Rail yard background, from the Library of Congress

Connections

A Hypertext Resource for Literature

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Comedy

Sunday, August 20

First pre-semester meeting, 1:00

We will introduce ourselves, go over some information for registration, and discuss course planning in terms of majors, concentrations, spikes, and bumps. We will then talk about discussion dynamics in college courses. We will also discuss content- and process-related goals for our class time.


Thursday, August 24

The following readings are optional but highly recommended, especially the first two:

This is the first regular 8:30 Tutorial meeting. We will continue our conversation about plans and goals for the course.


Tuesday, August 29

Today's class session will be devoted first to a discussion of quotation practices and second to a group writing contest in which every student needs to have done the readings carefully in order to explain the group's answers. Be ready.


Thursday, August 31

  • Ronald de Sousa, "When Is It Wrong to Laugh?"

  • V. S. Ramachandran, "A Pain in the Brain"

  • Steven Johnson, "Survival of the Ticklish"

Group 1 response: The first of these readings comes from a perspective based mostly in humanistic and social scientific approaches to laughter. The other two describe recent developments in science and, in some ways, social science. Chose one specific moment in one of the readings where the author begins to address an issue that crosses disciplinary lines. Quote the author and use that moment as the starting point for your response.


Tuesday, September 5

  • Charles Perrault, "Cinderella" and "Blue Beard" (1697, from the fairy tales anthology)

    • The Wikipedia page on Cinderella provides a good introduction to the character's history and a useful set of external references.

Note: here and throughout this syllabus, when there are two kinds of readings for a given day, the first (less indented) list of readings is required, while the second (more indented) list of readings is supplemental and optional. Here, for example, the two fairy tales are required readings, but the Wikipedia page is optional.

Group 2 response: Many of you probably knew these stories as children, and most of you probably have not read them recently. (If that description does not match your experience, adjust your response accordingly.) Discuss what you see in fairy tales as grizzled young adults that you do not expect to find in fairy tales. What details jump out at you? How can you make sense of these two stories fitting in the same genre of the "fairy tale"?


Thursday, September 7

  • Rob Reiner, The Princess Bride (1987)

Group 3 response: Following up on the class discussion of fairy tales, write about an element of the film that seems out of place in the simple love story that structures the plot of The Princess Bride. What strikes you as unusual and interesting in the film, and why?


Tuesday, September 12

Be ready to tell a joke in class. Make it a clean one. Our discussion will focus on the structures of jokes and papers, and what they might have to do with each other.


Thursday, September 14

Today we will have class at the library to get at introduction to its physical and digital holdings.

Your assignment for today is to assemble a calendar of your semester that includes your regular obligations (such as class meetings) and unusual tasks (such as papers and exams). Ideally, your calendar will send you email reminders in advance of unusual tasks; Google's and Yahoo's free calendars will allow you to do that, or you may have a calendar you already use on your computer. Before Thursday's class session, email me a brief report on how your semester looks, especially noting any serious clusters of exams and papers.

Your assignment for Tuesday will be to write a paragraph describing your idea for a paper topic, with a provisional thesis if you have one. These will be due via email by 5:00 Monday afternoon. We will have individual conferences on Tuesday to discuss your topics.


Tuesday, September 19

First, read "Yes." Then, read the 30-point inspection. Finally, prepare yourself to discuss a specific moment in "Yes" that illustrates or works against each of these points in the inspection: 5-10, 16-18, 20, 21, and 23-30.

We will have brief individual conference to discuss your calendars and (especially) your paper ideas today.


Thursday, September 21

Workshop #1: papers from ** and **, with respondents ** and **.


FIRST PAPER DUE FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22ND
UNDER MY OFFICE DOOR BY 2:00 P.M.

Writers of papers for Workshop 1 can have an automatic extension until 2:00 Monday.


Tuesday, September 26

Group 1 response: Choose a specific passage that you would like us to discuss in class and explain your choice.


