English 4440/5440: Modern Drama, Fall 2011

Section 01 (CRN 80583/20584): MW 3:30-4:45PM, Arts & Sciences 353


Professor: Dr. Alex E. Blazer



Phone: 478.445.0964

Office: Arts & Sciences 330

Office Hours: MW 1:00-1:50

MW 4:55-5:25PM



Course Description


The undergraduate course catalog describes English 4440/5440 as "A study of selected modern plays in English." In this course, we will study not only modern but also contemporary plays. Undergraduate assignments include a scene analysis, a film adaptation analysis, a research paper, and two exams. Graduate assignments include a presentation, an exam, a comparative paper, and a research paper.


This course's Academic Assessment page describes our topics:

as well as course outcomes:

Note that this course is cross-listed as THEA 4440; this course's prerequisite is ENGL 2110 or IDST 2305.


Course Materials


required (GCSU Bookstore or

Gainor, ed. et al., The Norton Anthology of Drama, Vol. 2

Kushner, Angels in American, Part 2: Perestroika


Gibaldi, MLA Handbook, 7th ed.

required (online)

supplemental articles


Assignments and Grade Distribution


4440 Undergraduate Students


scene analysis, 15%

In this 4-6 page paper, you will perform a close reading of a scene of any play we've read.

in-class midterm exam, 20%

In the first exam, you will perform both thematic readings of individual plays as well as comparisons among modern plays.

film adaptation, 15%

In this 4-6 page paper, you will analyze the film adaptation of a play.

research paper, 25%

You will write a 7-9 page research paper on a contemporary play read in class (but not one written on previously) or another play by one of the playwrights studied in class.

take-home final exam, 25%

In the second exam, you will perform both thematic readings of individual plays as well as comparisions among contemporary plays.


5440 Graduate Students


presentation, 10%

You will select, research, and teach an article on contemporary drama as well as lead class discussion of its application to a particular play.

comparison/contrast, 25%

In this 8-10 page paper, you will read two other plays by a playwright we've read in class and then compare and contrast a recurrent issue or theme in order to determine the author's world view.

take-home midterm exam, 30%

You will perform both close readings of individual plays and comparisons between modern plays in the take-home midterm exam.

research paper, 35%

You will write a 12-15 page research paper entering, engaging, and advancing the scholarly discourse of a modern or contemporary play either discussed in class or selected by you and approved by the professor. Your essay should be worthy of being presented at a conference, integrate at least seven secondary sources, and apply at least two theoretical articles.


Course Policies


Class Preparation and Participation

I expect you to come to class having read, annotated, and reviewed the assigned reading. Moreover, you should prepare at least two comments and two questions for each reading. We're going to be working with challenging texts; therefore, we'll all benefit from sharing our ideas and questions. If I feel that you're not participating because you're not keeping up with the reading, I will give quizzes.

Office Hours and Email

I encourage you to stop by my office hours to discuss any aspect of the course. I'm happy to answer minor questions such as due dates over email, but I prefer face-to-face conversations for more substantive topics like papers and exams. Please use etiquette in both email and in person.


We will be using GeorgiaVIEW and TurnItIn for assignments. Check your university email for course-related messages. Use an online backup or cloud storage service such as Dropbox to save your work.


Any student who misses seven or more classes for any reason (excused or unexcused) will automatically failure of the course. There will be a one letter final grade deduction for every unexcused absence beyond three. I suggest you use your three days both cautiously and wisely; and make sure you sign the attendance sheets. Habitual tardies, consistently leaving class early, texting, and surfing the internet will be treated as absences. Unexcused absences include work, family obligations, and scheduled doctor's appointments. Excused absences include a death in one's immediate family, one's own medical emergency, religious observance, and participation in a college-sponsored activity. If you have a medical condition or an extracurricular activity that you anticipate will cause you to miss more than four days of class, I suggest you drop this section or risk failure. You can check your attendance online. A note about religious observances: Students are permitted to miss class in observance of religious holidays and other activities observed by a religious group of which the student is a member without academic penalty. Exercising of one's rights under this policy is subject to the GC Honor Code. Students who miss class in observance of a religious holiday or event are required to make up the coursework missed as a result from the absence. The nature of the make-up assignments and the deadline for completion of such assignments are at the sole discretion of the instructor. Failure to follow the prescribed procedures voids all student rights under this policy. The full policy and prescribed procedures can be found here.

