Short Essay (1500 words) or Presentation (20 minutes) = 20%
You will either write a short argumentative essay or prepare an oral presentation dealing with some aspect of the works (both primary and secondary) we have read up to the mid-point of the term. You may do some secondary research for this paper, but primarily I will be looking for arguments about the works and their implications. You need only address one work for this assignment, but are welcome to include more than one if your topic merits it and you can cover it adequately. Possible topics may include varying aesthetic strategies, constructions of gender and/or sexuality, class, race, violence, hygiene, medicine, nation and nationalism, etc. Be creative in thinking about how you would like to approach this material, but keep in mind that the result must be argumentative – it has to have a thesis that is supported by evidence. I will not be providing topics for this assignment, so begin thinking about them now. Right now.
Draft Term Paper – 0%
This draft of your term paper will not be marked by me, but must be handed in to receive a mark for the final paper. You are to email me an exact copy of what you give to your peer assessor for his or her critique. I will simply check to see that it has been done, which will allow you to receive a grade for the final paper. If you don’t hand this in, you get a zero on this assignment and may not hand in the term paper; get a zero on the term paper, and you fail the course. These versions must be full essays; notes or outlines are not acceptable. Treat them carefully.
Participation = 10%
As this is a seminar class, its success depends wholly on your participation. No “mute, inglorious Miltons” in here, please! I will be keeping track of who contributes to the class discussion, how often, how well, etc. If you talk, you will be fine; if you sit silently, you are conceding the easiest marks on offer this term. Please contribute every week — we’ll all have more fun as a result.
Critique (1000 wds) = 20%:
Two weeks before you hand in your term papers to me, you will exchange them with two classmates. Each of you will read two of your classmates’ papers and offer feedback on them. You will choose one of them on which to write a 500-word critique. This critique should be in-depth and should function as a corrective, commentary, and criticism of the paper’s strengths and weaknesses. It should look like an extensive end-comment on an essay; you are essentially marking your classmates’ essay. In particular, you will need to identify the paper’s thesis, evaluate its argument (and whether it has one), note whether the writer has specified the significance of the argument, and assess how well it is demonstrated. You should also mark spelling and grammar, but your primary focus should be on argument and significance. You will return the paper with the critique the week after you receive it. Bring one copy for your classmate and email a copy to me; if your classmate wishes, you may simply email the critique to him or her as well. Failure to do this part of the term’s work will result in a failing grade for the term; doing it late will cost you 3% per day off your final grade for the course.
Term Paper (2500 wds) = 30%:
You will write an extended essay dealing with at least three of the primary works we have read this term, and including reference to at least two of the secondary works. I expect you to do further research to supplement the course materials in this case, though as with the Short Essay the primary requirement is that your paper be argumentative. Do not simply rehearse facts and figures, or recount a literary history of the war. Possible topics may include all of those indicated for the Short Essay (i.e., varying aesthetic strategies, constructions of gender and/or sexuality, class, race, violence, hygiene, medicine, nation and nationalism, religion, science, technology, etc.), but you must write about works you did not write about for the Short Essay. I will be especially enamoured of papers that take unexpected perspectives on the works and/or which offer counter- or non-intuitive readings of works. I will be underwhelmed by works that point out the obvious.
Take-Home Final Exam (max 4500 words) = 20%
This assignment requires you to survey all the required readings from the term. You will need to
- Devise three rubrics into which you can organize all the material from the term. These may be thematic (e.g., sexuality, war, colonialism) or formal (e.g., experiments in perspective, stream of consciousness, chronology and narrative), or conceptual (e.g., being and time, relativity, totality and infinity), or something else altogether (e.g., ???).
- Write one brief essay on each rubric, outlining
- your logic of inclusion/exclusion — why did you group together the texts as you did?
- the continuities and discontinuities among the material — how do they fit together and where are there weaknesses, inconsistencies, or potential objections to the grouping?
- the broader insights about modernist narrative prose you believe might be articulated by your groupings. Take chances here — I don’t expect you to be definitive, masterful, or even correct; but I do expect you to indicate the breadth of your understanding, and a willingness/capacity to synthesize based on the material we have covered.
Each essay should be no longer than 1500 words; the total exam should not exceed 4500 words.
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