Spring 2016 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Gu, Ming
Discipline and Number
HUMA 3300 Section 001
TR Time 11:30 AM - 12:45 PM
Course Title
Reading and Writing Texts

Description of Course:

This course is a preliminary introduction to literary criticism and its methodologies. Its objective is to teach students how to go beyond the intuitive and commonsensical approach to literature and lay an initial conceptual grounding in critical methodologies for literary and cultural studies. Despite its concern with aspects of literary criticism, it is actually a practical reading and writing course guided by ideas of literary studies and critical methodologies. It consists of two major components: 1) to learn basic ideas and approaches of major schools of literary thought; 2) to apply the acquired critical approaches to selected literary and visual texts, which include a poem, a painting, two short stories, a Shakespearean play, two novels, and three films adapted from the play and novels. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach to reading and writing, we will lay emphasis on how to read the chosen literary and visual texts from a variety of perspectives. By close reading the same texts again and again using different critical approaches, students will have an opportunity to assimilate major ideas and methodologies of literary criticism and become sophisticated and thoughtful readers and writers.

Required Texts:

Required Textbooks

1) Wilfred Guerin, et al., A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature, 6th edition, Oxford University Press, 2011.
2) William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Dover Publications, 1992.
Suggested Books:
1) Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, Dover Publications; Third edition, 1994.
2) Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Dover Publications, 1994.

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

The course will be conducted through a mixture of lectures, instructor-led discussions, film-viewing, and student presentations. Students will read reading assignments outside class and watch films in class. Regular attendance and participation in the classroom activities are required of all students. Each student is required to give two presentations with summaries, write a mid-term paper, and take a final in-class examination. Specific requirements for presentations, summaries, and take-home examinations will be given. The grading is based on the following:

1) 1 in-class presentation 5%
2) 8 Mini-quizzes (one can be dropped) 35%
3) Midterm paper 25%
4) Final Examination 25%
5) Attendance and Participation in discussion 10%
Total: 100%

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