The Stories We Tell Ourselves
English 367.01 (07700-6): The American Experience
Spring 1999, T/R: 7:30-9:18 A.M., University Hall 86
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 two-fold
question at the back of all of our minds, "What can I believe?" and "How are
individuals (how am I) determined by society?" by analyzing various disciplines
in American culturelaw, science, religion, politics, and especially the mediathrough
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
by composing papers that assimilate and master the other's discourse). 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 in a group paper)
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); the second, an annotated bibliography
of ten relevant, scholarly sources should prepare for the final paper, of eight
pages, that will research a class topic or text.
Anderson, Walter Truett: Reality Isn't What It Used to Be (available
Huxley, Aldous: Brave New World Revisited (available at SBX)
a course packet (available at Bricker Hall COP-EZ)
an active email account (you'll be subscribed to the course listserv)
Assignments and Grade Distribution
3 response papers (250 words each at 5% each), 15%
You must sign up to write 3 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. Because your peers and I need time to check
our email, papers on Tuesday's reading assignments must be submitted to the
course listserv (firstname.lastname@example.org) by noon Monday, those for Thursday's by noon Wednesday.
a collaborative oral presentation (15 minutes), 10%
Particular 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 present to the class the multiple
perspectives, interpretations, contexts, and correlations of thosereadings.
Also, groups are responsible for compiling and distributing a bibliography of
related and somewhat relevant primary and/or secondary sources (15-20) that
inform the group's assigned readings. As noted above, this assignment is used
in conjunction with one responsepaper; however, the paper will be graded individually
while thepresentation collectively. Either each group member can submit an individual
response to the listserv by the Monday or Wednesday before the presentation,
or the entire group cansubmit a response. (The length would increase accordingly
if three members, then 750 words; if four then 1000.) Groupsmust work
together in interpreting and determining connections and differences among
the texts. Individual responses must not only reference but engage the
other texts in the group.
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 to come.
a preliminary bibliography (20 sources), ungraded
Due before the annotated bibliography, the purpose
of this assignment is for you to determine if you have a researchable topic.
If your search strategy does not locate approximately 20 sources, your
topic needs to be rethought and you should confer with me.
an annotated bibliography (10 sources, 50 words per annotation), 10%
As preparation for the final research paper, the
purpose of this assignment is to compile and evaluate sources for a research
topic or author. Annotations should summarize theses or controlling ideas and
discuss the validity of the text's argument. 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 initiated in class conversation. I'll provide a list
of possible topics and authors by the third week of class. The paper must incorporate
and quote at least 4-5 sources. More instructions to come.
peer response and class participation quizzes, 15%
This grade is determined by both class participation
and the peer responses for first drafts of the explanatory annotation paper
and the research paper. Peer responses, of approximately150 words, should be
critical yet sensitive in their evaluation of the form (thesis, support, 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. In order to participate in
class, you must have read the assignments. To get the conversation started,
approximately every other class we'll have a brief quiz and two or three students
will be selected at random to read their quiz,to which the class is expected
Composing a 250-word listserv response for an additional
reading will elevate your listserv response paper grades, depending on the quality
of the response.
The Course Listservice
The listservice serves two functionsfirst, to share
writing and ideas that provoke in-class discussion and second, to make course
announcements and reminders. I encourage all to read hese informative messages,
not to mention share your perspective with the rest of the class; but, obviously,
anything above and beyond the three pre-assigned responses is not required.
There will be a one letter grade deduction per day
for any and all assignments that are turned in late. An extension may be given if absolutely necessary and warranted.
Drafting and Revision
First drafts of the explanatory annotation paper
and the research paper will undergo peer responseand my response if you so desirefrom
which you can revise a second draft which will be turned in for a grade. Though
I will not grade first drafts, I do require (and check) that they meet at least
three-fourth (¾) of the page limitthree (3) pages for the first paper,
six (6) for the research paper. Failure to meet this minimum will result in
a one-third (1/3) letter deduction from the paper's final grade (an "A" will
become an "A-"). If you provide your peers no draft at all, you will earn a
one (1) letter grade deduction on the final grade. The explanatory annotation
paper and the group presentation paper, but not individual responses or the
research paper, may be revised once after receiving a grade with my comments
for a new grade assessment.
