English 102S-04: Individualism and the American Experience
MWF 11:00-11:50 AM
Instructor: Cameron Golden
Office Hours: M 1:30-3, T 2-3:30
Office: 01E Petty
Phone: x3294 (the best time to call me will be during office hours; otherwise, please e-mail me)
The focus of our class will be on critically evaluating the American Character and how the idea of individualism both defines us and limits us. Our readings will explore this central idea and focus on several aspects of American life: family, citizenship, religion, and politics among others. You will work individually and in groups to master a vocabulary that will allow you to discuss the these ideas and how they are reflected in our culture. In this class, we will discuss the ideals of American Individualism and come to some conclusions about how pervasive this idea is in all of our lives. As a member of this class, you will have a chance during almost every class period to voice your own opinion about the subjects we discuss, in written work and oral presentations, both formally and informally.
This is a speaking intensive course, and students will be able to gain experience in public speaking by articulating their opinions and conclusions to the other members of the class. One of the goals of this class is for students to feel confident in their abilities to argue a point, and you will be given many opportunities to practice argumentation in your writing, and to share these opinions orally with the other members of the class. I do not expect everyone to be an experienced orator, but I do expect that you be willing to venture forth and share your opinions with the class.
Among the goals of this course are for you to feel confident in your ability to formulate opinions in your writing, to back them up with evidence from the texts you are discussing, and finally, to come to meaningful conclusions. You will become more proficient in crafting thesis statements, articulating your ideas for a particular audience, and analyzing the materials that you read. You will also have the opportunity to practice sharing your ideas and opinions with an audience.
Texts: Bellah, Robert. Habits of the Heart.
Handouts from Individualism and Commitment in American Life (on reserve in the library)
Policies: This course cannot succeed without your involvement; regular attendance and participation will be critical to your success in this class. You may miss 3 classes with no penalty, however, after the third absence your grade will begin to drop by one letter grade per missed class. If you miss 6 classes (the equivalent of two weeks of class), you will be dropped from the class.
A few other policies that will help our class run smoother . . .
--Please be on time, lateness is rude and distracting
--I will distribute an attendance sheet at the beginning of each class period; if you do come in late, it will be your responsibility to sign the attendance sheet
--No late papers will be accepted; if you anticipate a problem, please see me in advance
Grades: Your grade will be determined according to the following percentages:
Book Club 15%
Final portfolio 20%
Daily Grade (participation, quizzes, in-class writing, declamations, debates) 15%
Journals: Each Monday (unless previously announced), I will ask you to turn in 1½ -2 pages (typed, double-spaced) where you will respond in writing to the readings. This is the place for you to keep track of what you find important or interesting, questions you might have, or topics you would like to discuss in class or in your groups.
Papers: You will have three papers due in this class. They will be due at the beginning of class on the assigned days and no late papers will be accepted (more details on these assignments to come).
Book club presentations: Your group will form a book club, and will read a fiction book (chosen from a list I will provide) and then give a presentation to the rest of the class on the book you have read (more details on this to come).
Final Portfolio: You will need to save all of the written work that you have done in this class, and in lieu of a final exam, I will ask you to turn in a final portfolio which will consist of 15-20 pages of revised, polished written work which you have chosen from your work. We will discuss the final portfolio in much more detail later in the semester.
Participation: This is a speaking-intensive course, therefore active participation on your part is essential. A lack of participation will result in a lower final grade. Often, there will be an activity (which will be previously announced) that I am calling a "declamation," where you will be responsible for making a brief statement to the class about your response to a reading or your opinion on a certain aspect of the subject mattereveryone in the class will be participating in these activities, and they will be evaluated as a component of your final grade.
Daily Expectations: For this class to be successful, you need to be an involved and active class member. This entails coming to class with the assigned material read and with questions and comments to add to the class discussion. Success in this class depends on:
3. your willingness to try new perspectives, to revise and rethink, to take chances
Monday August 20: Introduction to the Course
Wednesday August 22: diagnostic writing
Friday August 24: read preface from Habits; group work on individuals and communities
Monday August 27: read chapter 1 of Habits; declamation #1
Wednesday August 29: read de Toqueville (handout)
Friday August 31: Journal #1 due; in-class work on brainstorming and getting started on paper #1
Monday September 3: No class, Labor Day
Wednesday September 5: 1-2 pages rough draft to turn in; read chapter 2 of Habits; declamation #2
Friday September 7: Journal #2 due; read Jefferson, Franklin, and Whitman (handouts)
Monday September 10: read chapter 3 (pages 55-71) from Habits
Wednesday September 12: finish reading chapter 3 (pages 71-84) from Habits; read Emerson (handout)
Friday September 14: Journal #3 due; group work on drafts (bring copies)
Monday September 17: Paper #1 due; High Noon
Wednesday September 19: High Noon
Friday September 21: Journal #4 due; read Brooks (handout)
Monday September 24: conferences
Wednesday September 26: conferences
Friday September 28: conferences
Monday October 1: read chapter 4 of Habits
Wednesday October 3: read Olsen (handout); book club meeting
Friday October 5: Journal #5 due; declamation #3; in-class work on brainstorming
Monday October 8: No class, Fall break
Wednesday October 10: 1-2 pages rough draft of paper #2 due; read chapter 5 from Habits
Friday October 12: Journal #6 due
Monday October 15: Debate #1
Wednesday October 17: read chapter 6 from Habits; declamation #4
Friday October 19: Journal #7 due; group work on drafts (bring copies)
Monday October 22: read Cawelti (handout); discussion of detective films & Chinatown
Wednesday October 24: Chinatown
Friday October 26: Journal #8 due; Chinatown
Monday October 29: Paper #2 due; book club meeting
Wednesday October 31: read chapter 8 from Habits
Friday November 2: Journal #9 due; read King (handout); in-class work on brainstorming and getting started on paper #3
Monday November 5: read chapter 9 from Habits; book club meeting
Wednesday November 7: read Varenne (handout); declamation #5
Friday November 9: 1-2 pages draft paper #3 due; Journal #10 due; read Jackson (handout)
Monday November 12: Debate #2
Wednesday November 14: read chapter 10 from Habits; book club meeting
Friday November 16: Journal #11 due; group work on drafts (bring copies)
Monday November 19: Paper #3 due; read conclusion of Habits; book club meeting
Wednesday November 21: No class, Thanksgiving
Friday November 23: No class, Thanksgiving
Monday November 26: Book club presentations
Wednesday November 28: Book club presentations
Friday November 30: Book club presentations
Monday December 3: Conferences
Wednesday December 5: Conferences
Friday December 7: Conferences
Monday December 10: Final portfolios due