Course Outline Winter 2008 Check List

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DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH
TRENT UNIVERSITY
ENGL2707H: Popular Fiction
Summer S62 2014
Peterborough
Instructor: Sara Humphreys
Email:
[email protected]
Telephone: x5027
Campus: Symons
Office Location: SC203 (our
classroom)
Office Hours: one
hour after class (12pm
to 1pm)
Course Description:
If you want to study popular fiction (who doesn’t!), then you will need to negotiate and navigate the
context of any “popular” text you might want to study. That is, the term “popular” is a category of
value that changes based on time period, cultural context, and attendant social norms .For
example, did you know that Shakespeare was the Suzanne Collins or Stephen King of his day? At
least he was to a number of his critics, who thought he was nothing more than an “upstart crow”
whose work would never last. Now his name is synonymous with “classic” literature! In this course
we will ask: what makes a work popular? Sometimes, we will study how certain works question the
idea of “popularity,” and in other instances, we will learn that the print text is only one component
part of a story’s popularity. We will also question the assumptions of the literary canon; the concept
of “taste”; and the function of fiction.
Required Texts:
Primary Sources:
Novels:
Suzanne Collins. The Hunger Games. ISBN #978-0439023528
Solomon Northup. 12 Years a Slave. ISBN #9781551111148
Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom’s Cabin. ISBN #978-0345478238
Lucy Maud Montgomery Anne of Green Gables ISBN #978-0770422059
Short Stories:
(Note: we are focusing on popular Internet fiction – the links are on Blackboard)
Allie Brosh Hyperbole and a Half (selections)
Matthew Inman The Oatmeal (selections)
Creepypasta.com: short horror micro-fiction (selections) (trigger warning)
Film:
I will be showing clips from certain franchises and films, and I will post links to the streaming
version of these films where possible. However, it is your responsibility to watch these films.
Kevin Sullivan Anne of Green Gables (1985)
Gary Ross The Hunger Games (2012)
Steven McQueen 12 Years a Slave (2013)
Secondary Sources:
(Note: the books will be placed on reserve in case you want to read the originals and the essay will
be posted on Blackboard. The “Notes” comprise the main ideas from these important but
challenging theoretical texts)
Notes on Pierre Bourdieu’s Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste and The Field
of Cultural Production
Notes on Theodor Adorno’s and Max Horkheimer’s “The Culture Industry”
Notes on Jane Tompkin’s Sensational Designs
Notes on Frank Moretti’s “The Slaughterhouse of Literature”
Notes on John Fiske’s The Popular
Recommended Texts:
Please be sure to use the resources on Trent University Academic Skills site
(https://www.trentu.ca/academicskills/) to help you with writing and citing.
learningSystem/Blackboard:
This course uses Blackboard. Please note that you are expected to check Blackboard for
videos and other course material on a bi-weekly basis.
Course Format:
Type
Day
Interactive Lecture
Tues and
Thurs
Tues and
Thurs
Time
(times are
approximate and
subject to
change)
9:00am to
10:30am
10:30am to
10:40am
Tues and
Thurs
10:40am to
11:50am
Break
Seminar/Discussion Groups
Location
SC203
Wherever you
would like to go
within 10 to 15
minutes
SC203
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Learning Outcomes: I have developed the course to address several learning outcomes.
By the end of the course a successful student should:







