C LIT 240 F: Writing In Comparative Literature

Meeting Time: 
MWF 11:30am - 1:20pm
Location: 
MGH 288
SLN: 
11826
Instructor:
Norma Kaminsky

Syllabus Description:

South African Fiction through a Historical Perspective

Course Description

This course is an introduction to writing critical essays about fiction. Selected 20th- and 21st- century narratives from South Africa are the basis for discussions and essays. Apartheid and post-apartheid history plays a crucial role in these works and will be kept in mind in our study of them. We will apply concepts learned from South African literature and history to more familiar contexts, such as race relations in the United States. Whole class and small group discussions, frequent short papers, and collaborative editing are steps for building skills of argument, communication, and analysis. Writing critical essays is an opportunity to approach larger issues such as: What kinds of understanding does the fiction stemming from historical events provide? How is fiction different from, and similar to, historical accounts—in terms of comprehensiveness and partiality, ambiguity and certainty, and aesthetic values? How does extra-textual information help to achieve a richer understanding of a literary text? And, conversely, how do fictional texts enrich our historical and social comprehension?

 

Objectives

C LIT 240 is intended to develop critical thinking while interpreting and writing about literary texts.

 Goals of this course are:

- To read representative South African narratives

- To formulate complex and persuasive arguments about the texts and their contexts

- To write critical essays about works of fiction

- To revise papers in order to express the claims, arguments, and analyses in coherent prose

 

 Course materials

- Course Packet available at Ave Copy Center, 4141 University Way NE

- Eprile, Tony. The Persistence of Memory (available at University Bookstore)

- Dangor, Achmat. Bitter Fruit (available at University Bookstore)

- Mhlongo, Niq. Dog Eat Dog (available at University Bookstore)

 

Requirements

- Attendance and participation are mandatory and represent 10% of the final grade. All students are expected to read all the required texts, participate in group discussions, in-class writing assignments, and peer editing.

- Occasional unscheduled reading quizzes will count toward the participation grade.

- Three short papers of 1-2 pages each examining one assigned text.

- One midterm 1000-1500-word essay (3-5 pages) about one work of fiction. You will ask a question or identify an interpretive problem, develop one main idea to address the question, and support your discussion with quotations, analyzing the relevance of certain characters, situations, and/or plot developments.

- One final 1500-2000-word comparative essay (5-7-pages) on at least two works studied in class.

- Peer editing: You will be divided into groups of 3 to comment on two peers' drafts of the midterm and final papers. The peer editing workshops are an integral part of your class participation, and your editing work will count towards your grade for that paper.

Late papers will not be accepted.

 

Grading

Participation                            10%

3 short papers                          40%

Midterm essay                         20%

Final essay                               30%

 

 

Academic conduct

Plagiarism, or academic dishonesty, is presenting someone else's ideas or writing as your own. You are encouraged to refer to other people's thoughts and writing—as long as you cite them. As a matter of policy, any student found to have plagiarized any piece of writing in this class will be reported to the College of Arts and Sciences for review. More information may be found at http://depts.washington.edu/grading/pdf/AcademicResponsibility.pdf

 

 

Resources and tutoring

- Odegaard Writing and Research Center provides writing and research assistance from trained writing tutors during all stages of the writing process. http://depts.washington.edu/owrc

- Clue (Center for Learning and Undergraduate Enrichment) offers help at any point of the writing process. http://depts.washington.edu/aspuw/develop/writing-center/

- Purdue Owl: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/679/01/

 

 Accommodation for students with disabilities

If you need accommodation for a disability, please contact the Disability Services Office (DSO) (http://www.washington.edu/admin/dso/students/index.html) and let me know on the first day of class.

CALENDAR

 

Unit

Day

 

Class content

Due today

I

 

WEEK 1

INTRODUCTION

 

1

W 24 SEP

Introduction to course; History of South Africa

 

2

F 26 SEP

History; "The Short Story in South Africa"

 

 

WEEK 2

SHORT STORIES

 

3

M 29 SEP

"The Finger of God"

 

4

W 1 OCT

"The Bench"; Nkosi

 

5

F 3 OCT

"The Music of the Violin"; "Learning to Fly"

 

 

 

 

 

 

II

 

WEEK 3

THE PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY

 

6

M 6 OCT

Persistence p. 1-64

Short paper 1: Stories

7

W 8 OCT

Persistence p. 65-126

 

 

WEEK 4

THE PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY

 

8

M 13 OCT

Persistence p. 126-193

 

9

W 15 OCT

Persistence p. 195-246

 

10

F 17 OCT

Persistence p. 246-290

 

 

 

 

 

 

III

 

WEEK 5

BITTER FRUIT

 

11

M 20 OCT

Bitter Ch. 1-5

Short paper 2: Persistence

12

W 22 OCT

Bitter Ch. 6-10

 

 

WEEK 6

BITTER FRUIT

 

13

M 27 OCT

Bitter Ch. 11-16

 

14

W 29 OCT

Bitter Ch. 17-23

 

15

F 31 OCT

Bitter Ch. 24-30

 

 

 

 

 

 

IV

 

WEEK 7

THE NEW SOUTH AFRICA

 

16

M 3 NOV

Post-apartheid South Africa; political writing

Midterm essay

17

W 5 NOV

"Survival Mechanisms"

 

 

WEEK 8

"KARMA"

 

18

M 10 NOV

"Karma" p. 151-201

 

19

W 12 NOV

"Karma" p. 203-237

 

 

WEEK 9

TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION

 

20

M 17 NOV

The TRC, reconciliation, and Disgrace

Short paper 3: "Karma"

21

W 19 NOV

Disgrace film

 

 

WEEK 10

DOG EAT DOG

 

22

M 24 NOV

Dog Eat Dog p. Ch. 1-15

 

23

W 26 NOV

Dog Eat Dog p. Ch. 16-27

 

 

F 28 NOV

THANKSGIVING

 

 

 

 

 

 

V

 

WEEK 11

CONCLUSIONS

 

24

M 1 DEC

Conferences

Outline final essay

25

W 3 DEC

Conferences

Outline final essay

26

F 5 DEC

Final remarks and conclusions; Peer-editing

 

 

T 9 DEC

Due Final essay

Final essay

 

Catalog Description: 
Comparative approach to literature and a workshop in writing comparative papers in English. Emphasis on cross-cultural comparison of literary works. Readings in English with an option to read selected texts in the original languages Offered: AWSp.
GE Requirements Met: 
English Composition (C)
Writing (W)
Other Requirements Met: 
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
April 28, 2016 - 9:20am