Blog Entries (30%)
Each week, three students will be assigned to post blog entries related to the reading we’ll discuss in class. The entries should introduce an interesting angle others won’t likely have thought about. Be creative with them. Possible genres for blog posts include:
- An explanation of the argument of a scholarly article about a novel or author we’re reading
- A discussion of the innovations of an adaptation of a novel we’re reading
- An imitation, homage, or parody of a writer or text we’re reading
- An adaption of a scene from a novel (in video, prose, poetry, graphic narrative, or any genre of your choice)
- An overview of a public or online response to the author or text.
- A comparison between two texts
- A discussion of the ways a nineteenth-century scientific text illuminates a novel (or vice versa)
These are suggestions, not requirements. Feel free to devise your own modes or genres. Blog entries will require some research, but they need not be particularly formal. Experiment with them. Explore. I’ll evaluate entries based primarily on critical engagement (assigning a score between 1 and 10 for each). Entries should be about 3 – 5 short paragraphs in length and should integrate relevant links, visual materials, or video.
Blog Comments (10%)
Each week, students who have not posted blog entries should post a response to at least one of that week’s posts–for a total of ten responses over the course of the semester. Responses need not be lengthy or formal, but they should offer substance: questions about the material posted, links to related material, observations about or counter-arguments to points the author has made. I will evaluate comments based on engagement (assigning each a score between 1 and 10).
Be sure to complete the reading for each week’s meeting and come prepared to participate in course discussions and activities. We are a small group, and we’ll conduct the course like a seminar. The goal will be to help each other discover new ideas, ask new questions, and build new interpretations through conversation and group activities. Full participation is essential for success in the course.
In groups, you will compile timelines on topics of the group’s choice (for example, “Charles Dickens’s London,” “Victorian Psychology,” or “The Gothic from Mary Shelley to Oscar Wilde). Each group will design, format, and publish their timeline. Each student will write a short email to me describing the division of labor and process for the creation of the timeline.
Each student will complete an essay for a course website we’ll build together–an online anthology of your essays.
In your essay, you will make an argument about how a literary text and a psychological or scholarly one might illuminate each other with regard to a question about a particular aspect of the mind or mental experience–for example, dreams, hypnotic states, desire, consciousness, or relationships between mind and body. Your job will be to identify texts that ask related questions and then guide readers toward understanding how each text can help us understand the other–as well as the question(s) they share.
You will complete your essays in stages, including a proposal, annotated bibliography, a draft, and a revision for our web project. You will work in writing groups, offering each other feedback throughout the process. Essays should be 1,500 – 2,000 words, organized into a series of pages readable in web format, integrating relevant visual material, links, or video. I will assign a grade to the completed project, but not the earlier stages. Note: You might consider adapting one of your blog posts into an essay project.