Readings and Assignments


Note: Readings and assignments are due on the day they are listed on the syllabus. Changes or additions to the readings may occur throughout the semester. These will be announced in class.


An Introduction, Theoretically

“Literary theory is at its best when it helps us realize what we are really doing when we study literature.”

~Stephen Bonnycastle, In Search of Authority: An Introductory Guide to Literary Theory


M 1/7        Introduction to the course


W 1/9        Developing metacognition as thinkers, readers, and teachers



M 1/14       Why theory in the English classroom? Appleman, Ch. 1


W 1/16       Textual Tours: Appleman, Ch. 2


Unifying the Work

“I learned to think of the literary text as an edifice. Almost as a temple. Complete, autonomous, organically whole, sacrosanct. We approached it with reverence. We might make temple rubbings and we were encouraged to explain how its arches carried its

weight and to speculate on the organic relationship between its form and function. But it was an edifice and we were spectators before its splendors.”

~ Ben Nelms, Literature in the Classroom


M 1/21 MLK Holiday, no classes, offices closed


W 1/23       New Criticism & Pedagogy: excerpt from Regents’ Diagnostic Exam; assign Judith Fetterley article summary (due 1/30)


Authorizing the Reader

“Interpretation is not the art of construing but the art of constructing. Interpreters do not decode [texts]; they make them.”

~Stanley Fish, Is There a Text in This Class?


“I have a male mind with male experiences. Therefore I see things through the perception of a man. I couldn’t relate to some of Virginia Woolf’s view and I despised the way she pushed her view on the reader. This was brought on by my masculinity, I feel.”

~Bill, Grade 12, after reading A Room of One’s Own


M 1/28       Reader Response: Appleman, Ch. 3. Begin The House on Mango Street (1-110)


W 1/30       Reading and the ‘male mind’: Assenting and Resisting Readers: clip from Short Cuts and Mango Street cont.-

Article Summary due



M 2/4        The House on Mango Street cont-. / Assign guidelines for Essay 1.


W 2/6        Feminism: Appleman, Ch. 5. Mad About You episode / nature versus nurture exercise & discussion / basic questions of feminism.


A Lens of One’ Own: Gendering the Text

“Feminist criticism is a political act whose aim is not simply to interpret the world but to change it, by changing the consciousness of those who read and their relationship to what they read.”

~Judith Fetterley, The Resisting Reader


M 2/11       Theoretical Intersections: reader-response, feminism, & Mango Street 


W 2/13       Class cancelled



M 2/18       Thesis and paragraph construction workshop.


W 2/20       Bring a full draft of Essay #1. Assign guidelines for research paper and proposal.


The Graphic Classroom: Privilege, Social Class, and Pedagogy

“Ideology is less tenacious as a ‘set of ideas’ than as a system of representations, perceptions, and images that precisely encourages men and women to ‘see’ their specific place in a historically peculiar social formation as inevitable, natural…

there is no such thing as social discourse that is nonideological” ~James Kavanagh, “Ideology”


M 2/25       Marxism: Appleman, Ch. 4. “Go West” campaign Ch. 4. Begin American Born Chinese. Assign midterm.

Essay 1 due


W 2/27       American Born Chinese cont.-; Assign guidelines for Essay #2.



M 3/4        Midterm Due—submit to my office by 2:00p.m.

Last day to withdraw with a grade of W


W 3/6        Undergraduate Conference. Because the conference will replace all afternoon English classes (12:30-1:50, 2-3:20, 3:30-4:50), students should plan to attend a session scheduled for their regular class time.


A (dis)Course on Race and the Imperial I/Eye

“It makes little sense to define “ethnicity-as-such,” since it refers not to a thing-in-itself but to a relationship: ethnicity is typically based on a contrast…. Ethnic identity, seen this way, ‘is logically and historically the product of the assertion that ‘A is an X because he is not a Y’

--a proposition which makes it remarkably easy to identify Xness. By the same token, the definition of Xs as non-Ys threatens to exaggerate their differences in such a way that if the Xs think of themselves as human, they may therefore consider the Y s as somehow nonhuman.”

~Werner Sollors, “Ethnicity”


M 3/13       Postcolonialism: Appleman, Ch. 6. Applications to American Born Chinese.


W 3/15       American Born Chinese cont.- / workshop ideas for Essay 2.



M 3/18

} Mar 18-Mar 24, Spring Break, no classes

W 3/20


Let’s Give Them Something to Talk (and think) About: Using Literary Theory in the Classroom

“Critical theory ... is generated in and through classroom practice, rather than imported from without.” ~James F. Slevin


M 3/25       Peer Critique (full draft); **Note** you must bring a completed draft to participate; otherwise, you will be dismissed and counted absent for that day.


W 3/27       Appleman, Ch. 8 & 9. Discuss Pedagogy Project for final exam.

Essay 2 due



M 4/1        Literary research workshop.


W 4/3        Workshop on research proposal: samples, strategies, being conversant with secondary sources. Discuss documentation and plagiarism. Incorporating outside sources effectively.



M 4/8        Proposal Due / Documentation Guidelines Review.


Note: Tues. Apr 9

Honors Convocation - ALL Classes are cancelled from 1-4 pm


W 4/10       Return and discuss proposals with peers and me. Work on research paper or final pedagogy project.



M 4/15       Drafting / Composing / Workshopping. Work on research paper or pedagogy project.


W 4/17       Last day of class: Peer review of Essay 3: Bring one polished copy of your paper. This should include your Works Cited page (due for a daily grade). Wrap-up / course evaluations.



M 4/22       Research paper due by 9a.m. at my office


Th 4/25      Pedagogy Project due (bring to my office between 2-4:30p.m.)


Note well:  Grades will be posted to BanWeb following the final exam period. I will not distribute grades via phone or email.