Faking It in America:
The Stories We Tell Ourselves
English 367.01 (07701): The American Experience
Autumn 1998, M/W: 3:30-5:18, University Hall 147
Though commencing from a tongue-in-cheek point of departure, this course will
explore a most serious issue: the nature of the self in a highly mediated and
mediating society, America. It seeks to answer the question at the back of all
of our minds, "What can I believe?" by analyzing various aspects of "rhetoric"
in American popular culture through the lens of texts that are weary of the
ideology that produces them. Don't worry, we'll investigate the credibility
of those visions as well, as this opens the door for our own writing. As we
analyze and evaluate texts that analyze and evaluate rhetorical practices in
our society, we'll engage in critical writing that takes an argumentative stand
in what it's analyzing (we'll create ourselves in our compositions). We'll write
response/report papers for selected readings. Groups of three or four or will
develop and demonstrate (both orally for the class, and as a group report of
four pages) a debate or, more loosely, a multi-perspective reading of an assigned
text or group of texts. The first paper, of four pages, will be a more developed
reading of a class text (an explanatory annotation); and the final, of eight
pages, will be research a class topic or text.
Anderson, Walter Truett: Reality Isn't What It
Used to Be (available at SBX and Main Library Reserves)
Huxley, Aldous: Brave New World Revisited (available at SBX and Main Library Reserves)
a course packet (available at Bricker Hall COP-EZ)
an active email account
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (available at Main Library or any bookstore)
recommended (extra credit)
Ballard, J. G.: Atrocity Exhibition (Main
Library, Charvat Collection)
Bordo, Susan: Wexner Lecture (5:30 P.M. on Thursday,
11-5 at Sullivant Hall)
Herzog, Arthur: The B.S. Factor (Main Library,
Assignments and Grade Distribution
3 response/report papers (250 words each at 5% each), 15%
You must sign up for 3 report papers which respond
to particular reading assignments. These semi-formal papers should 1) report
theses, issues, and, contexts of the work as well as define key terms, 2) respond
critically to the work, and 3) ask two questions or identify two issues for
class discussion. These papers must be submitted to the course list service
(firstname.lastname@example.org) by 7 P.M. two daysbefore the class in which they'll be discussed for
your peers and I need time to check our email. Monday's responses, then, are
due on the listserv no later than 7 P.M. Saturday; Wednesday's no later than
7 P.M. Monday. Please spread out time slots throughout the quarter by signing
up for no more than one slot every three weeks. Also, one paper should be done
in conjunction with the collaborative oral presentation; I've designated those
readings that qualify for group presentations on the sign-up sheet.
a collaborative oral presentation (15 minutes), 10%
Particular readings or groups of readings merit more
attention and debate than one or two individual responses can give. Consequently,
students will sign up to work in groups in order to demonstrate the multiple
perspectives, interpretations, and contexts of certain readings. Broadly speaking,
they will present a debate regarding the text(s) and its topics. As noted above,
this assignment is used in conjunction with one response/report paper. Thus,
either each group member can submit an individual response to the listserv two
days before class, or the entire group can submit a response 2 days before class.
(The paper length would increase accordinglyif 3 members, then 750 words; if
4 then 1000.)
a four-page paper (typed, double-spaced, 1000 words), 20%
This explanatory annotation paper should either 1)
explain an assigned reading's most significant passage, 2) compare/contrast
two assigned readings's most significant passages, or 3) explain the most significant
passage of a different text by the author of an assigned reading. More instructions
an annotated bibliography (10 sources, 50 words per annotation), 15%
As preparation for the final research paper, the
purpose of this assignment is to compile and possible sources for a research
topic or author. Annotations should 1) summarize theses or controlling ideas,
2) You may change research paper topics after completing the bibliography, though
you must still research the final paper. More instructions to come.
an eight-page final research paper
(typed, double-spaced, 2000 words),
The paper should either 1) extend a conversation
regarding an assigned reading by researching others' interpretations of the
work and/or comparing it with selections of the author's other work or 2) researching
a topic or issue of class conversation. I'll provide a list of possible topics
and authors by the third week of class. The paper must incorporate at least
4-5 sources. More instructions to come.
This grade is determined by both class participation
and the peer responses for first drafts of the explanatory annotation paper
and the research paper. Responses should be critical yet sensitive in their
evaluation of the form (style, voice, organization) and content (thesis, argument,
use of evidence) of their peers first drafts. Class participation is vital in
illuminating the multiple perspectives of the controversial issues and the divergent
interpretations of the assigned readings that we'll be discussing.