After the first paper, but before the annotated bibliography,
you must sign up for an individual conference in order that we can talk about
your first paper and research paper topics. Though no more conferences are required,
I encourage you to see me during my office hours (or by appointment) to talk
about any course concerns you have.
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 notes within one (1) week of your return to class or I will
not accept the excuse. 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+"). 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. Tardies will affect your grade. I strongly suggest not
being late because quizzes will be given in the first five minutes of class.
If you know in advance that you have to miss or be late for a class, please
notify me beforehand in order that we can make arrangements regarding missed
On the Monday after finals week, I will have your
final research papers ready for you to pic up. Make an appointment with me to
retrieve your work, or I will discard it after two quarters.
The staff of the Writing Center serve as readers
and responders to writing for English 110, English 367 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 11:30-3:30
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.
Atwood: "Fiction: Happy Endings" (275-9)
Plato: "The Allegory of the Cave" (186-91)
Doctorow: "Ultimate Discourse" (472-5)
Lunsford: "On Reading . . . Critically" (1-8)
Writing a Position or Response Paper
Anderson: Reality, Preface and "The Collapse of Belief" (ix-xii,
Lunsford: "From Reading to Writing" (9-34)
Writing an Essay Examination or Quiz
Anderson: Reality, "Postmodern Visions" (93-102)
Kafka: "Before the Law" (3-4)
Zinn: "Law and Justice" (368-402)
Ramage: "Reading . . . Essays." (639-45)
Paper 1 Prompt: Writing an Explanation or Comparison Paper
Anderson: Reality, "Postmodern Visions" (55-78)
Barnet: "Critical Thinking and Writing" (57, 73-86)
Writing an Explanation or Comparison Paper continued
Objectivity - continued
Bacon: "Idols of the Mind" (518-29)
Thomas: "Humanities and Science" (775-82)
Harding: Introduction (1-16)
Group Presentation #1: The Objectivity of Science
Writing an Explanation or Comparison Paper continued
Anderson: Reality, "The Theatre of Reality" (105-83)
(1/3 of class responsible for Ch5, for 6, for
Writing a Peer Response Paper
Due: Paper 1, Draft 1
Boorstin: "From News Gathering to News Making" (7-44)
Sontag: "Notes on Camp" (105-19)
(½ of class read Boorstin, ½
Group Presentation #2: Psuedo-Events and Camp Culture
Due: Paper 1, Draft 1 Peer Responses
Anderson: Reality, "Faith and Freedom" (187-227)
Revising a Paper
Thoreau: "Why I Went to the Woods" (897-902)
Rich: "Diving," "Translations, "Living" (22-4, 40-2)
Research Paper Prompt: Determining a Topic and a Question
Due: Paper 1, Draft 2
Anderson: Reality, "Worldview" (231-69)
Research Paper Prompt: Finding Sources
***meet in Denney Hall 312
S(t)imulation - continued
Baudrillard: "Simulacra and Simulations" (166-84)
Klugman: "Reality Revisited" (12-33)
(½ read Baudrillard, ½ read Klugman)
Group Presentation #3: Reality and Disneyland
Barnet: "Critical Writing: Using Sources" (156-173)
Lapham: "Democracy in America" (701-13)
Moore, Michael: "Don't Vote," et al (22-5, 43-56, 221-9)
Group Presentation #4: American Politics: Apathy or Ideology?
