Elizabeth Chiseri-Strater English 697-01
McIver 114 Office Spring 2003
“The desire to read, like all the other desires which distract our unhappy souls, is capable of analysis.” Virginia Woolf
This course will look at theories of how people read and write, the connections between these processes as well as those connections to acts of imagination and interpretation. It is then necessarily a course about how knowledge is constructed. Applications of theory to practice will be offered wherever possible and we’ll test out our theories about reading and writing against our own practices. For example, we’ll read a novel together and we’ll read and respond to student writing. You’ll keep a reading/response journal that you’ll share with a colleague as well as with me. In groups, seminar members will select one week to become more knowledgeable in an area and help lead the class discussion and each group will present a particular literary theory connected to our common reading of Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress. By mid-semester I will ask you to write a short case study of a reader and the end of the semester, you’ll write a longish (10-12 pages) paper on a topic related topics in this course. Active participation is an important part of this seminar as is respect and acknowledgement of every member’s contributions. Your grade will reflect your participation in group work, the quality of your writing throughout the semester, and your final project.
The overall goal for the course then is for you to become critical readers and writers of reading and writing theories.
Other course objectives are:
To evaluate the authority and authenticity of the texts;
To examine the historical, social, political, and economic significance of these texts, and
To identify and evaluate the aesthetic qualities of these writings.
Sijie, Dai (translated from
French). Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress.
Smith, Frank. Understanding
Straub, Richard. The Practice of Response: Strategies for
Commenting on Student Writing.
There will be an extensive e-reserve list for this course.
Course Outline (subject to change):
January 15: Introduction
Theories we bring to the table about reading and writing.
Experiences we bring to the table about reading and writing.
Smith, Frank. Understanding
Bring in one program, article, or artifact that argues against Smith’s position, which argues that reading is matching the word and sound. Journals due.
January 29: Reader Response Reading Theory
Rosenblatt, Louise. Literature as Exploration.
February 5: Reader Response Criticism
Tompkins Jane, “Introduction to Reader Response Criticism”; Iser, Wolfgang,”The Reading Process: A Phenomenological Approach,” Bleich, David, “Epistemological Assumptions in the Study of Response,” from Reader Response Criticism: From Formalism to Post-Structuralism (e-reserve) **
February 12: Gender and Reading Theory
February 19: Applying Theory
Dai Sijie, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress.
Group reports on literary approaches to the Dai Sijie novel: Marxist, New Critical, Psychoanalytic, Feminist, Deconstruction, etc.
February 26: Process Approaches to Writing: Expressivists/ Feminists
Case Study of a Reader Due
March 5: Process Approaches to Writing: Cognitivists/Social Constructionists
Flower, Emig, Bruffee, Bartholomae (e-reserve)
March 12: No Class, Spring Break
March 19: Stephen Yarbrough guest speaker on Donald Davidson
March 26: Post-Process Theory
Articles in Beyond the Writing Process Paradigm, edited by Thomas Kent,
Friday March 28: Cheryl Glenn talk (plan to attend)
Roskelly, Elbow, Salvatori, Berthoff
April 9: Applying Theory: Reading Student Writing
Straub, Richard. The Practice of Response: Strategies for Commenting on Student Writing. **
April 16: Applying Theory: Reading Student Writing
Probst, Daiker, Fulwiler, Sommers, Anson from Writing and Response: Theory Practice and Research edited by Chris Anson (e-reserve)
April 23: Seminar Paper presentations
April 30: LAST CLASS
**Group reports/ groups should plan to meet with me before their presentations.
Possible seminar topics: Book clubs, history of reading, reading in the writing classroom, computer literacy as site of reading/writing intersections, young children’s literacy, reading media, reading student writing.