Drafting and Revision
First drafts of the explanatory annotation paper
and the research paper will undergo peer response from which you are encouraged
to revise a second draft which will be turned in for a grade. The explanatory
annotation paper, the annotated bibliography, and the group presenation paper
(but not individual responses) may be revised once after receiving a grade with
At least once this quarter, you must sign up for
an individual conference in order that we can talk about your work (I suggest
scheduling an appointment for no date later than Week 6). Though no more than
one individual conferences is required, I encourage you to see me during my
office hours (or by appointment) to talk about your progress in the course,
especially after turning in drafts.
Don't do it. Using someone else's words, ideas, or
work without proper citation and representing it as your own is the most serious
of academic offenses. All cases of suspected plagiarism will be reported to
the Committee on Academic Misconduct.
Unexcused absences will not be tolerated. Family
emergences, illness/injury with doctor's note, jury duty, athletic or other
collegiate competition, religious holidays, and so forth constitute excused
absences (Bring these notes within one (1) week of your return to class or I
will not except them). Two-thirds () of a letter grade will be deducted from
your final grade for every unexcused absence beyond two (2) (An "A"will become
a "B+"). Finally, five (5) unexcused absences will result in your failure of
the course. I do not tolerate tardiness either. Two (2) unexcused tardies equals
one (1) unexcused absence (Note, therefore, that tardies will affect your grade;
and ten (10) tardies (or any combination of unexcused tardies and unexcused
absences) will result in your failure of the course. If you know in advance
that you have to miss or arrive late to a class, please notify me beforehand
in order that we can make arrangements regarding missed work.
On the Monday after finals week, I will make available
any work not yet returned to you. Contact me to make an appointment to pick
up your work. Otherwise, I will keep your work for two quarters, during which
time you can pick it up. If you do not retrieve it, I will discard it.
The staff of the Writing Center serve as readers
and responders to writing for English 110 and other university disciplines.
Besides giving feedback, these English graduate students can help with other
writing issues such as topic development, organization, coherence, clarity,
and self-editing. To make an appointment, call 292-5607 or stop by 338 Denney
Hall M/W 8:30-5:30, T/R 8:30-7:30, and F 8:30-1:30.
The Ombud is a resource for students and teachers
of English 110 and 367. If you have any concerns about the course but feel you
cannot speak with me, please feel free to consult with the Ombud. All conversations
|Ombud: Wade Kreuger
||Office Phone: 292-5778
|Office: Denney Hall 363
|Office Hours: MTWR 1:30-3:30
Office of Disability Services
If you have any specific needs or concerns, please
feel free to discuss the issue with me during office hours. Students with disabilities
who need accommodations should be registered at the Office for Disability Services
This schedule is subject to change, so listen in class and check online for possible revisions.
H stands for Handout; P stands for Course Packet (ordered alphabetically by author's name).
Atwood: "Fiction: Happy Endings" (H 275-9)
Plato: "The Allegory of the Cave" (H 186-91)
Doctorow: "Ultimate Discourse" (H 472-5)
Lunsford: "On Reading . . . Critically" (H 1-8)
Anderson: Reality, Preface and "The Collapse of Belief" (ix-xii,
Lunsford: "From Reading to Writing" (9-34)
Anderson: Reality, "Postmodern Visions" (55-102)
Ramage: "Reading . . . Essays." (H 639-45)
Paper 1 Prompt: Explanatory or Comparison Paper
Bacon: "Idols of the Mind" (P 518-29)
Thomas: "Humanities and Science" (P 775-82)
Harding: "What is Feminist Science" (H TBA)
Barnet: "Critical Thinking Writing" (H 57, 73-86)
Group Presentation #1: The Objectivity of Science
Anderson: Reality, "The Theatre of Reality" (105-83)
Due: Paper 1, Draft 1
Sontag: "Notes on Camp" (P 105-19)
Group Presentation #2: Sontag and Camp Culture
Due: Peer Response of Paper 1, Draft 1
Anderson: Reality, "Faith and Freedom" (187-227)
Thoreau: "Why I Went to the Woods" (P 897-902)
Moore, Marianne: "Poetry" (P 509-10)
Rich: "When We Dead Awaken," et al (P 5-6, 22-4, 40-1, 42)
Group Presentation #3: Rich: Poetry that Crosses Boundaries
Research Paper Prompt: Author, Book, or Topic
Due: Paper 1, Draft 2
Anderson: Reality, Part Five (231-69)
Baudrillard: "Simulacra and Simulations" (P 166-84)
Bell: "Book of the Dead Man #56" (P 46-8)
Ferlinghetti [History is made], et al (P 11-2, 300-4, 9-14, 15-7)
Barnet: "Critical Writing: Using Sources" (H 156-173)
Annotated Bibliography Prompt: Finding Sources
Guest Speaker on Library Research: Fred Roecker
Lapham: "Democracy in America" (P 701-13)
Moore, Michael: "Don't VoteIt Only Encourages Them," et al (P 22-5, 43-56, 183-9, 221-9)
Group Presentation #4: American Politics: Apathy or Ideology?
