Spring 2011 Syllabus

Spring 2011 Syllabus - ENGLISH 131: Society and Literature...

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Unformatted text preview: ENGLISH 131: Society and Literature Instructor: Ann Garner Email: aegarner@english.umass.edu Office: Bartlett 472 Office Hours: Monday 2:15-3:15 and happily by appt. There is a longstanding debate in literary studies about whether literature merely reflects or actually helps create society. The truth, like many truths, probably lies somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. But deciding a works place in the complicated matrix that makes up society requires research into the historical, literary and biographical moments which produced it. In this course, we will investigate and present that background material in order to help us all situate the plays we read in their social context . That way, when we discuss society and lit, we will have a better idea what we mean by society. This course focuses on plays. Plays present some reading challenges - they usually dont come with a lot of exposition, and often they require a serious effort of imagination. I tend to see these things as strengths. In addition, plays tend to read very quickly, and they have the force of immediate human interaction (all dialogue or monologue). For all these reasons, they are ideal for watching what happens when social norms come into conflict with one another That fact also makes them ideal for the purposes of this course. This is a 4-credit course, but we are only reading six plays. That is because we will be reading them very deeply and intensely. We will ease into the course in the first two weeks, but once we start getting into the plays, we just keep going. There may be lulls in the action, but you should think of this course as a marathon, not a sprint. This syllabus presents you with an extensive overview of the semester so that you can plan accordingly . COURSE OBJECTIVES: To learn how to investigate and apply historical, literary and biographical information to a piece of literature To respond to texts creatively and intellectually To work toward mastery in close reading and critical thinking We will work toward these objectives through a combination of discussion, in-class activities, writing and research. ACADEMIC HONESTY This course follows the university guidelines on academic honesty and plagiarism. If you have questions, please ask me or see http://www.umass.edu/academichonesty/. I take issues of academic dishonesty extremely seriously. Please dont do it. FORMATTING GUIDELINES Please type all documents for this course using the following parameters: Times New Roman. 11 point font, 1.5 spacing.1.00-1.25 margin (It saves paper and is easier to read.) Bibliographies should be completed using MLA citations. BOOKS All books are at Amherst Books....
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Spring 2011 Syllabus - ENGLISH 131: Society and Literature...

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