108-01. Morehead

Spring 2010 ENGLISH 108.01/02
Craig Morehead
[email protected]
section 01 Bryan 204/ section 02 Petty 150
Office: MHRA 3112
Office Hours: TR 9.30 – 10.30 or by appointment
Special Topics in American and British Literature: Reading
Time(s) in Science and Literature
To borrow from Yogi Berra, “I will keep this short as long as I can.”
Albert Einstein once said, “People like us, who believe in physics, know that the
distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” So
what is the illusory quality of past, present, and future? What is time? How do we use
temporal markers and ideas to construct our art, science, history, biographies, and lives?
These are the central questions we will be asking and begin to answer in this class.
We will be reading and examining literature (poetry, short stories, novels, plays) in order
to see how we might begin to trace the various representations and ideas of time and
time’s embeddedness in our ways of thinking about and ordering the world and its
possibilities. We will be reading literature with and through some basic scientific theories
on the construction and deconstruction of time and space.
You don’t necessarily need expert knowledge of theoretical physics in order to see how
differing notions of time and space have been constructed in science and the arts over
time. George Levine notes in “The Novel as Scientific Discourse: The Example of
Conrad” that “The power of science within our culture is reflected in the way it infiltrates
consciousness that knows very little about it. Perhaps to put it more carefully, it shares . .
. in the dominant concerns of the culture, is in fact a powerful myth whose shape can be
discerned well outside the realms of specifically scientific discourse. Scientific ideas are
absorbed, used, and created by a culture that is only partially aware of science as a
professional practice” (223). So, we can see how such “scientific” principles of time
might constitute a dominant concern of our culture by tracking them in “realms” outside
scientific discourse – for our purposes literature, visual arts, and music.
Furthermore, we can also use literature to problematize and critique scientific principles
of time. Levine also says, “Criticism requires an alertness to the presence of scientific
discourse, or its metaphors, not only because it helps clarify what that the texts are doing,
but because the texts themselves often constitute a fictional test of the science and of the
transference. Participating equally but differently in the culture’s myths and ideologies,
science and literature support, reveal, and test each other” (223).
What I hope we can do in this class, is to use science and literature (and other arts) not to
continue the separation of the arts and sciences, but rather see how they are interrelated,
and how we might use them to push their theoretical boundaries, especially in their
representations of time. We can use science to read literature and literature to read
science. By doing this, I want to focus our attention on how we can read texts and
cultural assumptions critically through interdisciplinary analysis.
Students read and write about selected works of prose and/or poetry from diverse cultural
traditions, analyzing the context, aims, and methods of literary expression.
1. Student Learning Goals
At the completion of this course, the student will be able to:
--Identify and understand varied characteristics of literature;
--Apply techniques of literary analysis to texts;
--Use literary study to develop skills in careful reading and clear writing;
--Demonstrate understanding of the diverse social and historical contexts in which
literary texts have been written and interpreted.
II. General Expectations
--Courses will be broad and foundational in nature; they will not assume extensive
previous knowledge;
--Courses will satisfy most (if not all) of these guidelines.
Science Fiction: Stories and Contexts, Ed. Heather Masri, Bedford/ St. Martin’s
ISBN: 0-312-45015-X
The Rule of Four, Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason, The Dial Press
ISBN: 0-385-33711-6 (not in bookstore)
Access to Blackboard and RadioLab podcast
It is crucial that you attend class. Because this class is discussion driven, anytime you
miss class you are missing out on the face-to-face conversations between your class
members, and thus, you are missing out on learning opportunities. Students are allowed
three absences without a grade penalty. For every absence beyond those allowed, students
will be penalized one-half letter grade. Students who miss six classes on a two-day
schedule will fail the course. There are no “excused” absences. Students who are absent
from class due to school sanctioned activities must present official written notification to
me prior to the absence and work out any due dates they might miss ahead of time. If you
are absent you are responsible for all of the materials missed and for turning in any due
assignments before you miss class. More than likely the readings and schedule will be
constantly revised to meet the needs of the class; you will be responsible for any new
assignments announced on those days you are absent. It is very important that you check
blackboard for updates on assignments and due dates. If you are more than 5 minutes
tardy you will be counted absent for the day. Leaving early without prior agreement will
result in an absence as well. I do not accept any late work.
