MWF 12:00-12:50 PM
Instructor: Cameron Golden
Office Hours: MWF 1-2 and by appointment
Office: 01E Petty
Phone: x3294 (the best time to call me will be during office hours; otherwise, please e-mail me)
Course objectives: This course will give you an introduction to Autobiography.
We will discuss the different uses of autobiography and place each text we
read into a specific historical context. We will discuss the differences between
autobiography, memoir, and fiction, and students will have the opportunity
to practice their own style of life writing. Films, popular music, and the
visual arts will be a component of our course as well. You will have the opportunity
to develop skills that will allow you to analyze and discuss the major characteristics
and themes of the works we study. The major goals of this class will be for
--Identify and understand varied characteristics of autobiography
--Apply techniques of literary analysis to literary texts
--Develop your reading and writing skills through the study of literature
--Demonstrate an understanding of the different social and historical contexts in which literary texts have been written and interpreted
--Begin to develop an appreciation of life writing
Texts: Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi
The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass
Life Studies, Robert Lowell
The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Gertrude Stein
The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston
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
--There will be no make-up quizzes if you miss a quiz
Grades: Your grade will be calculated according to the following percentages:
Midterm 20% Daily Grade 15%
Journal 15% Quizzes 15%
Autobiography Project 10% Final Exam 25%
Midterm/Final: The midterm and the final will each be a combination of short answer, identifications, and essays. They will test your understanding of terminology, knowledge of individual works, and ability to draw connections between works.
Quizzes: I will give periodic quizzes on the readings, some announced, some unannounced. The purpose of these quizzes will be to ensure that you are keeping up with the reading. If you have done a careful job reading over the assigned material, you will have no problem doing well on the quizzes.
Daily Grade: I will be assessing your performance on a daily basis, therefore it is imperative that you come to class with the assignment completed, prepared to ask and answer questions. I will give occasional assignments that you will need to hand in, informal in-class writing assignments, as well as group work projects—how you approach these exercises and activities and your performance on them will be part of your daily grade. Participation in class discussions will be required and evaluated as a part of your daily grade; while I understand shyness, I expect you to make a sincere effort to participate.
Journal: You will be doing your own life writing over the course of the semester by keeping your own memoir/journal. I will read your memoir on several (announced) occasions to make sure you are continuing to write. It will be up to you to decide what to write (after all, this is your autobiography).
Autobiography project: You will be responsible for completing a project that reflects an aspect of your life, your history, your interests, etc. It will be up to you to decide what form this project will take (music, poetry, sculpture, web site, photography, collage, etc.). I will ask you to submit a proposal early in the semester that details exactly what form your project will take. You will also be responsible for presenting your project to the class.
Monday August 16: Introduction to the class
Wednesday August 18: E-Reserves --David Sedaris, “Go Carolina”
Friday August 20: E-Reserves—Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (pages 1-27)
Monday August 23: Reading Lolita in Tehran (pages 1-47)
Wednesday August 25: Reading Lolita in Tehran (pages 48-96); Quiz #1
Friday August 27: no class
Monday August 30: Reading Lolita in Tehran (pages 96-153)
Wednesday September 1: Reading Lolita in Tehran (pages 158-210)
Friday September 3: Reading Lolita in Tehran (pages 210-253)
Monday September 6: Labor Day—no class
Wednesday September 8: Reading Lolita in Tehran (pages 257-301)
Friday September 10: Reading Lolita in Tehran (finish the book); Quiz #2
Monday September 13: Finish discussion of Reading Lolita in Tehran; submit 1 page proposal for Autobiography project
Wednesday September 15: E-Reserves—Franklin, O’Brien
Friday September 17: Douglass; Quiz #3
Monday September 20: Douglass
Wednesday September 22: Douglass
Friday September 24: Douglass
Monday September 27: Douglass
Wednesday September 29: E-Reserves: Whitman, Dickinson, Cullen; Quiz #4
Friday October 1: Life Studies (Part 1)
Monday October 4: Life Studies (Part 2)
Wednesday October 6: Life Studies (Part 3); Quiz #5
Friday October 8: Life Studies (Part 4)
Monday October 11: Fall Break—no class!!
Wednesday October 13: Midterm exam
Friday October 15: Alice B. Toklas (pages 1-42); in class writing
Monday October 18: Alice B. Toklas (pages 42-85); Quiz #6
Wednesday October 20: Alice B. Toklas (pages 86-130)
Friday October 22: Alice B. Toklas (pages 130-170)
Monday October 25: Alice B. Toklas (pages 170-192), reports
Wednesday October 27: Alice B. Toklas (finish the book), reports
Friday October 29: movie—“Almost Famous”
Monday November 1: movie—“Almost Famous”
Wednesday November 3: movie—“Almost Famous”
Friday November 5: The Woman Warrior (“No Name Woman”)
Monday November 8: The Woman Warrior (“White Tigers”); Quiz #7
Wednesday November 10: The Woman Warrior (“Shaman”)
Friday November 12: The Woman Warrior (“At the Western Palace”)
Monday November 15: The Woman Warrior (“A Song for a Barbarian Reed Pipe”)
Wednesday November 17: Project presentations
Friday November 19: Project presentations
Monday November 22: E-reserves—Mark Leyner
Wednesday November 24: Thanksgiving Break—no class!!
Friday November 26: Thanksgiving Break—no class!!
Monday November 29: E-reserves—Philip Roth
Wednesday December 1: Self-portraits
Friday December 6: Autobiographical music
Monday December 6: Review for final
Final Exam—Friday December 6, 12 noon