Have gained an understanding of the relationship between print culture and popular
fiction
Have an understanding of how popular narratives transform across contexts and
histories
Have a sense of the arbitrary nature of cultural value and production
Have been exposed to theories about taste and cultural capital
Have explored models of reading and reading publics and look closely at more
recent developments like fan fiction communities and franchises
Have addressed the role of evolving technologies in shaping the production and
consumption of popular fiction
Have explored the material culture that springs up around blockbusters and
bestsellers
Course Evaluation:
Normally at least 25% of the grade in an undergraduate course must be determined and
made available by the final date for withdrawal. Final date for withdrawal for summer 2014;
summer term 2 is July 17th. No final examination is worth more than 50% of the final
grade.
Type of Assignment (e.g, test, essay, lab
report, etc. and provide an explanation for
each )
Seminar Journals
Weighting
Due Date
3 x 10%
In-Class Essay
Project proposal
Final project
Take Home Exam
15%
10%
25%
20%
July 3rd, July 15th,
July 29th
July 10th
July 17th
July 31st
August 3rd
Seminar Journals:
In this short paper, you are invited to expand on one question or discussion from the seminar
period. These are to be posted on Blackboard in the “journals” section of the site.
In-Class Essay:
A type of free-writing exercise to test how well you can use the terminology and concepts related
to the study of popular fiction.
Project Proposal:
A short paper that offers you the opportunity to explore what you want to research and write about
for your final project.
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Final Project:
You have three choices:
1. Creative fan fiction blog or paper (which will also include a five page analysis of your
creative choices)
2. Blog (more info given in class)
3. 8-10 page paper
Week-by-week schedule
(Subject to change with as much notice as possible)
June 24th: Review of Course Syllabus and Expectations
June 26th: What is Popular Culture and Why Should We Care?
 Lucy Maud Montgomery Anne of Green Gables (bookstore)
 Notes on John Fiske’s The Popular
July 1 is Canada Day = Stat Holiday!
July 3rd: Mass-Consumption and the Birth of the Franchise
 Lucy Maud Montgomery Anne of Green Gables
 Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games (up to Chapter 15)
 Notes on Pierre Bourdieu’s Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste
and The Field of Cultural Production
 Seminar journal one
July 8th: Remediation or What Films Do that Novels Can’t and Vice Versa
 Gary Ross The Hunger Games
 Kevin Sullivan Anne of Green Gables
 Notes on Theodor Adorno’s and Max Horkheimer’s “The Culture Industry”
July 10th: The Book that Changed the World Part I
 Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom’s Cabin
 In-Class Essay
July 15th: The Book that Changed the World Part II
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


Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Notes on Jane Tompkin’s Sensational Designs
Seminar journal two
July 17th: The Material Culture of the Popular




Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Lucy Maud Montgomery Anne of Green Gables
Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games
Proposal Due
July 22nd: The Canon and the Popular: Categorical Problems


Notes on Frank Moretti’s “The Slaughterhouse of Literature”
Solomon Northup 12 Years a Slave
July 24th: Revising the Popular: Counter-Narratives


Solomon Northup 12 Years a Slave
Steve McQueen 12 Years a Slave
July 29th: Where is Popular Short Fiction? Online




Allie Brosh Hyperbole and a Half (selections)
Matthew Inman The Oatmeal (selections)
Creepypasta.com: short horror micro-fiction (selections)
Seminar journal three
July 31st: Groundhog Day


Course review and take home exam handed out
Final Project Due
Department and/or Course Policies:
Late Policy and Extensions: Late papers and extensions are dealt with on a case by
case basis. The penalty for late assignments is 5% per day, so please consult with the
instructor if you think your assignment might be late.
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Attendance: The course policy regarding attendance is clear and unambiguous: it is your
responsibility to show up for class fully prepared. Further, it is your responsibility to read
this syllabus carefully and understand the course expectations and deadlines.
E-mail: I return email within 48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays.
University Policies
Academic Integrity:
Academic dishonesty, which includes plagiarism and cheating, is an extremely serious
academic offence and carries penalties varying from a 0 grade on an assignment to
expulsion from the University. Definitions, penalties, and procedures for dealing with
plagiarism and cheating are set out in Trent University’s Academic Integrity Policy. You
have a responsibility to educate yourself – unfamiliarity with the policy is not an excuse.
You are strongly encouraged to visit Trent’s Academic Integrity website to learn more:
www.trentu.ca/academicintegrity.
Access to Instruction:
It is Trent University's intent to create an inclusive learning environment. If a
student has a disability and/or health consideration and feels that he/she may
need accommodations to succeed in this course, the student should contact the
Student Accessibility Services Office (SAS), (BH Suite 132, 705-748-1281 or
email [email protected]). For Trent University in Oshawa Student
Accessibility Services Office contact 905-435-5102 ext. 5024. Complete text can be
found under Access to Instruction in the Academic Calendar.
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