Annotated Bibliography: Evaluating Sources
Ballard: "The Secret History of World War 3" (P 119-127)
(Extra Credit Response: Atrocity Exhibition)
Hammill: "Crack and the Box" (P 373-377)
James: "Pop Culture: Extremes but Little Reality" (H 572-5)
Rapping: "Local News: Reality as Soap Opera" (P 616-33)
Group Presentation #5: Mass Media and Culture/Society
Bordo: "Our Bodies, Ourselves" (5:30 P.M. at Sullivant Hall Auditorium; Extra Credit Response)
meet at Lord Hall Room 19
The X-Files: "Jose Chung's From Outer Space"
Graham: "Conspiracy Theory and The X-Files" (P 52-62)
Kubek: "The Imaginary, Voyeurism, and The Symbolic Order" (P 168-204)
Group Presentation #6: The X-Files and Social Order
||No Class: Veterans' Day
Huxley: Brave New World Revisited, Ch1-6 (3-57)
Due: Annotated Bibliography
Huxley: Brave New World Revisited, Ch6-12 (58-118)
meet at Lord Hall Room 19
film: Wag the Dog
make up class: 6:00-7:00 P.M.
||No Class: Thanksgiving (make up class Monday, 11-23)
Herzog: "The Death of Lies," et al (H 13-28, 183-218)
(Extra Credit Response: The B.S. Factor)
Due: Research Paper, Draft 1
Discuss: Peer Response of Research Paper, Draft 1
Due: Research Paper, Draft 1 Peer Responses
||Due: Research Paper, Draft 2
I. Course Packet
- Bacon, Francis. "Idols of the Mind." The New Organum. 1620. Rpt.
in The Conscious Reader. 7th Ed. Eds. Caroline Shrodes, et al. Boston:
Allyn, 1998. 518-29.
- Ballard, J. G. "The Secret History of World War 3." The Atrocity Exhibition.
San Francisco: V/Search, 1990. 119-127.
- Baudrillard, Jean. from "Simulacra and Simulations." Selected Writings.
Ed. Mark Poster. Cambridge: Polity, 1988. 166-84.
- Bell, Marvin. "Book of the Dead Man #56." Ardor. Port Townsend, WA:
Copper Canyon, 1997. 46-8.
- Ferlinghetti, Lawrence. ['History is made]. A Far Rockaway of the Heart.
New York: New Directions, 1997. 11-2.
- ——-. "The History of the World: A T.V. Docudrama." European Poems and
Transitions. New York: New Directions, 1984. Rpt. in These Are My Rivers:
New & Selected Poems, 1955-1993. New York: New Directions, 1993. 300-4.
- ——-. "Matisse at the Modern, Magritte at the Met." "The Triumph of the
Postmodern." These Are My Rivers: New & Selected Poems, 1955-1993.
New York: New Directions, 1993. 9-14, 15-7.
- Graham, Allison: "Conspiracy Theory and The X-Files." Eds. David
Lavery, et al. "Deny All Knowledge": Reading The X-Files. Syracuse:
Syrcacuse UP, 1996. 52-62.
- Hammill, Pete. "Crack and the Box." Esquire May 1990. Rpt. in The
Conscious Reader. 7th Ed. Eds. Caroline Shrodes, et al. Boston: Allyn,
- Kubek, Elizabeth: "The Imaginary, Voyeurism, and The Symbolic Order in The
X-Files." Eds. David Lavery, et al. "Deny All Knowledge": Reading The
X-Files. Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1996. 168-204.