MLA Style and Length Requirements

While in-class exams, discussion board responses, informal/journal writing, and peer review may be informally formatted, formal assignments and take-home exams must adhere to the Modern Language Association (MLA) style. One-third of a letter grade will be deducted from a formal paper or take-home exam for problems in each of the following three categories, for a possible one letter grade deduction total: 1) header, heading, and title, 2) margins, font, and line-spacing, and 3) quotation and citation format. A formal paper or take-home exam will be penalized one-third of a letter grade if it does not end at least halfway down on the minimum page length while implementing 12 pt Times New Roman font, double-spacing, and 1" margins. Each additional page short of the minimum requirement will result in an a one-third letter grade penalty. Before you turn in a formal paper, make sure your work follows MLA style by using the checklist on the MLA style handout. I encourage students to use my MS Word template.

Late Assignments

There will be a one letter assignment grade deduction per day (not class period) for any assignment that is turned in late. I give short extensions if you request one for a valid need at least one day before the assignment is due. I will inform you via email if I cannot open an electronically submitted assignment; however, your assignment will be considered late until you submit it in a file I can open. Failing to submit an assignment that is worth 15% or more of the course grade within a five days of its due date will result in automatic failure of the course. Failing to submit a final exam or final paper within two days of its due date will result in automatic failure of the course.

Academic Honesty

The integrity of students and their written and oral work is a critical component of the academic process. The Honor Code defines plagiarism as "presenting as one's own work the words or ideas of an author or fellow student. Students should document quotes through quotation marks and footnotes or other accepted citation methods. Ignorance of these rules concerning plagiarism is not an excuse. When in doubt, students should seek clarification from the professor who made the assignment." The submission of another's work as one's own is plagiarism and will be dealt with using the procedures outlined in the Undergraduate Catalog. Allowing another student to copy one’s own work is considered cheating. As plagiarism is not tolerated at GCSU, any student found guilty of willful plagiarism or dishonesty will fail the assignment and the course. This course uses plagiarism prevention technology, The papers may be retained by the service for the sole purpose of checking for plagiarized content in future student submissions.

Passing or Failing of the Course

There are three ways to fail the course: 1) failing to regularly attend class, 2) plagiarizing, 3) failing an assignment that is worth 15% or more of the course grade, be it from poor quality, lateness of submission, or a combination of poor quality and lateness. By contrast, students who regularly attend class, complete their work with academic integrity, and submit assignments on time will pass the course.

Assistance for Student Needs Related to Disability

If you have a disability as described by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, you may be eligible to receive accommodations to assist in programmatic and physical accessibility.  Disability Services, a unit of the GCSU Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, can assist you in formulating a reasonable accommodation plan and in providing support in developing appropriate accommodations to ensure equal access to all GCSU programs and facilities. Course requirements will not be waived, but accommodations may assist you in meeting the requirements.  For documentation requirements and for additional information, we recommend that you contact Disability Services located in Maxwell Student Union at 478-445-5931 or 478-445-4233.

The Writing Center

The Writing Center is a free service available to all members of the university community. Consultants assist writers in the writing process, from conception and organization of compositions to revision to documentation of research. Located in Lanier Hall 209, the Center is open Monday through Friday. Call 445-3370 or email for more information.

Fire Drills

Fire drills will be conducted annually. In the event of a fire alarm, students will exit the building in a quick and orderly manner through the nearest hallway exit. Learn the floor plan and exits of the building. Do not use elevators. If you encounter heavy smoke, crawl on the floor so as to gain fresh air. Assist disabled persons and others if possible without endangering your own life. Assemble for a head count on the front lawn of main campus or other designated assembly area. For more information on other emergencies, click here.

Student Opinion Surveys

Given the technological sophistication of Georgia College students, the student opinion survey is being delivered through an online process. Your constructive feedback plays an indispensable role in shaping quality education at Georgia College. All responses are completely confidential and your name is not stored with your responses in any way. In addition, instructors will not see any results of the opinion survey until after final grades are submitted to the University. An invitation to complete the online opinion survey is distributed to students near the end of the semester. Your participation in this very important process is greatly appreciated.


