Monday, September 11, 2006

Course Syllabus

This syllabus provides the reading schedule for English 342.. If students are up-to-date with readings, they will be ahead of lecture. Note, however, that this schedule is not a Procrustean bed for lecture: week by week, lecture will follow the developing class interests and course dynamic; covering, na'theless, all material -- superbly, might I add -- by the conclusion of week thirteen.
The on-line articles are from the Virtual CoursePackage: a collection of supporting material that places the primary texts in a theoretical, historical, and cultural context. There is a permanent link under "Pertinent & Impertinent" on the blog sidebar.
There are two short background texts on Course Reserve: Gilles Deleuze, Empiricism & Subjectivity and Paul Virilio, Information Bomb. These books are not available on-line in fulltext version, so students are advised to sign them out and read them in advance of the week positioned on the schedule.

Week One: September 5th - September 7th
Primary text: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.
On-line Article(s): John Knox.
Week Two: September 12th - September 14th
Primary text: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.
On-line Article(s): Michael Gardiner.
Week Three: September 19th - September 21th
Primary text: Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off.
On-line Article(s): David Hume. The Sceptic & Of Superstition & Enthusiasm.
Week Four: September 26th - September 28th
Primary text: Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off.
On-line Article(s): Friedrich Nietzsche ("ressentiment").
Week Five: October 3rd - October 5th
Primary text: Laidlaw.
On-line Article(s): Donald Macleod.
Week Six: October 10th - October 12th
Primary text: Laidlaw
Background text: Gilles Deleuze (on course reserve.)
Week Seven: October 17th - October 19th
Primary text: The Trick is to Keep Breathing.
On-line Article(s): Claire Colebrook.
Week Eight: October 24th - October 26th
Primary text: The Trick is to Keep Breathing.
On-line Article(s): Carole Jones.
Week Nine: October 31st - November 2nd
Primary text: Trainspotting.
On-line Article(s): George Orwell.
Week Ten: November 14th - November 16th
Primary text: Trainspotting.
Background text: Paul Virilio (on course reserve.)
Week Eleven: November 14th - November 16th
Primary text: Morvern Callar.
Week Twelve: November 21st - November 23rd
Primary text: Morvern Callar.
Group Field School workshop.
Week Thirteen: November 28th - November 30th
Perlicue, feenish.

Assignment Deadlines.
Nb: There is a three percent per day late penalty for assignments, documented medical or bereavement leave excepted. For medical exemptions, simply provide a letter from a physician on letterhead which declares his or her medical judgement that an illness prevented work on the essay over the assigned three week period.
All assignments are to be placed in the Instructor's mailbox outside the English Department Office.

1. Mid term paper, two thousand words: due midnight October 23rd. Assignment sheet with choice of topics will be blogged on October 5th. Criteria include literary analysis, engagement with course themes and writing mechanics. [Note that these dates afford you flexibility. If your mid-term schedule is crowded, you are free to submit your paper at the deadline, which is approximately three weeks after the assignment sheet is distributed. If you prefer to get a critical response to your paper earlier in the course, you can submit yours as soon as you like after the assignment is blogged.]
2. Group field school project: beginning in course week four, you will organise groups of five students to take your study of the course themes, extrapolated from the primary works of fiction, into the local setting. Each group will select a local Scottish society, historical personage, or associative landmark, and work up a form of presentation that details how this feature of Greater Vancouver, characterised as a post-colonial landscape, devolves from the characteristics of identity theorised in our background reading, such as Deleuze, Virilio, Colebrook, &c.
The project is due in the last class of the term, November 30th, with seminar time set aside throughout the term to work with the Instructor to develop your project. Suggested fields of study will be presented when the groups are formed in week four. By week seven your group will submit an outline of your project design on your own terms: signed approval by the Instructor will be the grading criteria for the assignment.
3. Individual class research presentation: sign-up schedule handed around in seminar. An oral presentation of ten minutes maximum on a specific topic related to the Scottish background: historical, cultural, literary, political or geographical. Suitable topics include authors, great works, intellectual figures, periods (e.g. Scottish Enlightenment), religious traditions, cultural traditions (e.g. whisky, Highland Games, bagpipes), Scottish film or performing arts, critical-theoretical positions relevant to Scottish identities, post-Empire Scotland, women’s influences in ancient or modern Scotland, Scottish nationalism, Glasgow or Edinburgh, Highlands or Lowlands, geography & Scots identity.
The criteria include research comprehensiveness, relevancy and contribution to the class' understanding; with an emphasis on the cohesiveness, clarity, comprehensibility, organisation, timing and other acknowledged elements of effective oral delivery. Hand in a copy of your rough notes at the conclusion of the representation. You will receive a sheet with Instructor's analysis, comments, and your assignment grade, a week after your presentation.
4. Final Paper, thirty-two hundred words: due December 4th at midnight. Topic to be discused and approved in writing with the course instructor. There is also an available option for a Creative scholarly paper, provided that strict failure standards are detailed and approved by the Instructor in writing, in advance.

Course Approach
The course is designed to provide an experiential engagement with the themes and materials declared in the course outline. In addition to information and and analysis in lecture, a variety of opportunities for students to experience different informative facets of the outlined subject area will be presented.

Course requirement weighting:
10% Participation
15% Individual research presentation
20% Group Field School Project
20% Mid-term essay (2000 words)
35% Final essay (3200 words)
Nb: “Participation" requires both contributions in seminar discussion and attendance and punctuality at lecture and seminar.

Instructor Contact:
[UPDATED] Office Hours: AQ 6094 -- Tuesday 10:30-11:30; Wednesday, 12:00-14:55; Thursday 10:30-11:30; Friday 12:00-12:55. Bring your coffee and discuss course matters freely. E-mail to Please only use your SFU account for email contact. In urgencies, I may be reached on my cellular telephone at 604-250-9432.

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