- Lapham, Lewis H. "Democracy in America." Harper's. Nov. 1990. Rpt
in Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing.
2nd Ed. Eds. Gary Colombo, et al. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 1992. 701-13.
- Moore, Marianne. "Poetry." The Collected Poems of Mariann Moore. New York: Simon & Schuster. 1935, 1972. Rpt. in The Conscious Reader.
7th Ed. Eds. Caroline Shrodes, et al. Boston: Allyn, 1998. 509-10.
- Moore, Michael. "Don't Vote: It Only Encourages Them," "Big Welfare Mamas,"
"What America Needs is a Makeover." "Skip the Candidates: Vote for the Lobbyists!" Downsize This! Random Threats from an Unarmed American. New York: Crown/Random,
1996. 22-5, 43-56, 183-9, 221-9.
- Rapping, Elayne. "Local News: Reality as Soap Opera." Looking Glass
World of Nonfiction TV. Boston: South End, 1987. Rpt. in Rereading America:
Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing. 2nd Ed. Eds. Gary
Colombo, et al. Boston: Bedford-St. Martin's, 1992. 616-33.
- Rich, Adrienne. "When We Dead Awaken," "Diving into the Wreck," "Translations,"
"Living in the Cave." Diving into the Wreck. New York: Norton, 1973.
5-6, 22-4, 40-1, 42.
- Sontag, Susan. "Notes on Camp." Against Interpretation. New York:
Farrar, 1966. Rpt. in A Susan Sontag Reader. New York: Farrar, 1982.
- Thomas, Lewis. "Humanities and Science." Late Night Thoughts on Listening
to Mahler's Ninth. 1981. New York: Viking/Penguin, 1981. Rpt. in The
Conscious Reader. 7th Ed. Eds. Caroline Shrodes, et al. Boston: Allyn,
- Thoreau, Henry David. "Why I Went to the Woods." Walden, or Life in the
Woods. 1854. Rpt. in The Conscious Reader. 7th Ed. Eds. Caroline
Shrodes, et al. Boston: Allyn, 1998. 897-902.
- Atwood, Margaret. "Fiction: Happy Endings." Good Bones and Symple Murders.
New York: Bantam/Doubleday, 1983, 1994. Rpt. in The Conscious Reader.
7th Ed. Eds. Caroline Shrodes, et al. Boston: Allyn, 1998. 275-9.
- Barnet, Sylvan and Hugo Bedau, eds. "Critical Writing," "Critical Writing:
Using Sources." Current Issues and Enduring Questions: A Guide to Critical
Thinking and Argument, with Readings. 4th Ed. Boston: Bedford, 1996. 57,
- Doctorow, E. L. "Ultimate Discourse." Esquire Aug. 1986. Rpt. in The Conscious Reader. 7th Ed. Ed. Caroline Shrodes et al. Boston:
Allyn, 1998. 472-5.
- Harding, Sandra. "What is Feminist Science?" Whose Science? Whose Knowledge?:
Thinking from Women's Lives. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1991. TBA
- Herzog, Arthur. "The Death of Lies," "The Dangers of Dogmatism," "Behind
the Faking," Skeptics of the World, Unite!" The B.S. Factor: The Theory
and Technique of Faking It in America. Baltimore: Penguin, 1973. 13-28,
- James, Caryn. "Pop Culture: Extremes but Little Reality." New York Times 3 March 1996. Rpt. in The Presence of Others: Voices that Call for Response. 2nd Ed. Eds. Andrea A. Lunsford and John J. Ruszkiewicz. New York: St. Martin's,
- Lunsford, Andrea A. and John J. Ruszkiewicz, eds. "From Reading to Writing." The Presence of Others: Voices that Call for Response. 2nd Ed. New
York: St. Martin's, 1997. 9-34.
- ——-."On Reading and Thinking Critically." The Presence of Others: Voices
that Call for Response. 2nd Ed. New York: St. Martin's, 1997. 1-8.
- Plato. "The Allegory of the Cave." Republic. c. 380 B.C. Trans. G.
M. A. Grube. Rev. by C. D. C. Reeve. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 1992. 186-191.
- Ramage, John D. and John C. Bean. Appendix A: Reading (and Writing about)
Essays. Writing Arguments: A Rhetoric with Readings. Brief 4th Ed.
Boston: Allyn, 1998. 639-45.