English 580: World Literature Spring 1998

Readings | Further Reading | Policies

CONTACT: You can make an appointment with me before or after class, by telephone (voice mail available when I am not in the office), by e-mail, or by leaving a message with the departmental secretary at 5326716. Leave a name and number so I can get back to you.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Each of you should be able to do very well in this course if you take all of the opportunities offered below.

1. Get on the 580 listserv and participate in discussion. A listserv allows all of us to initiate and continue discussions in that any mail sent to one person via listserv is also received by everyone else on the list (ie., every other student taking this class). I may ask others who are not class members to participate every now and then; these folks would be able to add something to our discussions either because of their familiarity with the works or with Indian culture. I periodically download a log of discussions that accumulate so I can quite accurately assess who is participating and how much in this part of the course.

2. Come to class and participate in discussion. Attendance is expected from you every day that the course meets, and attendance is an important factor in doing well in this class. Look at attendance this way: you get 10% towards an A if this class if you do nothing else but come everyday. What easier way is there to accumulate points than simply showing up?

Attendance points are calculated as follows: 0 absences = 50 points, 1 absence - 45 points, 2 absences = 40 points, 3 absences = 35 points, 4 absences = 30 points, 5 absences = 25 points. More than five absences means that you have missed more than two weeks of class which also means you get zero points for attendance with your sixth absence.

Why all the emphasis on participation? This course has been approved to be part of the new General Education program at KSU which means that you may take this course for GenEd credit. Discussion and participation are mainstays in GenEd courses so you will be expected to participate both orally in class and on the listserv for the class. Other skills we are obliged to hone in this class include critical thinking and written communication. The critical thinking component resides mostly in your abilities to create accurate generalizations and hypotheses from diverse information; in this class critical thinking primarily comes from your skill at deriving meaning from the written texts and any critical work you will be assigned.

3. Read the assigned material by the beginning of class time on the date listed on the syllabus below. You will not be able to participate if you haven1t done the reading. Only you know how well you read, how fast you read, how many times you need to read something before it 3sinks in,2 and so only you can adequately plan your own reading schedule so that you are ready to discuss a novel on the first day we begin discussion. Even if you are a fast reader and quickstudy in literature, these novels and short stories are written from a non-western perspective so many of the referents to place, history, politics, and so forth will probably be more unfamiliar than the reading you are used to. So a word to the wise--plan your reading schedule ahead of time. An effective method is to actually count the numbers of pages required for all the reading and divide those pages into units that you individually are realisitically able to digest on a daily basis. Note that for some days we have only a story or two to read while on other days you are expected to have completed a long novel; so my advice is to be smart about this--develop your own personal strategy for getting the reading finished on time.

4. Take the reading quizzes. Reading quizzes will be entirely objective and test only if you have done the assigned reading. "Objective" means that I will ask you for short answers about the 3facts2 of the assigned reading such as locale, what happens, who does what and so on. Reading quizzes are given at the beginning of class on the first day we begin a new work; so be on time to class. If you arrive too late to class to take the quiz (too late equals after the rest of the class has started the quiz), you cannot make up that quiz and will receive a zero. This is another easy way to do well in this class; since you are going to have to do the reading sometime to pass the midterm and final, you might as well read with the class in a timely manner. Since the quizzes are objective, no interpretation is needed.

5. Take the midterm and final examinations. We will spend some time before each exam chatting in class about what might make good exam questions. Both exams will require you to write short essay responses. We will decide together whether some parts of these exams should be takehome.

6. Write two papers (5-8 pages typed). Specific guidelines for each paper will be handed out and put on the listserv.

7. Teach a Tagore short story to the class. Depending upon how many students are enrolled, you will either alone or with someone else be responsible for leading class discussion, preparing questions for the listserv, answering any questions asked by your colleagues, and so on for a short story by Tagore. You will draw names of stories by lot; these stories, whether taught by me or students, become part of the data base for the course.

COURSE GRADING: Each assignment is given a point value. Your grade is based on the percentage of points you personally accumulate during the course of the semester. If you get 90% or above, you receive an A. If you get 80%, you get a B, and so on. Grades are not curved. I don't believe in curving a grading scale for the obvious reasons that in a classic bell curved class, curving assumes no more than 10% will get As and no more than 10% will fail. Moreover, when grades are curved, much of your grade for the course depends upon what others do rather than on what you do--that, too, has never made much sense to me. My experience is that in some classes more than 10% deserve an A while in others no one has earned an A. So in this class you know exactly how many points everything counts for and what you need to do to garner those points.

Weights of Assignments: Attendance 10% (50 points possible), Participation 15% (75 points possible; this includes both in-class and listserv participation as well as any assigned oral presentations), Quizzes 10% (100 points possible), Midterm 10% (50 points possible), Final 15% (75 points possible), Paper One 15% (75 points possible), Paper Two 15% (75 points possible).

COURSE POLICIES: You are responsible for all information given in class; if for some reason, changes have to made in the syllabus, you are responsible for any changes given orally in class. If you come late to class or miss a class, you cannot make up any written work unless you have a valid excuse as defined in the University Handbook. Papers turned in late lose 10% of total points possible for each calendar day late including weekends.