English 3000-02:Research and Methodology

Dr. Maria Doyle

TR12:30pm-1:45pm; TLC 1204


Office and Phone: TLC 2-248, 678-839-4853

Email: mdoyle@westga.edu

Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 3:30-4:30,Wednesday 12-3 and by appt.

Virtual Office Hours: Monday 9 am-noon (log into CourseDen and use the chat function)

Website: http://www.westga.edu/~mdoyle



English 3000 serves as an introduction to literary research and critical theory with an eye to preparing students for the theoretical questions and research writing they will encounter in upper level courses. This class will offer students a focused examination of three distinct kinds of theoretical inquiry (genre studies, poststructuralism and postcolonialism) and will use these varied lenses to examine two major literary texts (Michael Ondaatje's novel The English Patient and Neill Blomkamp's film District 9) as well asseveral additional shorter texts. The course will also enable students to honethe writing skills essential for success in the major through the development of a series of analytical and research essays.


Course Goals


Critical strategies texts: John Frow’s Genre(New Critical Idiom),Catherine Belsey’s A Very Short Introduction to Poststructuralism, Ania Loomba’s Colonialism/Postcolonialism (New Critical Idioms Series)

Primary source texts: Neill Blomkamp's District 9, Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient and additional readings available on CourseDen



Short essays (25%): Students will complete two short essays (@ 4-6 pages) applying elements of the different theoretical models discussed in class to our primary readings. Students will develop their essays based on a selection of topic suggestions, and each essay will be preceded by a workshop day designed to help students brainstorm their approaches to the text. Students should feel free to incorporate their in-class and independent critical reading into these papers, but the primary focus of each should be on developing and substantiating students' own readings of the text in question, filtered through a particular critical lens. Papers should thus argue a specific thesis and present a clearly-structured, well-written defense of that thesis that draws upon specific language and detail from the primary text for support.

In-class work (20%):

a.             In-class writing, homework and workshop assignments: Students will periodically be asked to bring in draft material for workshop discussion and to complete specific writing assignments as part of or in preparation for the day's class work.

b.             Daily class participation: Consistent, punctual attendance is the minimum expected of all students, and more than four absences will have a pronounced impact on your final grade. Doing well in class participation, however, means more than just coming to class. Students are further expected to have read the material carefully, to listen attentively both to the instructor and to the comments other students make during discussions and presentations, to ask questions and offer ideas about the material, and to respond thoughtfully to ideas presented both by the instructor and the other students

Research project (35%): This will be a multi-part project designed to help students understand the process or drafting a research topic,identifying relevant research materials and working through the writing and editing of a final paper. It will include a project proposal, a presentation based on your research to solicit peer feedback, an annotated bibliography of the sources you consulted and a formal 8-10 page research paper. Students will submit the final paper as part of a portfolio including your original commented proposal, an outline of your presentation (or a copy of the PowerPoint you presented), notes and drafts related to your work on the project, and your annotated bibliography of sources consulted.

Final exam (20%): The final exam will ask students to define and apply terms and concepts from the theoretical models examined in class.


Schedule of Readings:

Students should have completed readings and viewings by the day they are listed on the syllabus. This schedule represents my initial plan for the course; any necessary changes to this plan will be announced in class and posted online.


Th       1/6      Thinking Theory, Thinking Context


T         1/11    Genre (New Critical Idioms): Ch. 1 and 3

Th       1/13    Genre: Ch. 4


T         1/18    Genre: Ch. 5 and begin discussion of District 9

Th       1/20    Continue discussion of District 9


T         1/25    District 9 and Angela Carter, "The Tiger's Bride" (CourseDen)

                        Paper #1 assigned

Th       1/27    Genre: Ch. 6


T         2/1      Workshop

Th       2/3      Colonialism/Postcolonialism, Section 1: "Defining the Terms" (7-22),"Colonial Discourse," "Colonialism and Knowledge" and "Colonialism and Literature" (42-82)


T         2/8      Colonialism/Postcolonialism,Section 2

Th       2/10    Discuss District 9

Paper #1 due (Remember to staple your pages and include your signed academic honesty statement.)


T         2/15    District 9 and Athol Fugard, Sizwe Bansi is Dead (CourseDen)

Th       2/17    Colonialism/Postcolonialism, Section 3

                        Paper #2 assigned


T         2/22    A Very Short Introduction to Poststructuralism, Ch. 1-2

Th       2/24    A Very Short Introduction to Poststructuralism, Ch. 3


T         3/1      Poststructuralism, Ch. 4

Th       3/3      Workshop




T         3/15    Poststructuralism, Ch. 5

Paper #2 due (Remember to staple your pages and include your signed academic honesty statement.)


Th       3/17    Begin discussion of The English Patient


T         3/22    The English Patient

Th       3/24    Literary research workshop


T         3/29    Continue discussion of The English Patient

Th       3/31    Research proposals due electronically; no class meeting.