Annotated Bibliography Prompt: Writing an Evaluation of a Source
Due: Preliminary Bibliography (20 sources)
Hammill: "Crack and the Box" (373-377)
Rapping: "Local News: Reality as Soap Opera" (616-33)
Group Presentation #5: Television and Culture/Society
Writing an Annotated Bibliography
Movie: The X-Files: "Jose Chung's From Outer Space"
Graham: "Conspiracy Theory and The X-Files" (52-62)
Lavery, et al: "Introduction" (13-20)
Group Presentation #6: The X-Files and Social Order
Writing a Research Paper
***Meet in Lord Hall Room 19
Huxley: Brave New World Revisited, Ch1-6 (3-57)
(1/3 of class read Chs1-2, read 3-4, read 5-6)
Writing a Research Paper continued
Due: Annotated Bibliography
Huxley: Brave New World Revisited, Ch6-12 (58-118)
(1/3 read Chs7-8, read 9-10, for 11-12)
Writing a Research Paper continued
Movie: The Truman Show
(Extra Credit Response: in-class movie)
***Meet in Lord Hall Room 19
Herzog: "The Death of Lies," et al (P 15-27, 207-218)
Due: Research Paper, Draft 1
Due: Research Paper, Draft 1 Peer Responses
||Due: Research Paper, Draft 2 by 5:00 P.M.
Acknowledgments / Table of Contents for 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.
- Barnet, Sylvan and Hugo Bedau, eds. "Critical Writing" and "Critical Writing:
Using Sources." Current Issues and Enduring Questions: A Guide
to Critical Thinking and Argument, with Readings. 4th Ed.
Boston: Bedford, 1996. 57, 73-86, 156-173.
- Baudrillard, Jean. from "Simulacra and Simulations." Selected Writings.
Ed. Mark Poster. Cambridge: Polity, 1988. 166-84.
- Boorstin, Daniel J. "From News Gathering to News Making: A Flood of Pseudo-Events." The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America. New York:
Atheneum: 1971. 7-17, 28-44.
- Graham, Allison: "Conspiracy Theory and The X-Files." "Deny All
Knowledge": Reading The X-Files. Eds. David Lavery, Angela Hague,
and Marla Cartwright. 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, 1998. 373-377.
- Harding, Sandra. Introduction. Whose Science? Whose Knowledge?: Thinking
from Women's Lives. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1991. 1-16.
- Herzog, Arthur. "The Death of Lies" and "Skeptics of the World, Unite!" The B.S. Factor: The Theory and Technique of Faking
It in America. Baltimore: Penguin, 1973. 15-27, 207-218.
- Kafka, Franz. "Before the Law." 1916. The Complete Stories. Trans.
Willa and Edwin Muir. New York: Schocken, 1971.
- Klugman, Karen. "Reality Revisited." Inside the Mouse: The Project on
Disney. Eds. Karen Klugman, et al. Durham: Duke UP, 1995. 12-33.
- 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,
- Lavery, David, Angela Hague and Marla Cartwright. "Introduction: Generation
X The X-Files and the Cultural Moment." "Deny All Knowledge":
Reading The X-Files. Eds. David Lavery, Angela Hague and Marla Cartwright.
Syracuse: Syrcacuse UP, 1996. 13-21.
- 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.
- Moore, Michael. "Don't Vote: It Only Encourages Them," "Big Welfare Mamas,"
"Skip the CandidatesVote for the Lobbyists!" Downsize This! Random Threats
from an Unarmed American. New York: Crown/Random, 1996. 22-5, 43-56,
- 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.
- Rich, Adrienne. "Diving into the Wreck," "Translations," "Living in the
Cave." Diving into the Wreck. New York: Norton,
1973. 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. 105-19.
- 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, 1998. 775-82.
- 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.
- Zinn, Howard. "Law and Justice." Declarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American Independence. New York: HarperCollins, 1990. Rpt. in The Zinn Reader: Writings on Disobedience and Democracy. New
York: Seven Stories, 1997. 368-402.
- 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.
- 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.
- Plato. "The Allegory of the Cave." Republic. c. 380 B.C. Trans. G.
M. A. Grube. Rev. by C. D. C. Reeve. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1992. 186-191.
- Lunsford, Andrea A. and John J. Ruszkiewicz, eds. "On Reading and Thinking
Critically" The Presence of Others: Voices that Call for Response. 2nd Ed. New York: St. Martin's, 1997. 1-8.
- 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.