- Fall 2014: Writing About Magic
- Spring 2015: Writing Through Media: The History (and Future) of the Book
- Fall 2015: Survey of American (Children's Fantasy) Literature
- Disneyfication of American Literature and Culture
Rhetorical Deathly Hallows
I developed the image above to teach my Summer 2015 ENC1101 students about rhetorical persuasion.
It is an update of the traditional rhetorical triangle to include not just logos, ethos, and pathos, but also telos and kairos.
Writing Through Media Introduction
This course can be considered both an introduction to the subfield of literary studies known as The History of the Book and a thought experiment on the future trajectories of the book. Books available through the Internet, ereaders, and self-publishing have all garnered much attention from the humanities recently, prompting scholars to not only reexamine the fundamental question, "What is a book?" but also to ask "What is the future of the book?" The first part of the semester will be devoted to the history of the book and the book as artifact. In the second part, students will explore contemporary book forms including eBooks, electronic popables, and augmented reality books. In the third part, we will infer potential future possibilities of the book: brain-computer interface technologies, Google Glass, a neural book transfer from the Matrix, or even modes we have not imagined yet.
Writing About Magic Student Learning Outcomes/Objectives
At the culmination of the term, students will be expected to know how to:
- creatively explore and apply themes of magic discovered in the course to own narrative work
- make analytical comparisons between texts in major works of English literature from 14th century to present day
- glean major concepts from fictional, critical, and theoretical texts and apply them to logical arguments
- write coherent, cohesive theses and develop them into works that contain thorough research, appropriate organization, and proper formatting
Survey of American Literature Assignment Description
Final Paper (1500+ words)
Write an original argument about the American children's fantasy genre. You may include texts we've read in class or bring in outside material. Consider historical context; themes of race, class, or gender; image/text interplay; ecological framework; and/or intended audience as jumping-off points for your essay.
Possible writing topics include, but are not limited to:
- Why is it important to study children's fantasy at the university level?
- How have American authors transformed the children's fantasy genre?
- In what ways does writing fantasy "for children" differ from writing without a specific audience in mind?
- Does American children's fantasy uphold or break down stereotypes of gender, class, and race?
- At what times does the American children's fantasy genre include more specifically American cultural moments and why?
- Do illustrations enhance works of children's fantasy more than other genres, and, if so, why?
For resources on how to develop an argument, see https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/588/1/
Design a presentation (Powerpoint or otherwise) that briefly introduces your thesis, a few of your main examples, and conclusion for the class.
Design a children's picture book/write a short story that deals in some way with American fantasy. Write a short accompaniment of your rhetorical decisions (e.g., the intended audience, the color scheme, any didacticism, world building, etc.).
Stick figure drawings, Microsoft paint art, pictures made from typography, crayons, colored pencils, finger painting, graffiti, AutoCAD, etc. are all acceptable and encouraged. Dig deep from your inner child and use your imagination. If your artistic skills have not advanced since you were 5, that's ok! Take inspiration from the books in the Baldwin to help you get ideas about what you want to write about. Maurice Sendak's Nutshell Library is especially useful for ideas about general forms like ABC, counting, or months of the year books. Consider if your skills lie in simple rhymes like those of Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, or simple narratives like Where the Wild Things Are, or retellings of classic myths like The Lightning Thief.
For resources on how to write about rhetorical decisions, see https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/625/1/
Your presentation should be you presenting your picture book or short story. Funny voices encouraged.
Final Paper + Presentation = 30% of course grade