Saturday, January 10, 2009

English 211 Women's Literature

Professor Diana Joseph

Office: AH 201 L, extension 5144

Office Hours: On Campus: Tuesday & Thursday 12-2; Wednesday 2-3; or by appointment

Online: Monday & Friday 10-12


English 211: Women’s Literature

Course Description

This section of English 211 focuses on women’s literature. In it, we will explore how selected women writers explore questions about gender and identity, women’s roles within the family and the community, and how women have been perceived culturally and historically; we will also examine their artistic concerns, themes, images, and metaphors. Because this course is writing intensive, various genres of writing will be read, discussed, and produced.

Course Goals:

This course will address the following competencies for three General Education categories.

Category 1c: Writing Intensive

Goal: Students will continue to develop skills taught in Composition, applying them in the context of a particular discipline.

Students will be able to:

(a) use writing to explore and gain a basic familiarity with the questions, values and analytical or critical thinking methods used in the discipline;

(b) locate, analyze, evaluate, and use source material or data in their writing in a manner appropriate to intended audiences (popular or within the discipline)

Category 6: Humanities and the Arts

Goal: To expand students' knowledge of the human condition and human cultures, especially in relation to behavior, ideas, and values expressed in works of human imagination and thought. Through study in disciplines such as literature, philosophy, the fine arts, students will engage in critical analysis, form aesthetic judgments, and develop an appreciation of the arts and humanities as fundamental to the experiences in both the arts and humanities.

Students will be able to:

(a) demonstrate awareness of the scope and variety of works in the arts and humanities;

(b) understand those works as expressions of individual and human values within a historical and social context;

(c) respond critically to works in the arts and humanities;

(e) articulate an informed personal reaction to works in the arts and humanities.

Category 7: Human Diversity

Goal: To increase students' understanding of individual and group differences, emphasizing the dynamics of race, gender, sexual orientation, age class, and/or disabilities in the history and culture of diverse groups in the United States; the contributions of pluralism to United States society and culture; and issues--economic, political, social, cultural, artistic, humanistic, and education traditions--that surround such diversity. Students should be able to evaluate the United States' historical and contemporary responses to group differences.

Students will be able to:

(a) understand the development of and the changing meanings of group identities in the United States' history and culture;

(b) demonstrate an awareness of the individual and institution dynamics of unequal power relations between groups in contemporary society;

(c) analyze and evaluate their own attitudes, behaviors, concepts, and beliefs regarding diversity, racism, and bigotry;

(d) describe and discuss the experience and contributions (political, social, economic, artistic, humanistic, etc.) of the many groups that shape American society and culture, in particular those groups which have suffered discrimination and exclusion;

(e) demonstrate communication skills necessary for living and working effectively in a society with great population diversity.

Course Requirements and Grading

In accordance with university policy allowing shaded grades, grades for this course include plusses and minuses.

Texts and Materials


Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango House.

Karr, Mary. The Liars’ Club.

McCracken, Elizabeth. An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination.

Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis.

$ for copying/printing expenses. All outside readings must be printed and brought to class.


Any English handbook that details MLA documentation


1. Reading Quizzes= 10%

At the beginning of almost every class, I’ll give a quiz for that day’s reading assignment. Each quiz will be worth ten points (five questions; two points each.) Quizzes missed because of absence or tardiness cannot be made up, but I will drop your three lowest scores.

2. Participation=10%

Participation is not merely showing up for class—that’s attendance. I define participation as your

active engagement with the class demonstrated through thoughtful contributions to class discussion,

evidence of preparedness, and helpful feedback during workshops. Because this class relies so heavily on

participation, you can’t sit silently and expect to do well (that’s called intellectual freeloading.) But I also

don’t want one voice to dominate class discussions. Expect to listen as much as you talk. Finally, each of

you will offer an assessment of your peers workshop responses; I will take this into consideration when

determining participation grades.

3. Essays

You’ll write two formal essays: a Personal Narrative=30% and a Research Paper=30%

Each essay will be generated by a prompt/exercise assigned in class; at least one of these will go through a large group workshop. Each essay is due in hard copy (not emailed) at the beginning of class on the assigned date. You’ll receive a criteria sheet for each essay that details its specific requirements.

4. Final Exam=20%

This exam will be comprised of questions that require an in-class, written critical response to the assigned readings.

Course Policies

All course work must be completed to pass this class.

All work must be typed; handwritten work will not be accepted.

Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated; it may result in failure of the class.

Graded essays drop five points for every day (including weekends) they are late.

Frequent tardiness will negatively impact your grade.

Readings and assignments are tentative and subject to change.

All writing you do for this class is considered public text.

I’m available for help outside class during my office hours or by appointment.

Drafts are due the class day BEFORE your workshop. Bring copies for everyone in the class.

Workshops cannot be made up. Absence on your workshop day or failing to turn in your

workshop draft wastes your peers’ time and results in a five point deduction from that

assignment’s grade.

English 211 Schedule of Events

Tuesday, January 13 Orlean, “The American Man at Age Ten”

Thursday, January 15 Kinkaid, “Girl”

Tuesday, January 20 Beard, “The Fourth State of Matter”

Thursday, January 22 Allison, “This Is Our World”

Tuesday, January 27 Cisneros

Thursday, January 29 Minot, “Lust”

Tuesday, February 3 Rosin, “A Boy’s Life”

Thursday, February 5 Ruiz, “Oranges and Sweet Sister Boy”

Tuesday, February 10—March 5 Large Group Workshop

March 10/March 12—Spring Break

Tuesday, March 17 Personal Narrative Due

Thursday, March 19 Satrapi

Tuesday, March 24 McCracken

Thursday, March 26 Karr

Tuesday, March 31 Karr

Thursday, April 2—April 28 Large Group Workshop

Thursday, April 30 Researched Personal Narratives Due

Final Exam: Wednesday, May 6 10:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m

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