English 701— 1
English 701, Fall 2011
Introduction to English Studies
Mary Ellis Gibson
Office: 3115 MMHRA
Phone and email 707-3248 email@example.com
Office hours: Tuesdays 10:30-11:30, Wednesdays 2-3 and by appointment.
How to get in touch most easily: please make appointments in advance by email
whenever possible; an appointment will ensure we have plenty of time to talk and will
enable me to add office hours as needed. My preferred and most efficient contact is via
email, which I check more frequently than my phone messages. I normally email you
back within 24 hours on weekdays unless I am out of town at a conference. I check my
phone messages once a day in the evening and may not respond till the following
morning or mid-day.
This course is organized around five questions:
what is English studies? what is literary criticism?
what is a book, a text, an edition?
what counts as good academic writing and why?
what are the resources for graduate level research?
what can you learn in an English degree that applies beyond the world of
We are not of course going to answer any of these questions entirely, but through a series
of readings, library “exercises,” and analysis of academic writing, we will at least test
When you’ve finished this class you should have accomplished the following objectives:
be able critically to discuss the nature of disciplinarity in the humanities
be able critically to analyze the choices behind editorial decisions, canon
formation, and the manifestations of the material text
understand some of the conventions of academic writing and be better able to
analyze your own rhetorical strategies
be familiar with both print and electronic resources for literary study
Your grade will be based on three things: class attendance and participation (including
short papers as specified below), group presentations, and a series of written work
including homework and a research paper.
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1. Attendance and participation. This is a small class. Your presence every week is
crucial, as is your preparation for class. After one absence (one week of class) your grade
will suffer for each subsequent absence for a full or partial class. Leaving early is
considered an “absence.”
You will be asked to complete several short papers, including responses to the readings
and critique of an academic lecture. Your participation in class and these short papers
will account for 30% of the final grade. Some of the short papers will be responses to
readings, others will be library exercises. You must complete complete seven short
papers (250 to 500 words) out of the opportunities below and you must also turn in one
critique of an academic lecture about literature, rhetoric, history, or the humanities (250
to 500 words).
The two in-class editing excercises based on the Chicago Manual of Style will be
included in this portion of your course grade.
2. You will be asked to do one group project, which will be a digital exercise putting into
practice what we have learned about editing, the material/digital text, the creation of
canons, and literary theory.This project will be a digital edition of 3 or 4 poems by Toru
Dutt, a late nineteenth-century Indian poet. 10% of final grade.
3. You will be asked to do an annotated bibliography, a prospectus, and a seminar paper
(about 15 pages).These, taken together, will constitute 50% of the final grade.
4. The seminar paper will be due at the last class meeting, which will be held at my
house. I will make you a lovely dinner in exchange for your turning your papers in on
time! Late papers will not be accepted except under the most extenuating circumstances. I
am strict about incompletes, for which you will need a very good excuse indeed. If you
are granted an incomplete, I cannot be responsible for turning in a grade for you in time
for your spring semester financial aid to be released.
Obviously, all work for all assignments shall adhere to the academic code of conduct and
shall be free of plagiarism (see Graduate School Bulletin for detailed policy; general
guidelines for citation are spelled out in the Chicago Manual and the MLA Handbook).
We will discuss the importance of appropriate citations; any questions should be directed
to the instructor asap.
You may turn in work, such as a final paper, as a graded assignment for more than one
class only with the prior permission of both instructors. Be sure that you allow sufficient
time for the permission process should you wish to do this.
The penalties for plagiarism, for other forms of violation of the code of conduct, and for
double submitting work range from an F for the work in question, to an F for the course,
to honor court proceedings and expulsion from the University.
English 701— 3
5. Class presentation. Because we have so many small assignments and excercises in this
class, I am not asking you to do a long formal class presentation. Rather, I would like
each of you to prepare a short presentation of about 5-7 minutes or so. For this
presentation, I would like you to choose one author whose work we are reading in class;
read some additional materials by and about this author; and prepare a brief handout in
which you address the writer’s importance to the discussion of the field and raise three or
so questions about the reading as a catalyst to class discussion. The most important part
of this assignment is your ability to be our “consultant” on this critic and the essay at
hand and your ability to raise really good questions. So part of the assignment is to ask
yourself, what is a good question here? You can create efficiencies by also doing a short
paper that week. 10%
Readings and assignments:
All readings are from the Norton Anthology of Criticism and Theory unless indicated
Aug. 23 Introduction: initial exercises and discussion of course parameters
The big questions: what is a canon, what do we bring to our work, what is
research, what is reading.
Aug. 30 How do we conceive the literary object?
Arnold, “The Function of Criticism” from Norton; Aristotle, Poetics
Short paper: respond to either of these readings; what for either of these
writers is a “literary object”; how is it understood?
Sept. 6 What is an author, what is a text?
Johnson, from “Preface to Shakespeare”; Barthes, “Death of the Author”;
Foucault, “What is an Author”
Short paper: How would either Barthes or Foucault read Johnson?
Sept. 13 Who can become an author? What’s the relationship between authorship
and authority? Bring the Chicago Manual to class, please.
Read Woolf, from A Room of One’s Own; Said, Introduction to
Short paper: How does either Woolf or Said understand the relationship
between authorship and authority?
For the second half of class:
Read Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition): Chapter 1, “The Parts of a
Published Work”; “Appendix A: Design and Production” (pp. 803-856).
Chicago Manual editing exercise on bibliography.
