For each week of class readings, you are responsible for posting two (2) questions together to your Plymouth Create site (discussed below). These should be questions about the readings for the week, and should address thematic or stylistic issues. Think of the questions as guides for class discussion. For example: Why did the author choose to end the story this way? Why does the poem use a specific metaphor? How does history change our reading of the work? Each question should specifically cite and quote one of the texts we are discussing that week. For each quotation, try to answer that question yourself. Answers may be speculative rather than definitive.
Each question and its answer should be 150 words minimum, not counting the quotations. Each set of questions is one post. Please categorize your post as “Questions and Reflections” and add tags as appropriate.
If you’re participating synchronously, you can post these questions on either Monday or Wednesday. Please post questions on the readings for that day (Monday or Wednesday) so that they’re best fitted for our synchronous discussion.
For each week of class readings, after you’ve participated in class discussion (synchronous or asynchronous), you should write and post a reflection on that discussion to your Plymouth Create site. The subject matter of this reflection is up to you: are you interested in a particular line or scene we discussed at length? one we didn’t discuss? a connection to contemporary culture? Be sure to include brief quotations and citations to the literary work in question. If you’re connecting our discussion to contemporary culture, please include references, such as hyperlinks to other material, embedded videos, images, or Tweets, or your own original creative work.
Each weekly reflection should be a 200 words minimum. Please categorize your post as “Questions and Reflections” and add tags as appropriate. We will set aside time at the end of our synchronous class meetings for these reflections.
For each week of class readings, you should comment on two separate Weekly Questions or Weekly Reflections posts from your classmates. We will set aside time in our synchronous class meetings to respond to each other’s work. The goal of these comments is to bring some of our discussion outside of the traditional face-to-face classroom and into our shared digital space.
Each comment should be 100 words minimum. Make sure you’re signed into WordPress when you post your comments. Otherwise I will not be able to track your contributions.
You will complete a Project at three moments in the semester. These projects can either be Essays or Unessays.
Essays should be traditional 1500-word minimum papers connecting a single theme across multiple texts/authors from that particular unit. (These may be texts we’ve read for class as well as texts from the broader literary period). These essays should emphasize coverage as well as argument and analysis. Be sure to quote and cite the literary texts as evidence for your argument. While outside research is not required for these essays, well-deployed research makes for a stronger argument. (Word counts include all material in the essay, including headers, notes, and the list of works cited.)
Unessays should be a creation to show what you’ve learned. Maybe you could illustrate a scene from a play we’ve read, or maybe you could create a board game that would teach players something about European imperialism, or maybe you could write (and perform?) a song inspired by Kalidasa. If you’re a writer, maybe write a short story that revises or rewrites a scene from Danticat or Chikamatsu. Paint a portrait (or do a photoshoot) that contemplates sea travel. Maybe your project will connect something we’ve read to your experience of the global pandemic we’re currently living through. You can even consider hybrid forms between the Essay and Unessay, like a public-facing essay or an argument that builds on autobiography. The possibilities are literally endless. (Note: Your unessay should not be a Presi or Powerpoint-style presentation.)
Your unessay should be accompanied by a 600-word minimum (or short video) explanation of what you did and why, and how it responds to the question: Why does literature matter?
How will your unessay be evaluated? Your unessay will be evaluated based on how creative, compelling, and relevant it is. Creative is a broad term, but your idea should be original and unique. Compelling means that people will want to look at your project because it is attractive, interesting, and carefully produced (not sloppy and haphazard). Relevant means that it really engages with an original piece, author, or historic period that we’ve studied this semester, with attention to details and accuracy. (Unessay assignment adapted with permission from Kristin Stelmok.)
Due dates are listed on the course schedule found on each unit’s page. Please categorize each post accordingly (“First Project,” “Second Project,” or “Third Project”) and add tags as appropriate.
Participation in Course Website
You will be a co-author on this Plymouth Create site for your weekly Questions and Reflections and for your Projects for this class. I ask that you post under an appropriate Creative Commons license so that I may share your work with future iterations of this course. However, sharing your work after the semester ends is not mandatory, and you’re free to take down your posts after December 31. You’re also free to use a pseudonym for your username if you’d prefer.
All finalized posts are due by the evening of November 30.