You are solely responsible for your work and personal conduct in class.
Respect others’ comments and contributions to class discussion.
Class participation in discussion is expected of you daily.
You are required to come to class prepared having done the readings and assignments,
having the proper materials for class and ready to engage in critical discussions.
All electronic devices should be turned all the way off and not used during class time.
I reserve the right to ask you to leave for any infraction and will count you absent for the
Students at institutions of higher learning are expected to exhibit high ethical and
respectful behavior. Disruptive behavior is prohibited. Disruptive behavior means conduct
that materially and substantially interferes with or obstructs the teaching or learning
process in the context of the classroom setting and will be determined by me. Disruptive
behavior will result in an expulsion from the class and a resulting absence. Behavior that
can be considered disruptive includes, but is not limited to: arriving late or leaving early,
talking/texting on a cell phone, disrespecting peers or the instructor, talking out of turn,
not bringing the necessary materials to class, coming to class unprepared to participate,
and eating in class. All electronic devices that could interrupt class should be turned off.
Such devices may not be accessed during the class period. Laptops may be brought to
class when it is announced ahead of time by me. Laptops must be used solely for
educational purposes specific to the context of this class and will be forbidden if misused.
Misuse will be determined by me. Consult the Student Handbook for more information for
class behavior expectations and consequences.
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success,” said Alexander Graham Bell.
You are expected to come to class on time and fully prepared to engage with the content
of the class. All readings must be read for the specified class and all assignments need to
be completed and handed in on time. A lack of preparation and failure to live up to my
expectations for class participation will negatively affect your grade.
You will have 2 exams – a midterm and a final exam. You will have a reading quiz due
every Thursday and a blackboard discussion prompt due every Tuesday. You are expected
to contribute to daily class discussion, group work and classroom activities. You will also
sign up for 2 class periods that you will be responsible for leading class discussion and
bringing up questions and quotes for the class to discuss.
Exam 1
Exam 2
Reading Quizzes
Blackboard Discussion Prompts
Daily Class Participation in Discussion
Discussion leader Questions and Quotations 5%
A = 94-100
A- = 90-93
B+ = 87-89
B = 83-86
B- = 80-82
C+ = 77-79
C = 73-76
C- = 70-72
D+ = 67-69
D = 63-66
D- = 60-62
F = <59
Part of your work and responsibility as a scholar is that you accept the rules and ethics of
writing and documenting your outside sources. In addition to downloading a paper off of
the Internet or getting someone to write one for you, plagiarism is:
 Verbatim copying without proper acknowledgement—whether you copy a phrase,
a sentence, a paragraph, or a whole paper, the source material must be introduced, in
quotation marks, and documented.
 Paraphrasing without proper acknowledgement—reworded source material must
be introduced and documented; again, the length of the paraphrased material doesn’t
matter—you still have to cite it!
 Failing to acknowledge sources—any time you use sources, you need to identify the
source material both within the essay and on a works cited page.
 Use of other's ideas without acknowledgement.
