Ethnic Literature in America Texts: James Welch, Fools Crow
Susan Power, The Grass Dancer
Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
Toni Morrison, Beloved
Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior
Chang-Rae Lee, Native Speaker
Rudolfo A. Anaya, Bless Me, Ultima
Ana Castillo, So Far From God
Course Objectives: The objectives of the course are
1) to acquaint students with a sampling of fiction from African American, Native American, Asian American and Mexican American authors;
2) to help students read literature actively and critically;
3) to familiarize students with the vocabulary and critical tools required in order to discuss and write about literature successfully;
4) to acquaint students with some of the historical and cultural contexts in which these works were generated; and
5) to help students relate literature, whenever possible, to their daily lives and to the world they live in.
Course Requirements: You will need to read all assignments before coming to class and come to class prepared to discuss them. For each day’s reading, you will write a one page analytical response. You must bring the text we are reading and discussing and your written response to class each day. You will also take 15 quizzes, write a two essays, take midsemester and final examinations, and participate in class discussions.
Grading: Class Preparation (Analytical Response Avg.) 100 points possible
Class Participation 100 points possible
15 Quizzes @ 10 points possible each 150 total points possible
Midsemester Examination 100 total points possible
Final Examination 200 points possible
Character Analysis Essay 150 points possible
Comparative Analysis Essay 200 total points possible
900-1000 points = A; 800-899 points = B; 700-799 points = C; 600-699 points = D
Please note: Failure to complete any of the course requirements may mean failing the course. None of these requirements is optional.
Class Preparation/Participation: The best ways in which to illustrate that you are an active, engaged, and interested student are by 1) reading all assignments before coming to class, 2) preparing your required one page analytical response, and 3) contributing regularly to class discussions.
Analytical Responses: For each assigned reading, you need to prepare a one page (minimum and maximum) analytical response. ("One page" means one side, single spaced on 8 1/2" x 11" paper. If your paper is undersized, please write the equivalent amount. Students who choose to type their responses will need to provide a single, double spaced page.) The crucial question each response should answer in a focused and thoughtful way is "What is the most significant aspect of this reading?" Please try to make these writings a meaningful experience and do not write plot summaries or emotional reactions. A separate handout explains this requirement in more detail.
When we meet to discuss the readings, I will frequently call on students at random to share with the rest of the class what they have identified as significant in their responses as a means of beginning our class discussion. Quite often, I will collect, respond to, and grade these responses, but whether I collect them or not, these writings are part of your class preparation. Everyone is expected to prepare the responses for each assigned reading.
Quizzes: You can expect a brief quiz on the date each portion of a novel is first due to be read. There will be quizzes on 17 of those dates. You need only take 15 quizzes. If you take all 17 quizzes, I will drop your lowest 2 quiz grades. Quizzes will consist of questions which should be easily answerable by anyone who has read the assignment carefully. If you wish to take a quiz, you must arrive on time. There will be no make-up quizzes. If you do not attend class on the day of a quiz or arrive too late to take a quiz, you forfeit those 10 possible points.
Midsemester and Final Exam: Both examinations will be partially objective and partially essay in nature. You will have some choice among the essay questions. Except in extreme circumstances, there will be no make-up tests.
Formal Essays: Due on Monday, October 9, the first essay (4-5 pages long) will analyze a secondary character from one of the first two novels of the course–Fools Crow or The Grass Dancer. You will receive a more detailed description of this assignment soon.
For the second paper--due on Wednesday, December 6--you will look closely at two of the texts of the course in which you find significant similarities and contrasts (of characterization, theme, imagery, and so forth). Later in the semester, I will offer more details and examples of paper topics for this assignment. This paper will be 5-7 pages in length.
In addition to the submission of actual printed essays for grading, students in this course will also be required to submit their formal essays electronically to www.turnitin.com. Late papers will be graded 10 points lower for each day they are late.
The numerous writing activities--both informal and formal--indicate that the instructor is a firm supporter of writing as a means of learning and of SU's Writing Across the Curriculum policy.
Plagiarism: The English Department takes plagiarism, the unacknowledged use of other people's ideas, very seriously indeed. As outlined in the Student Handbook under the "Policy on Student Academic Integrity," plagiarism may receive such penalties as failure on a paper or failure in the course. The English Department recognizes that plagiarism is a very serious offense and professors make their decisions regarding sanctions accordingly. Each of the following constitutes plagiarism:
1. Turning in as your own work a paper or part of a paper that anyone other than you wrote. This would include but is not limited to work taken from another student, from a published author, or from an Internet contributor.
2. Turning in a paper that includes unquoted and / or undocumented passages someone else wrote.
3. Including in a paper someone else's original ideas, opinions or research results without attribution.
4. Paraphrasing without attribution.
5. Turning in the same paper for credit in more than one class.
A few changes in wording do not make a passage your property. As a precaution, if you are in doubt, cite the source. Moreover, if you have gone to the trouble to investigate secondary sources, you should give yourself credit for having done so by citing those sources in your essay and by providing a list of Works Cited or Works Consulted at the conclusion of the essay. In any case, failure to provide proper attribution could result in a severe penalty and is never worth the risk.
Attendance: I expect to be here every day and hope you will do the same. You may miss three class meetings (for whatever reason) without direct penalty. Each day you miss beyond those three “freebies” will reduce your overall points as follows: -25 points for the fourth day, - 50 for the fifth, -75 for the sixth, and so on. (That’s not minus 75 points for missing those three extra days; that’s minus 150 points. So if you have a schedule conflict with this class, you should select a course that better fits your schedule.) Remember that YOU are responsible for meeting deadlines and making up any missed work.There such a thing as an “excused absence.”
I will, of course, also expect you to arrive promptly for class and stay for the duration of each session. Three “lates” will constitute an absence (see the attendance policy above). Schedule your other activities around this course, not vice versa. In addition, students who come to class ill-prepared (i.e., without the novel we’re discussing, having not read the assignment) may be asked to leave the classroom and invited to return another day on which they are better prepared.
Courtesy and Respect: I expect students to treat their fellow students and professor with courtesy and respect. Please abide by the following:
Turn OFF your cell phones, pagers, iPods, and other electronic devices BEFORE entering the classroom.
Take care of your dietary and eliminatory needs BEFORE entering the classroom.
Should you absolutely need to arrive late or leave early for a class session, sit as near to the door as possible and avoid disrupting class by drawing attention to your entry or exit.
Listen attentively to what your professor and fellow classmates contribute to our discussions.
Raise your hand and wait to be acknowledged before you enter the discussion.
Office Hours: MW 2:00-4:15 p.m. and by appointment. This time is set aside for you; please feel free to speak with me about any concerns or interests during these hours or by appointment.
Assignment Calendar Aug. 28: Introduction to course