|FSP 101 H2
Term: Fall 2006
Time: 2:00-3:20 p.m.
Place: SB 232
Prof. G. Steinberg
Office: Bliss 216
Office Phone: 771-2106
Email: available through SOCS
COURSE DESCRIPTION. In this seminar, we focus on the act of reading. What happens when we read? How do we make sense of what we read? Is reading a literary text different from reading other things? Why do we sometimes misunderstand what we read? What do we need to know in order to understand what we read? In exploring these questions, we read recent theories about reading and comprehension from the disciplines of literary studies, education, psychology, and linguistics. As a test case, we read Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, all the while monitoring and analyzing our preconceptions, responses, questions, misunderstandings, and evolving interpretations. Students also study the ancient Greek language in Greek 101 concurrently with this class. THIS SEMINAR IS PAIRED WITH GREEK 101. ALL STUDENTS WHO ENROLL IN THIS SEMINAR ARE REQUIRED TO TAKE GREEK 101 IN THE SAME SEMESTER AS THE SEMINAR.
GOALS. By the end of the course, I want you
REQUIREMENTS. For this course, you must complete the following graded assignments:
ATTENDANCE. Regular attendance is a virtual necessity for successful completion of the graded assignments in this class. Class exercises and discussion constitute important, useful preparation for the course’s papers and presentations. If you miss a class, you will essentially lose out on that day’s contribution to your preparation, since it is never really possible to reproduce or recapture the dynamics and flow of information for a missed class meeting (even if you get notes from someone). If, however, you positively must miss a class, I expect you to find out what you missed and to come fully prepared – without excuses – to the next class meeting. And please, don’t ask, “Did I miss anything?” Check out Tom Wayman’s poem about that question.
OFFICE HOURS. My office is Bliss 216, and my office hours are 1:30-2 p.m., 3:30-4 p.m., and 5:30-6 p.m. on MR. If you cannot see me during these office hours, feel free as needed to call my office (771-2106) or to talk to me before or after class to arrange an appointment at another time. You may also contact me by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or you may leave a message for me in my box at the English department offices in Bliss 124. Email is generally the fastest way to contact me in an emergency.
EMAIL. I may, on occasion, want to email everyone in class. I generally only have access to your TCNJ email addresses, however. As a result, if you regularly use an email address other than your TCNJ address, I recommend that you have mail from your TCNJ address forwarded to the address that you use more regularly. That way, if I email your TCNJ address, my message will be forwarded to your other address automatically. To forward mail from your TCNJ address, just go to http://managemail.tcnj.edu/ and click “Mail Forwarding Manager.” Follow the directions there to set up the mail forwarding.
If you would like to send an email message to one or more of your classmates, you can do so through SOCS. To access SOCS, go to http://socs.tcnj.edu and, after you have logged in with your TCNJ email username and password, choose this class from the list of your courses for this semester. Then, when our course page comes up, click the “Email” button. From there, you can select individual email addresses or the entire class and send a message to the addresses you’ve selected.
Accommodations. The College of New Jersey prohibits discrimination against any student on the basis of physical or mental disability or perceived disability. The College will also provide reasonable and appropriate accommodations to enable students with disabilities to participate in the life of the campus community. Individuals with disabilities are responsible for reporting and supplying documentation verifying their disability, and requests for accommodations must be initiated through the Office of Differing Abilities Services (Eickhoff Hall 159). If you require special assistance, I will make every reasonable effort to accommodate your needs and to create an environment where your special abilities will be respected.
RESPONSE PAPERS. In the course of the term, you are required to write 10 short, informal papers (about 2 pages each) on the readings for class from Homer. You may choose for which days you want to write a response paper, as long as you have completed 10 response papers by the end of the term. For each response paper, choose one of the following topics and analyze the reading assignment from Homer for the day with respect to the topic you’ve chosen:
You should have written at least once on each one of these topics over the course of your 10 response papers for the term. No response papers may be submitted before we begin reading Homer (i.e., before September 18).
Response papers will be graded Pass/Fail. Think about one of the topics above; then, write a response. Don’t worry about answering every question I ask under the particular topic. In fact, focus on the one question that seems most interesting to you, and be as specific as you can, getting down as much as you can, as quickly as you can. I don’t want a five-paragraph theme; I want an exploration – as detailed and specific as possible – of the reading assignment for the day.
Normally, as long as you submit a response paper of suitable length, detail, and thoughtfulness (and as long as you submit it in hard copy in class on the assigned day), you will receive all the points that the response paper is worth. The purpose of the response papers is
- to help you in your preparation for class discussion,
- to help me see where you’re struggling with the readings for class,
- to help you develop your intellectual independence and your confidence as a reader, and
- to practice the kind of analysis that you will do for PAPER 1 and PAPER 2).
You may submit more than 10 response papers in the course of the semester (to make up for any response papers that do not receive a grade of Pass), but no matter how many extra response papers you turn in, you will not receive credit for more than 10 total. You may not submit more than one response paper on a single day, nor may you submit a response paper for a day that you are absent from class.