Thursday, September 28

  • Shakespeare, Much Ado, Acts II and III

Group 2 response: Choose a passage that takes our first discussion of the play in a new direction. Explain how your passage relates to our previous discussion and where you think it can take us.


Tuesday, October 3

  • Shakespeare, Much Ado, Acts IV and V

Group 3 response: Like Group 2 last time, choose a passage that takes our previous discussions of the play in a new direction. Explain how your passage relates to our previous discussions and where you think it can take us.


Thursday, October 5

  • Kenneth Branagh, Much Ado about Nothing (1993)

  • Connections on Film

Group 1 response: Discuss some element of Branagh's production that provides an interesting interpretation of a textual moment we discussed in class. Use that element as a way to talk about the way the film interprets the written text we read. Because this is a film, you do not have to observe the usual time for submitting responses; just post your response to the discussion board sometime before class and bring it to class. You will read it aloud.


Tuesday, October 10

Workshop #2: papers from ** and **, with respondents ** and **.


Thursday, October 12

Workshop #3: papers from ** and **, with respondents ** and **.


SECOND PAPER DUE FRIDAY, OCTOBER 13TH
UNDER MY OFFICE DOOR BY 2:00 P.M.

Writers of papers for Workshop 3 can have an automatic extension until 2:00 Monday. Because Monday is part of Fall Break, these papers can be submitted by email.


FALL BREAK
Tuesday, October 24

  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, volume I

Group 2 response: Open response.


Thursday, October 26

  • Austen, Pride and Prejudice, volume II

Group 3 response: Open response.


Tuesday, October 31

We meet at the library today to learn about finding different kinds of research sources. We will use Austen as the basis of our case study.


Thursday, November 2

  • Austen, Pride and Prejudice, volume III

Group 1 response: Open response.


Tuesday, November 7

Workshop #4: papers from ** and **, with respondents ** and **.


THIRD PAPER DUE WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 8TH
UNDER MY OFFICE DOOR BY 2:00 P.M.

Writers of papers for Workshop 4 can have an automatic extension until 2:00 Friday.


Thursday, November 9

Today's assignment is to fill out a full four-year course plan and to write about a page explaining the choices you made. This exercise, like our earlier discussions about long-term course planning, is meant to help you see what it's like to make a set of choices, not to lock you into anything or close off options. We will have individual conferences today, and you should bring your course plans, short essays, and backup plans for the spring to your conference.


Tuesday, November 14

  • Woody Allen, Manhattan (1979)

Group 1 oral presentations: Prepare your response as a short oral presentation of the same length as a normal response. As you write it, have in mind that you will be speaking to the class. When we talk about your presentation, we will discuss the effectiveness of the presentation itself as well as the content of your response.


Thursday, November 16

  • George Cukor, The Philadelphia Story (1940)

Group 2 oral presentations: (This is the same assignment that Group 1 had for Tuesday.) Prepare your response as a short oral presentation of the same length as a normal response. As you write it, have in mind that you will be speaking to the class. When we talk about your presentation, we will discuss the effectiveness of the presentation itself as well as the content of your response.


Tuesday, November 21

  • John Landis, Trading Places, 1993

Group 3 oral presentations: (This is the same assignment that Groups 1 and 2 had last week.) Prepare your response as a short oral presentation of the same length as a normal response. As you write it, have in mind that you will be speaking to the class. When we talk about your presentation, we will discuss the effectiveness of the presentation itself as well as the content of your response.


THANKSGIVING BREAK


Tuesday, November 28

Workshop #5: papers from ** and **, with respondents ** and **.


Thursday, November 30

Workshop #6: papers from ** and **, with respondents ** and **.


FOURTH PAPER DUE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1ST
UNDER MY OFFICE DOOR BY 2:00 P.M.

Writers of papers for Workshop 6 can have an automatic extension until 2:00 Monday.


Tuesday, December 5

Day 1 of portfolio presentations


Thursday, December 7

Day 2 of portfolio presentations


PORTFOLIOS DUE WEDNESDAY,
DECEMBER 13TH, 3:00 P.M.

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