. Plagiarism is the deliberate presentation of the writing or ideas of another as one's own.
  1. You must acknowledge the sources of any information in your work which is not either common knowledge or personal knowledge. Common knowledge, such as the dates of Bill Clinton's presidency or the freezing point of water, is information that belongs generally to the educated public. Personal knowledge is something that you know through your own direct personal experience.
  2. You must acknowledge direct quotation, either by using quotation marks or indenting longer passages. Without quotation marks, or indentation, a quotation is plagiarized even if it is followed by an in-text citation or a footnote.
  3. If you rephrase the original passage from the source by merely changing a few words or altering its structure, you are still committing plagiarism. Ask your instructor for help if you are having trouble paraphrasing appropriately.
  4. If you use the ideas, examples, or structure of a source without acknowledgement, you are plagiarizing.
  5. If you purchase, download, borrow, or steal a paper, or any part of a paper, written by someone else, and present it as your own work, you are plagiarizing.
  6. You also cannot use an assignment for more than one course without prior written approval from both instructors.
II. Collusion (i.e. allowing someone else to write, revise, or edit your academic work) is also a form of academic misconduct. Changes or corrections can be suggested by an instructor, peer editor, tutor, or even a friend or family member, but the person cannot revise or edit the paper for you.

III. Cheating. On quizzes, tests, or exams, you must abide by the rules established by your instructor. For example, if you are told you cannot use books or notes, then using notes during the exam is considered to be academic misconduct. Obviously, you cannot use answers that have been provided by anyone else (whether voluntarily or involuntarily), and you also cannot use an illegally obtained copy of the test or exam to gain an unfair advantage over your fellow students.

Penalties for academic misconduct can be severe, ranging from a failing grade on the assignment to suspension or even expulsion from the University of Wisconsin System. Students may appeal these penalties following procedures outlined by UWS 14, the section of the UW System's code on academic disciplinary policies and procedures.


Week One: 
9/8: Introduction

Week Two:
Read for Class: "The Importance of Reading Good Books" by Corey Anton*

(Corey Anton "On Being a Reader")

(Corey Anton "Books & Thinking for Oneself")

(Corey Anton "Three Kinds of Student")

(Corey Anton "Study and Self-Cultivation)

Read for Class: "Mythologies" by Roland Barthes (LT)
CRN 1 Due

Week Three:
Read for Class:  "The German Ideology" by Karl Marx (LT)
Check Out:
(The School of Life - Karl Marx)

(Marx Reloaded, 2013)

Read for Class: "Rabelais in His World" by Mikhail Bakhtin (LT)
CRN 2 Due

Week Four:
Read for Class: Capitalist Realism by Mark Fisher

Read for Class: Capitalist Realism by Mark Fisher 
CRN 3 Due

Week Five:
Read for Class: "Hegemony" by Antonio Gramsci (LT) & "The Culture Industry as Mass Deception" by Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno (LT)

Read for Class: "On Truth and Lying in an Extra-moral Sense" by Friedrich Nietzsche (LT)
CRN 4 Due
Check Out:
(The School of Life - Friedrich Nietzsche)

Week Six:
Read for Class: "On Narcissism" by Sigmund Freud (LT)
Check Out:
(The School of Life - Sigmund Freud)

Read for Class: "The Uncanny" by Sigmund Freud (LT)
CRN 5 Due
Check Out:
(The School of Life - Sublimation)

Week Seven:
Read for Class: "The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of I" by Jacques Lacan (LT)

Read for Class: from Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. Read only Chapter One: Approaching Abjection
CRN 6 Due

Week Eight:
Read for Class: Jacques Derrida & Deconstruction*
Check Out:
(The School of Life - Jacques Derrida)

Read for Class: "What Is an Author?" by Michel Foucault (FR) & "The Archeology of Knowledge" by Michel Foucault (LT)
CRN 7 Due
Check Out:

(The School of Life - Michel Foucault)
Week Nine:
Read for Class: "Panopticism" & "The Repressive Hypothesis" by Michel Foucault (FR)

Read for Class:  A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
CRN 8 Due

Week Ten:
Read for Class:  A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf

Read for Class: The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
CRN 9 Due

Week Eleven:
Read for Class: TBA

Read for Class: "Performative Acts and Gender Constitution" by Judith Butler (LT)
CRN 10 Due
Check Out:
(Judith Butler "Your Behavior Creates Your Gender")

(Judith Butler "How Discourse Creates Homosexuality")

(Judith Butler "How Can We Put 'Gender Norms' 
into Social Policy and Practice")

("Is Gender Real?" - 8-bit Philosophy)

Week Twelve:
Read for Class: "The Social Construction of Race" by Ian Haney-Lopez (LT)
CRN 11 Due
Literary Analysis Topics Due

11/24: NO CLASS

Week Thirteen:
Read for Class: "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses" by Louis Althusser (LT)

Read for Class: "The Sublime Object of Ideology" (LT)
CRN 12 Due

Week Fourteen:
Watch for Class: "Dawn of the Hyperobjects" by Timothy Morton.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

12/8: Last Class :(