Monday, May 2, 2011

For Credit: Five Years From Now

The following clip, "The Five Minute University," featuring Father Guido Sarducci (comedian Don Novello), is a few decades old, but still current:

What will you remember from English 206/CWL 257 in five years' time?

There are two ways to answer this question:

1) As Father Guido Sarducci would.

2) As a hard-working and idealistic college student fresh from the course would.

You can decide how to answer (giving two answers in an option).

Deadline: Friday (5/6), 11am.

For Credit: The Final Exam

The final exam was handed out in class today, you can also find it over there in the sidebar and here. In class on Wednesday, you will have the opportunity to discuss the readings for the exam, which are over there in the sidebar. Please bring a copy to class, along with any questions you have about either text.

If you have questions about the exam, it would be best to ask them in class on Wednesday or by e-mail (with the understanding that I will send the response to the class). I may not see responses to this post in a timely manner.

You CAN, however, respond to this post with your thoughts about what the exam does NOT cover. What have you learned this semester that you don't have the opportunity to display on the final? What would you have liked to have been asked, but weren't?

Deadline: Friday (5/6), 11am.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

For Credit: The Big Picture Revisited (Deadline Extended)

How has your understanding of the Enlightenment era changed since the beginning of the semester?

Read on before you answer!

On the first day of class people identified a number of concepts that they correctly associated with the Enlightenment:

  • doubt and skepticism about religion
  • new ideas about equality among people
  • distrust of monarchical and authoritarian forms of government
  • exploration
  • the development of empirical, scientific thought
  • emphasis on reason
At the same time that we discussed these concepts and wrote them on the board, I explained that the word "Enlightenment" in the course title didn't necessarily apply to all of the literature that we would be studying--that the narrow course title (which was laid down in stone some years back) doesn't quite correspond to the breadth of literature implied by the CWL cross-listing of the course or by its  placement within the sequence of 200-level English department courses. 

So, you've now read literature from that era that spans the globe, as well as the wide range of functions literature can serve, from advancing new ideas, to supplying entertainment, to repackaging old certainties in new ways, to validating the realities of readers' lives.  You've done some archival research of your own, and in the company of your classmates you've explored the time period largely unconstrained by national boundaries or by preconceived ideas of what "Enlightenment" literature ought to be (after all, the word appears nowhere in the title of your Longman anthology).

What have you learned from the reading for this course?  Identify ONE specific thing that you now know that you didn't on the first day of class.  If a classmate has already responded with the thing you wanted to say, identify something else that you have learned.

Deadline: Monday (5/2) Wednesday (5/4), start of class.