When you submit work, your reputation as a writer is at stake. Do not risk your grade on
an essay or in the course by either deliberately or accidentally plagiarizing. Plagiarism
will result in a minimum of a failed paper and a maximum of suspension from the
university. We will be discussing proper paraphrasing and citation guidelines as we go
along. If in doubt, ask! Visit http://academicintegrity.uncg.edu for more information on
the University’s Academic Integrity policy
Academic integrity is founded upon and encompasses the following five values: honesty,
trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. Violations include, for example, cheating,
plagiarism, misuse of academic resources, falsification, and facilitating academic
dishonesty. If knowledge is to be gained and properly evaluated, it must be pursued under
conditions free from dishonesty. Deceit and misrepresentations are incompatible with the
fundamental activity of this academic institution and shall not be tolerated” (from
UNCG’s Academic Integrity Policy). To ensure that you understand the university’s
policy on academic integrity, review the guidelines and list of violations at
<http://academicintegrity.uncg.edu>. I expect you to abide by the Academic Integrity
Students with documentation of special needs should arrange to see me about
accommodations as soon as possible. If you believe you could benefit from such
accommodations, you must first register with the Office of Disability Services on campus
before such accommodations can be made. The office is located on the second floor of
the Elliott University Center (EUC) in Suite 215, and the office is open 8am to 5pm,
Monday - Friday. Telephone: 334-5440; e-mail: [email protected]
 Don’t hesitate to see me or email me if you ever have any questions, concerns,
problems. I am here to help you and am eager to work with you.
 Expect to make mistakes and learn from them. We all make mistakes and this is a
good thing. Like my mom always says, “Learn from your mistakes, so you don’t
make them again.” And as Winston Churchill said, “Success is the ability to go
from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
 Bring your own interests, ideas and personality to class and your ideas. You being
you is what I want you to be.
 Everything counts in this class.
 “Strive for success and remember you won't get what you want unless you want
what you get.” – Yogi Berra
 These policies are subject to change at my discretion. You will be notified of any
Week 1
T 1/19
Course Expectations
R 1/21
Introduction to theories of time – scientific,
social, narrative
Sign up for discussion leaders
Time and close reading practices
Newton, Relativity, Quantum Time
Poetry selections from Browning
Week 2
T 1/26
R 1/28
Progressive Time
Week 3
T 2/2
R 2/4
Present Tense - Presence
Week 4
T 2/9
R 2/11
Infinity – All Time
Week 5
T 2/16
R 2/18
Narrative Time
Week 6
T 2/23
Musical Time
Historical Time – Lost Time
Social Time – Lived Time
Religious Time
Syllabus quiz – bb
Augustine Confessions - bb
bb- selections from Hawking,
Sartre – Being and
Nothingness - 664
bb - Frost – The Road Not
Hawthorne – Rappaccini’s
Daughter – 1029
Robinson – The Lucky Strike 568
bb - Borges – The Aleph
Van Vogt – The Weapon Shop
- 716
Chiang – Story of Your Life –
Bb - Selections from Blake
Messiaen - Quartet for the
End of Time
R 2/25
Week 7
T 3/1
R 3/4
Time Travel
Primer Discussion
Review for Exam
Exam 1
Week 8
T 3/9
R 3/11
Spring Break
Week 9
T 3/16
R 3/18
Time in the Visual Arts
Surrealism and Futurism
War Time
Bb - selections from WW1
bb- Fitzgerald – Babylon
Week 10
T 3/23
R 3/25
Traumatic Time
Week 11
T 3/30
R 4/1
Quantum Time
bb – selections from Lewis
Bb - Eliot – Burnt Norton
Rymann – Dead Space for the
Unexpected – 826
Bb – Dillard – Total Eclipse
Nature and Time – Deep Time
Jameson - Progress vs. Utopia
Week 12
T 4/6
R 4/8
Utopian Time
Imagining Time
Chapters 1-6
Week 13
T 4/13
R 4/15
Mystery of Time – Reconstructing Time
The Rule of Four
The Rule of Four
Chapters 7-13
Week 14
T 4/20
R 4/22
The Rule of Four
Chapters 21-26
The Rule of Four
Chapters 27-30
Week 15
The Rule of Four
Week 16
Spring Break
Dream Time
Chapters 14-20
Weatherspoon visit – archives and time
Review for Exam 2
Class Evaluations
*** This is subject to change at my discretion. You will be reasonably notified of any
changes via blackboard.
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