English 4900 Senior Seminar, Spring 2022

TR 2:00-3:15 p.m., Health Sciences 144




Dr. Alex E. Blazer


Office Hours: TR 12:30-1:45 p.m. and 5:00-5:30 p.m. by appointment


Course Description


The 2021-2022 catalog will describe English 4900 as "A culmination course reviewing the interpretation and research skills of film and literary study and preparing for careers or graduate school. For students in the film and literature concentrations, this course replaces the English exit exam and is required for graduation." Replacing the English major exit exam, Senior Seminar is required for graduation for English majors concentrating in film or literature. The texts are distributed across significant literary periods; and the assignments employ critical theory in the analysis and research of literary texts. Course outcomes address, in part, the expected outcomes for the English major, including knowledge about literary tradition, acquiring an informed critical awareness, demonstrating the ability to participate in discourse related to aesthetics and literature, an understanding of diverse literary and social voices in international and multicultural texts, etc. You will both summarize your understanding of literary tradition and demonstrate your ability to research literature and interpret texts through a variety of critical approaches. Additionally, the course includes career preparation for job, internship, and graduate school applications. You will prepare cover letters, statements of purpose, and resumes as well as practice presentation skills and interviewing strategies tailored to your specific goals. Literary periods include classical Greek theatre, English Renaissance theatre, Romanticism, realism, modernism, the Beats, the Black Arts Movement, postmodernism, and post-postmodernism. Literary works include Senaca's Phaedra, Euripedes's The Bacchae, Johnson's Volpone, Keats's 1819 odes, Wharton's The House of Mirth, Williams's Paterson, Ginsberg's Howl, Baraka's Black Magic, Stephenson's Snow Crash, and Smith's Hotel World. Assignments include two critical approaches essays, a literary period and author project, a research project, and a career preparation portfolio. This course's prerequisite is ENGL 3900.


Course Materials


required textbooks (Amazon or GCSU Bookstore)

Smith, Hotel World

Stephenson, Snow Crash

required textbooks (Amazon or in public domain)

Baraka, Black Magic (GeorgiaVIEW)

Euripides, The Bacchae (Project Gutenberg)

Ginsberg, Howl (Poetry Foundation)

Johnson, Volpone (Project Gutenberg)

Keats, The Poetical Works (Internet Archive)

Senaca, Phaedra (Project Gutenberg)

Wharton, The House of Mirth (Project Gutenberg)

Williams, Paterson (Internet Archive)

required textbooks (course packet)

Butler, "Bloodchild"

Whealtey, poems

recommended textbooks (Amazon or GCSU Bookstore)

Gibaldi, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 9th ed.


Assignments and Grade Distribution


two critical approaches essays, 15% each

You will use two different interpretive approaches to research and interpret a literary work in two 6-8 page papers that you will read to the class.

literary period and author project, 20%

You will research the literary period and author of a text with a 10 source annotated bibliography and formally present your findings to the class in a 15-20 minute audiovisual assisted presentation.

research project, 40%

Developed from an essay submitted in a previous class, you will annotate a 10 source bibliography, write a 15-18 page research paper, and formally present your research to the class in an audiovisual assisted presentation.

career preparation portfolio, 10%

You will prepare career documents such as a resume or a statement of purpose, and a job application or internship cover letter, as well as practice a mock interview.


Course Policies



We will use the course site for the syllabus schedule and assignment prompts; supporting documents include an attendance record, a course grade calculation spreadsheet, FAQ, a GeorgiaVIEW walkthrough, a guide to literary analysis, a research methods guide, and paper templates. We will use GeorgiaVIEW for assignment submission and the course packet; if you experience technical issues with GeorgiaVIEW, contact the Center for Teaching and Learning at or 478.445.2520. Check your university email for course-related messages. Use an online backup or cloud storage service to not only save but also archive versions of your work in case of personal computer calamities.


Because this liberal arts course values contemporaneous discussion over fixed lecture, regular attendance is required. Any student who misses seven or more classes for any reason (excused or unexcused) will be dropped from the course and fail. There will be a one letter final grade deduction for every unexcused absence beyond three. I suggest you use your three skip days both cautiously and wisely; and make sure you sign the attendance sheets. Habitual tardies, consistently leaving class early, texting, and web surfing will be treated as absences. Unexcused absences include work, family obligations, and scheduled doctor's appointments. Excused absences include family emergency, medical emergency, religious observance, and participation in a college-sponsored activity. If you have a medical condition, extracurricular activity, or job that you anticipate will cause you to miss more than four days of class, I suggest you drop this section or risk failure. The university absence policy can be found here. You can check your class attendance record here.

MLA Style and Length Requirements

Part of writing in a discipline is adhering to the field's style guide. While other disciplines use APA or Chicago style, literature and composition follows MLA style. Assignments such as in-class exams, discussion board responses, informal/journal writing, and peer review may be informally formatted; however, formal assignments and take-home exams must employ 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) margins, header, and heading, 2) font, font size, 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 (not including Works Cited page) 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 additional one-third letter grade penalty. Before you turn in a formal paper, make sure your work follows MLA style by referring to the MLA style checklist. Feel free to use these templates that are preformatted to MLA style.

