English 1100, Fall 2009
Welcome to an experimental section of Literary Interpretation where students will join the professor in a research and publication project on teaching contemporary literature and film from the Middle East!
Participation in this project will involve extensive and careful reading, research, maintaining a class blog, and writing a series of literary and film analysis papers as we follow English 1100 catalog description and course objectives.
Eight years after the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, our country remains engaged in protracted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and extensively involved politically, economically, and culturally in the region. Growing minority populations in English-speaking countries have cultural roots in the Middle East.
Most Americans know little about the area, its diversity of people and life patterns, the impact of migration, war, cultural, econonic and environmental change, the influence of American involvement, or even people of Middle Eastern origin in their own communities. Instead, the mass media fills us with stereotypes. At the same time there is a renaissance of authentic literature in and about the Middle East published in Arabic, Farsi, Turkish, Hebrew, French, and English -- increasingly available in translation.
The power of literature is it's ability to help us understand the perspective of others. Studying this literature from the Middle East will allow students to acquire the tools of literary interpretation, develop knowledge of an emerging body of world literature, and participate in writing a book for teachers addressing Middle Eastern literature in the classroom. (Routledge, a major international press, will publish this book in 2010 and students will be invited to sign a release allowing their names and writing to appear in the volume.)
The course will be divided into two primary sections. First, students will work individually and in groups selecting, reading, and analyzing literature addressing different topics:
Then these groups will lead the rest of the class in the study of the literature of the area they have investigated. See expectations for individual research and group leadership.
We will apply tools of close reading to additional cultural texts, including young adult fiction, images, graphic novels, film, the Internet, and so on as we engage in close reading and critical viewing.
Our section is held in a special wireless, laptop classroom in 3045 Brown Hall that will accommodate a range of activities using the internet and other technologies. A blog post of approximately 300 words should be completed before every class meeting.
Because the course is discussion based, your participation is vital to your own learning and to the learning of your classmates. Attendance will be taken and missing classes will lower your grade. Missing more than four classes may lead to failing. This course will follow WMU policies regarding academic honesty.
Given the experimental nature of this class, the current syllabus is provisional and will evolve with the course.
WMU has many resources to foster student health and well-being. I support the Safe on Campus environment (387-2123). If at any point in the semester if you feel stress, English 1100 offers free on-line therapy from Eliza!
My office is 723 Sprau Tower, 387-2605. Office hours are Thursday from 2:00-3:50 and by appointment. You can reach me via email.
Sep 8 Tuesday: Introductions, Form Groups, Start Blog
Sep 10 Thursday Middle East Stereotypes
Sep 15 Tuesday: Aunt Safiyya
Sep 17 Thursday: Aunt Safiyya
Sep 22 Tuesday: Paper Ideas & Group Work
Sep 24 Thursday Brief History of the Middle East & Group Work
Sep 29 Tuesday America in the Middle East & Group Work
Oct 1 Thursday Oil and Middle East & Group Work
Oct 6 Tuesday Islam & Group Work
Dec 14-18: Finals Week
Dec 14 Monday 2:45 - 4:45 Scheduled Final Exam
Final List: Reading, Film, and Speakers