Question for class discussion:
English 701— 4
What is an annotated bibliography?
Be thinking about your final seminar paper topic and be ready to discuss
Sept. 20 What is a research question? Meet in CITI lab, Jackson Library
Assignment: Before class, read chapters in Harner, Literary Research
Guide on Blackboard. Select two major research libraries and visit them
electronically. What are their specializations of interest to you? Search for
three of the following authors: H. L. V. Derozio, Sir William Jones,
Thomas Babington Macaulay, Emma Roberts, Toru Dutt, Frances E. W.
(Ellen Watkins) Harper, Sarojini Naidu. What did you find? Now search
these authors in the World Cat via Jackson Library. What did you find? If
you did not use the British Library Catalog, try the same questions of it.
Answer these questions on Blackboard. In visiting these major research
libraries, be sure you attend to printed books written by these authors, to
electronic books, and to “secondary materials” about them in available
books. (We’ll get to periodicals later.) You don’t need to develop and
write a complete bibliography of what is available—but please describe
the resources available. (You can save your searches, for example, to help
Developing the research project: what is a question? What is a source?
How do you find them? Select two articles you believe will be useful for
your research project one of which you find particularly well written or
clearly argued. Photocopy one page of one of the articles, and be prepared
to discuss why you believe the article is well written and why you found
the two articles useful.
Short paper: choose some aspect of the week’s homework and write up
your results in 250 to 500 words.
Sept. 27 What is a research question? Why does historical research matter to
English studies or does it?
Read: Hayden White, “Historical Text as Literary Artifact,” Marx, “From
the German Ideology” and from the “Grundrisse”; Raymond Williams,
“Base and Supersture”; and Anderson, from “Imagined Communities.”
Locate one historical source you believe will be relevant to your final
paper: this source may be a periodical from the historical period in
question; a political document; a book review or essay contemporary to
the material you are discussing in your final paper; a cultural “document”
such as a painting, an advertisement, etc. How is this source part of the
English 701— 5
field of cultural production, so to speak, which the subject of your final
paper also inhabits?
Short paper: write up your results in 250 to 500 words
Discuss preparation of annotated bibliography.
Oct. 4 Archives and material texts.
Meet in Jackson Library, Special Collections. Use Harner’s chapter,
“Guide to Manuscripts and Archives” (F) and see if you can locate
manuscripts or archives that might be useful for you in writing your final
paper. If your projected paper topic for this class seems to have no
relevance for archival or ms. materials, then choose another paper you
have written or are writing and locate at least one manuscript or archival
sourse that might be relevant to you.
Read: Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical
Reproducibility” in Norton; and in pdf on blackborad Shillingsburg, “Text
as Matter,” Bornstein, “Representing Modernist Texts”
Short paper: Choose one of the writers assigned and thnk about how he
understands the material text.
Annotated bibliographies due.
Oct. 18: The status of the codex and other digital matters; or from hot type to the
end of the codex. Meet in Jackson Library for discussion of forms of
book production and/or marketing.
Read Hayles, “How We Became Posthuman” and Haraway, “A Manifesto
Paper prospectus due.
Oct. 25 Digital editing in a global context: postcolonial post-codex?
Read Toru Dutt, Ancient Ballads and Legends of Hindustan (pdf)
Stuart Hall, “Cultural Studies and Its Theoretical Legacies”
Gloria Anzaldua, from “Borderlands / La Frontera”
Short paper: Would would a cultural studies approach to Toru Dutt’s
poetry entail? Or how might we understand differences in
language/culture/reference with respect to Dutt’s poetry?
Nov. 1 Class workshop on Toru Dutt “digital edition.” Bring your laptop if you
have one. Correspond with your group in advance.
English 701— 6
Spivak, “From a Critique of Postcolonial Reason”
Short paper: Pick one of the theorists we’ve read thus far and talk about
how they might influence your approach to a Toru Dutt digital edition.
NOTE about seminar papers: If you want me to read part of your seminar
paper and respond to it in advance, I’m happy to. My conference schedule
for the year is sadly all jammed up into November, so please allow me one
week to read your work, which you may send by email attachment. I’ll get
back to you as quickly as I can, but if you get it to me by Nov. 7 that
would be a really good idea!
Nov. 8 Criticism and critique: Latour, “Why has Critique Run out of Steam?”’
Bourdieu, “Distinction” and Hume “Of the Standard of Taste”
Short paper: So is it all relative, as my undergrads always say? What’s
the place for standards of taste in literary studies, or can we do without
Nov. 15 Stuart Hall, “Cultural Studies and It’s Theoretical Legacies.” Presentation
of “digital edition.”
Short paper: Here’s a good time to be sure you’ve turned in your critique
of an academic lecture on literature, history or the humanities (when in
doubt ask me if your planned lecture is ok). If you’ve done that already
but need one more opportunity to write you can look back over your work
this semester and identify what you consider to be the most important
questions it has raised for you.
Nov. 22 (night before Thanksgiving vacation: I will be at a conference and you can
take a breath, eat turkey and then finish your seminar paper)
Nov. 27 Portfolio including seminar paper, prospectus and annotated bibliography
due. Dinner at my house. Brief presentations of seminar papers.
The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition.
The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism
Note: I have asked you to purchase two expensive texts, but each of these should be of
use to you throughout your graduate career and beyond. If you already own the 15th
edition of the Chicago Manual, you may use if if you can’t afford a new one.