Late Assignments

We're all busy with multiple classes and commitments, and adhering to deadlines is critical for the smooth running of the course. 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. Because your completion of this course's major learning outcomes depends on the completion of pertinent assignments, failing to submit an assignment that is worth 15% or more of the course grade within five days of its due date may result in failure of the course. Failing to submit a final exam or final paper within two days of its due date may result in 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 Undergraduate Catalog and Graduate Catalog define academic dishonesty as "Plagiarizing, including the submission of others’ ideas or papers (whether purchased, borrowed, or otherwise obtained) as one’s own. When direct quotations are used in themes, essays, term papers, tests, book reviews, and other similar work, they must be indicated; and when the ideas of another are incorporated in any paper, they must be acknowledged, according to a style of documentation appropriate to the discipline" and "Submitting, if contrary to the rules of a course, work previously presented in another course," among other false representations. As plagiarism is not tolerated at GCSU, "since the primary goal of education is to increase one's own knowledge," any student found guilty of substantial, willful plagiarism or dishonesty may fail the assignment and the course. This course uses plagiarism prevention technology from TurnItIn. The papers may be retained by the service for the sole purpose of checking for plagiarized content in future student submissions.

Writing Center

Writing consultants will work with any student writer working on any project in any discipline. To learn more about Writing Center locations, hours, scheduling, and services, please go to If you have questions about the Writing
Center, send an email to

Required Syllabus Statements

Additional statements regarding the Religious Observance Policy, Assistance for Student Needs Related to Disability, Student Rating of Instruction Survey, Academic Honesty, Student Use of Copyrighted Materials, Electronic Recording Policy, Academic Grievance or Appeals, and Fire Drills can be found here.

COVID-19 Statement

Information regarding USG, GCSU, and course pandemic policies (including course delivery, attendance, and office hours) can be found here.


Course Schedule

Week 1

T, 1-11


First Day Handout

R, 1-13

Classical Drama

Senaca, Phaedra

Week 2

T, 1-18

Classical Drama

Euripedes, The Bacchae

R, 1-20

Guest Speaker: Christine Amezquita, Career Center

Resume/Curriculum Vita Workshop (bring draft of resume or curriculum vita)

Week 3

T, 1-25

Resume/Curriculum Vita Workshop

Career Center Appointments Due

R, 1-27

Guest Lecturer

Butler, "Bloodchild"

Recommended Career Center Event: Teacher Recruitment Fair, F, 1-28, Wellness & Recreation Center, 10:00-12:00 p.m.

Week 4

T, 2-1

Guest Lecturer

Wheatley, poems

R, 2-3

Renaissance Theatre/Jacobean Era

Johnson, Volpone (1606)


Week 5

T, 2-8

Johnson, concluded

R, 2-10

Research Project Workshop

Week 6

T, 2-15


Keats, 1819 Odes

R, 2-17

Keats, concluded

Week 7

T, 2-22

Cover Letter/Statement of Purpose Workshop

R, 2-24


Wharton, The House of Mirth (1905)

Week 8

T, 3-1

Wharton, concluded

R, 3-3

Research Project Conferences

Recommended Career Center Event: Graduate & Professional School Admissions Fair, R, 3-3, Magnolia Ballroom, 12:00-4:00 p.m.

Week 9

T, 3-8

No Class: Professor Sick

R, 3-10


Williams, Paterson, Book I (You are encouraged to read additional books as well)

Recommended Career Center Event: Non-Profit, Government, & Helping Industries Fair, March 10, Peabody Auditorium, 12:00-4:00 p.m.

Week 10

T, 3-15

No Class: Spring Break

R, 3-17

No Class: Spring Break

Week 11

T, 3-22

Guest Speaker: Christine Amezquita

Linked In Workshop

R, 3-24

Williams, concluded

Research Project Annotated Bibliography Due

Recommended Career Center Event: Creative Industries Fair, March 24, Peabody Auditorium, 12:00-4:00 p.m.

Week 12

T, 3-29

Beat Poetry

Ginsberg, Howl (1954)

R, 3-31

Black Arts Movement

Baraka, Black Magic (1969)

Recommended Career Center Event: All Industry Career & Internship Fair, March 31, Centennial Center, 12:00-4:00 p.m.

Week 13

T, 4-5


Stephenson, Snow Crash (1992)

Mock Interview Due

R, 4-7

Stephenson, concluded

Career Preparation Portfolio Due

Week 14

T, 4-12

Research Project Workshop

R, 4-14


Smith, Hotel World (2001)

Week 15

T, 4-19

Smith, concluded

R, 4-21

Research Presentations

Week 16

T, 4-26

Research Presentations

R, 4-28

Research Presentations


W, 5-4

Research Paper and Annotated Bibliography Due