This course will be taught as a seminar, so general attentiveness and active contribution to discussion will be particularly important, and more than two (2) absences will significantly and adversely affect your final grade. Please read the assigned material before class and come prepared with questions and issues you would like to address (at times I will give you more specific instructions for this).
–!> There are two concrete assignments for class participation: a week-long log of your information consumption and blog posting.
Log of information consumption (Week 2)
In the spirit of the UCSD studies of information consumption (we will discuss), I would like you to keep a rough log of the same for one week, beginning in week 2. The mode of documentation and reporting is up to you. Results will be presented and discussed in class when the experiment is over. This is the week in which we generate our own quantitative data about our reading practices.
As part of your participation grade, a small number of blog posts will be required throughout the term. Specifically, you will be asked to do the following:
(1) Contribute two posts of substance about the course reading or lectures. “Of substance” means that you will be writing more than one-two sentences. You might also find an article or cultural object (art, film, novel) that would be of interest to the class and post about that, including external links. Again, you would need to do more than provide a link; your blog post should contextualize your find and relate it to the class.
(2) Respond to one or more of the other posts published by your peers. The idea here is to foster online dialogue, which we will discuss as a counterpart to the “real-time” space of the classroom.
Less-formal position statement (10%)
You will also be asked to contribute one blog post of substance on the specific topic of present and future forms of literary reading. The rhetorical model will be the entries in I Read Where I Am, so the deadline will be May 21, the second day we discuss this text. The topic of “futures” is grandiose so your comments can and perhaps should be speculative, if not visionary, if you take this approach. You may want to be less speculative, however, and comment on present habits, an experimental print text, or one of the works of electronic literature on our syllabus.
Close reading assignment for In the Cage (15%)
“Close reading” means you should give an explication, exegesis, or exposition of a part of the text as a way of gesturing toward a reading of the whole. The easiest way to achieve this narrow telescopic focus is to pick a passage, or a set of passages, and tell the reader what you see; what the passage, word, or phrase means on its own; and what it means in the context of the overall narrative. From this close reading or exegesis, you will generate the thesis of your short paper.
–!> 500 words minimum; to be posted in the form of a comment on the “close readings” page on this blog.
–!> Due by midnight on Sunday, April 26, at the latest. Comments will be held for moderation until I read them, so don’t be alarmed if you don’t immediately see your text after posting.
Position paper (25%)
Questions and topics for the midterm papers will be assigned. Papers will be 4-5 pages in length. Papers are due May 8, in my box in the English department. Hard copies only.
Final project: research report (20%)
The final assignment for this course will be to produce a research report on an artifact, broadly conceived, that instantiates some of the primary themes and questions that we will be considering throughout the term. The standard format of these reports will follow the guidelines adopted by the Transliteracies research project, but we will discuss the assignment at length in class. These reports should be published online in PDF format and I will link them to our course website.
–!> Deadline: Tuesday, June 9
–!> Model reports: Trina Lazzara, Where You Are: Transcending Boundaries; Juan Valencia, Ineradicable Stain; Elizabeth Shayne, Biblion: Frankenstein; Dana Solomon, Page 1: Great Expectations
–!> Links, a non-exhaustive list, to be updated on occasion over the next few days: Post-Digital Publishing Archive; Brave New World; Mobile Poetics bibliography; Vectors archive; Center for Book Arts; Artists’ Books Online
// All assignments, including the required blog posts, must be completed in order to receive a passing grade in this course.
// The attendance policy is firm.
// Particularly because we will be self-consciously reflecting on our media habits, you can expect that your texting, shopping, or use of social media in class will quickly become an object of class discussion. If you wish to avoid such collective scrutiny, I would advise you to plan to forego everything from Snapchat to Yik Yak for at least 75 minutes twice a week.
// Since much of our reading is online, you may find helpful this guide prepared by my colleague, Alan Liu: Methods for Studying Online Materials