T         4/5      Workshop

Th       4/7      Finish discussion of The English Patient


T         4/12    Student presentations and peer review

Th       4/14    Student presentations and peer review


T         4/19    Student presentations and peer review

Th       4/21    Writing day: no class meeting


T         4/26    Exam Review and Final Projects due (Submit all your materials, including your academic honesty statement, in a single folder.)


Final Exam: Thursday, May 5 (11-1)


Additional Policies and Information:

I do not give 'makeup' assignments, and unless an exceptional opportunity arises that is directly related to the course material, I do not offer 'extra credit' opportunities: you will all be assessed by the same methods on the same assignments. If youfind that you are having trouble with the course material, adjust your study schedule, come to my office hours or make an appointment at the Writing Center to get help with your writing.


Special Needs: If you have a registered disability that will require accommodation, please see me at the beginning of the semester; I will be happy to discuss your situation. If you have a disability that you have not yet registered through the Disabled Student Services Office, please contact Dr. Ann Phillips in Student Development (678-839-6428).


Cell Phones: Please turn cell phones off when you enter the classroom. Your time during class is committed to the class, and you may check messages outside of class hours.


Outside Sources and Academic Honesty: Academic dishonesty involves any attempt on your part to claim ideas and/or specific phrasing that you have gotten from elsewhere – including, but not limited to, Wikipedia, the dictionary, The New York Times,Sparknotes, an article you found that just sounds "better" than you think you could say it or your Aunt Sally – as your own or to fabricate sources or evidence so as to make your argument sound stronger. Plagiarism thus includes actions such as copying papers or online responses from the internet or other sources (including word-for-word copying and paraphrasing without citation), cheating on exams, turning in work written by someone else or turning in work that you previously submitted for another course.

*All work that you turn in for this course must be your work completed in this semester in response to an assignment for this class; course assignments are designed to help you develop a set of skills, not just produce information, and failure to do your own work both shortchanges you in this skill development process – rather like attempting to play basketball or sculpt a piece of wood without mastering the dribble or learning about your tools – and violates the shared trust of this course.

*Academic dishonesty is a serious offense, and plagiarizing any assignment or part thereof, regardless of the relative value of the assignment in the calculation of your course grade, is grounds for failure of the course.

*In keeping with departmental and university honor policies, all cases of academic dishonesty will be reported both to the Chair of the English Department and to the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. In short, do your own work and when you use outside information, provide accurate citations for it. For more on the English Department's plagiarism policy, see http://www.westga.edu/~engdept/Plagiarism/pladef.html.

*Students should append a signed copy of the following honor statement to each of the three formal writing assignments for the course: "I have read the course statement on academic honesty, and I pledge that all material I submit for credit in this class is my own work."

Deadlines and LatePolicy: Due dates forassignments are listed on the syllabus and in the instructions for eachassignment. All papers are due in class in the first ten minutes of class inhardcopy. Papers not received by this time will be considered late. Mystrictness regarding this particular policy stems from two considerations.First, if you are not in class, you are missing discussion and thus cours ematerial. In addition, it is disruptive to the class and distracting for boththe instructor and other students to have others straggling in midway throughthe class period. Plan your schedule so that you can have papers printed andready by the time class begins. No papers will be accepted over email. Forthe short essays, a late penalty of one half of a letter grade will beassessed for each day they are late. Papers that are more than four days late(including weekend days and holidays) will receive an automatic "F."Extensions will be granted only if you have a verifiable medical or othersufficiently serious ("seriousness" will be determined at the instructor's discretion) excuse and you request an extension (in person, via email or phone) before the paper deadline. Regardless of your situation, no extensions will be granted beyond the four-day late period. Having papers orexams for other classes, a schedule conflict with work or other responsibilities, or simply being "swamped" are not sufficiently serious excuses and will not result in your being granted an extension. Late penalties for papers turned in outside of class will be assessed based on when I receive the paper, since if you do not hand it to me directly,I cannot verify when you turned it in. For the final project, no late papers will be accepted, nor will papers be accepted over email. You have th elast third of the semester to plan and complete this assignment; make sure that you get it in on time.


Paper Format: Your paper should be typed, double-spaced, ina standard 12 point font (preferably Times New Roman) with 1" top/bottommargins and 1-1.25" left/right margins. Big fonts, extra spaces betweenyour paragraphs, large margins and even atypically large periods are pretty easyto spot, so stick to the standard size guidelines and use the revision processto help you generate enough information to present a clear and well-reasonedanalysis within the designated space limitations. Papers are required to haveinline citations where appropriate and a descriptive title (i.e. not "Dubliners" but "Images of Darkness in Dubliners"), and you must number your pages andstaple (NOT paper clip, glue, or origami fold) them together. Include your signed honor statement at the end of your text.