Course Schedule


This schedule is subject to change, so check back in class and online for possible revisions.


Week 1
M, 8-15


W, 8-17

Strindberg, Miss Julie (1888, 153-94)

Innes, "Modernism in Drama" (online)

Week 2
M, 8-22

Watt, "Modern American Drama" (online)

Miss Julie (Figgis, 1999) | 2 | 3

W, 8-24

Pirandello, Six Characters in Search of an Author (1921, 487-530)

In Class Activity: From Character and Setting to Representation and Reality

Week 3
M, 8-29

Six Characters in Search of an Author (Keach, 1976) | 2 | 3 | 4

Film Analysis

W, 8-31

Brecht, The Good Person of Szechwan (1938-40, 579-652)

Week 4
M, 9-5

No Class: Labor Day

W, 9-7

Brecht, concluded

Brecht, "The Modern Theatre Is the Epic Theatre" (online)

Horkheimer and Adorno, "The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception" (online)

Week 5
M, 9-12

Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire (1947, 681-752)

In Class Activity: From Character and Setting to Theory and Theme

W, 9-14

A Streetcar Named Desire (Kazan, 1951) | 2 | 3 | 4

Roderick, "From 'The Tarantula Arms' to 'Della Robia Blue': The Tennessee Williams Tragicomic Transit Authority"

Week 6

M, 9-19

O'Neill, Long Day's Journey into Night (1957, 927-1012)

In Class Activity: Diagraming Dysfunction

Undergraduate: Scene Analysis Paper Due

W, 9-21

Long Day's Journey into Night (Lumet, 1962) | 2 | 3

Week 7
M, 9-26

Beckett, Waiting for Godot (1954, 843-906)

W, 9-28

Waiting for Godot (Lindsay-Hogg, 2001) | 2 | 3

Week 8
M, 10-3

Undergraduate: In-Class Midterm Exam

Graduate: Take-Home Midterm Exam Assigned

W, 10-5

Schmidt, "The Postmodern Condition of Drama" (online)

Pinter, Old Times (1970, 1013-1042)

In Class Activity: From Modern to Postmodern Drama

Week 9
M, 10-10

No Class: Fall Break

W, 10-12

Pinter, concluded

Graduate: Take-Home Midterm Exam Due

Week 10
M, 10-17

Shepard, Buried Child (1978, 1097-1150)

In Class Activity: Contemporary Realism

W, 10-19

Shepard, concluded

Week 11
M, 10-24

Mamet, Glengarry Glen Ross (1983, 1253-92)

In Class Activity: Influences and Ideas

W, 10-26

Glengarry Glen Ross (Foley, 1992) | 2 | 3

Greenbaum, "Brass Balls: Masculine Communication and the Discourse of Capitalism in David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross"

Week 12
M, 10-31

Hwang, M. Butterfly (1988, 1407-58)

W, 11-2

M. Butterfly (Cronenberg, 1993) | 2 | 3

Shin, "Projected bodies in David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly and Golden Gate"

Week 13
M, 11-7

Kushner, Angels in America, Part I: Millennium Approaches (1991, 1459-1528)

Undergraduate: Film Adaptation Paper Due

Graduate: Comparison/Contrast Paper Due

W, 11-9

Kushner, Angels in America, Part II: Perestroika (1991)

Week 14
M, 11-14

Angels in America (Nichols, 2003) | 2 | 3 | 4

In Class Activity: A Gay Fantasia of Critical Theories

W, 11-16

Parks, The America Play (1994, 1529-62)

Week 15
M, 11-21

Albee, The Goat (2002, 1563-1604)

Recommended: The Diane Rehm Show (2011)

Undergraduate: Research Paper Due

W, 11-23

No Class: Thanksgiving Holidays

Week 16
M, 11-28

Albee, concluded

Churchill, A Number (2002, 1605-28)

W, 11-30

Churchill, concluded

R, 12-8

Undergraduate: Final Exam Due by 3:30PM

Graduate: Research Paper Due by 3:30PM