PAPER 1. Choose an episode or scene that we have not discussed in class but that seems very important to you in terms of developing a theme, character, or idea in the Iliad. Compose a paper of 5-7 pages in which you argue a clear and specific thesis about the scene and its significance in the poem. As you think about what to write, I strongly recommend that you use your response papers as a starting place. Once you’ve chosen a focus for your paper, look very carefully at your scene. Look for details that reveal or illustrate the significance of the scene in terms of your chosen focus. Use those details as evidence and illustration in your paper. You need not use outside sources for this paper (other than Homer); in fact, I would encourage you not to use outside sources (because I'd rather hear what you think than what some published scholar thinks).
A week before the paper is due, you will submit a thesis paragraph (a draft first paragraph of your paper or just a paragraph that describes what you plan to write about) in the “Assessments” module of SOCS, and I will give you feedback on your proposed thesis before you submit your final paper.
Your paper will be graded based on the following criteria:
RESEARCH REPORT. About the middle of the semester, you will be required to choose a research topic, approved by me, and to find out as much information as you can about that topic for class. You will share your findings in a 20-minute presentation in class, and you will submit a written report of your research (5-7 pages) to me one week after your in-class presentation. This assignment is meant to be intense but short (carried out over just a 2-week period). There is no specified number of sources required, but a research report that uses only one source (or that relies inordinately on just one source while using others very superficially) will not be a very successful report. After you submit your written report, I will ask you to give me a xerox copy of one of your sources, chosen at random (so that I can evaluate how well you have understood and used the source). Your research report will be graded based on the following criteria:
Does the report use a variety of sources (rather than rely heavily on a single source)? Does the report rely primarily on books and scholarly articles (rather than on the Internet or on popular sources of information)? Does the report synthesize the information from its sources (or does it merely list all information from one source and then all from the next source and then all from the next and so on)?
Does the report use its sources critically? Does the report evaluate the authority and reliability of its sources? What does the report do if sources contain contradictory information?
Does the report engender confidence that the information in the report is authoritative and complete? Is factual information in the report accurate? Does the report summarize information from its sources accurately and fairly?
Does the report progress logically? Does the report have a clear and consistent overall organization that relates all the ideas of the report together in a meaningful way (rather than simply provide a list random observations without relation to one another)? Does the report have appropriate transitions to aid the reader in following the report’s logic (rather than weak transitions, such as "The first source...," "Another source...," and "...also...")?
PAPER 2. As in PAPER 1, choose an episode or scene that we have not discussed in class but that seems very important to you in terms of developing a theme, character, or idea in the Odyssey. Compose a paper of 6-8 pages in which you argue a clear and specific thesis about your chosen scene and its significance in the poem. You need not use outside sources for this paper (other than Homer); in fact, I would encourage you not to use outside sources (because I'd rather hear what you think than what some published scholar thinks). As with PAPER 1, I strongly recommend that you use your response papers as a starting place. PAPER 2 will be graded based on the same criteria as PAPER 1. About a week before the paper is due, you will submit a thesis paragraph (a draft first paragraph of your paper or just a paragraph that describes what you plan to write about) in the “Assessments” module of SOCS, and I will give you feedback on your proposed thesis before you submit your final paper.
COURSE SCHEDULE. This schedule is subject to revision at the discretion of the professor. Changes in the schedule will be shown in red.
|R Aug 31||Introductions|
|M Sep 4||NO CLASS (Labor Day) – class will be held on Tuesday instead|
|T Sep 5||Wolfgang Iser and Richard C. Anderson (in SOCS under “Resources”)|
|R Sep 7||Michael Riffaterre (in SOCS under “Resources”)|
|M Sep 11||Peter Rabinowitz (in SOCS under “Resources”)|
|R Sep 14||Judith Fetterley (in SOCS under “Resources”)|
|M Sep 18||Homer, Iliad, Books 1-3|
|R Sep 21||Homer, Iliad, Books 4-6|
|M Sep 25||Homer, Iliad, Books 7-9|
|R Sep 28||Homer, Iliad, Books 10-12|
|M Oct 2||Homer, Iliad, Books 13-15|
|R Oct 5||Homer, Iliad, Books 16-18|
|M Oct 9||Homer, Iliad, Books 19-21|
|R Oct 12||Homer, Iliad, Books 22-24; THESIS PARAGRAPH for PAPER 1 DUE in the “Assessments” module of SOCS|
|M Oct 16||Bring whatever you have done on your paper so far to class.|
|R Oct 19||PAPER 1 DUE in the “Dropbox” of SOCS|
|M Oct 23||NO CLASS (Mid-term Break)|
|R Oct 26||Think about a potential research question to explore in your RESEARCH REPORT. What do you wish you knew more about for your reading of Homer? Think about how you would go about researching that topic. You will sign up in class for your RESEARCH REPORT presentation.|
|M Oct 30|
|R Nov 2|
|M Nov 6||RESEARCH REPORT PRESENTATIONS|
|R Nov 9||RESEARCH REPORT PRESENTATIONS;
|M Nov 13||Homer, Odyssey, Books 1-3
|R Nov 16||Homer, Odyssey, Books 4-6
|M Nov 20||Homer, Odyssey, Books 7-9
|R Nov 23||NO CLASS (Thanksgiving)|
|M Nov 27||Homer, Odyssey, Books 10-12
|R Nov 30||Homer, Odyssey, Books 13-16
|M Dec 4||Homer, Odyssey, Books 17-20
|R Dec 7||Homer, Odyssey, Books 21-24
|Finals Week||PAPER 2 DUE in the “Dropbox” of SOCS|