08 January 2016

Syllabus for Literature and Theology RLS320/ENG395

Literature & Theology RLS320/ENG395

Ours will be a very small class, which condition gives it the opportunity of a vigorous and exciting exchange between (and among) students and the professor. The goals of this class center on looking at literature through a lens of theology; in others words, we will read three rather monumental Western works and consider how these texts reflect/argue, posit/complicate, popularize/criticize specific strains of Western Christian theology A.D. 400-1670. Secondary skills developed are critical, active reading; greater facility of integration of library research; familiarity with some of the Big Ideas out there and some of their Big Thinkers; improved writing skills; and improvement of the essential professional soft skills such as the courtesy of listening and speaking, the habit of consistent preparedness, and the ability to work punctually and under time constraints.
Specifically, we will consider historical treatments of time/eternity, space/infinity, divine grace/human will, and God as a character. We will try to look at each author as a whole voice in his own right, but also compare authors in their treatments of similar themes. Paper #1 requires you to treat either one concept or one book of the Confessions and to construct a theological treatise that draws upon concepts Augustine gets from the Gospels and the Psalms; Paper #2 will ask you to explore an element of time or space in Dante as these elements intersect with mortal characters. Paper #3, which may be a continuation of your second paper, will consider how La Commedia treats his Afterworldly geography in light of Book 11 of Confessions; finally, Paper #4 is a grand opus type of paper that can address any aspect of these works—including ideas you have already begun to develop in earlier papers—so long as at least half the paper concentrates on Paradise Lost.

Class Schedule (subject to change)
12 T Introduction
14 R Confessions, Books 1-3
19 T Confessions, Books 4-6
21 R Confessions, Books 7-9
26 T Confessions, Books 10-11
28 R Inferno, Cantos 1-7
Feb. 2 T Inferno, Cantos 8-14. Augustine Paper Due (3-4 pp)
4 R Inferno, Cantos 15-22
9 T Inferno, Cantos 23-28
11 R Inferno, Cantos 29-34
16 T Purgatorio, Cantos, 1-7
18 R Purgatorio, Cantos 8-14
23 T Purgatorio, Cantos 15-22
25 R Purgatorio, Cantos 23-28
Mar. 1 T Purgatorio, Cantos 29-33 Dante Time & Space Paper Due (6-8 pp)
3 R Paradiso, Cantos 1-7
15 T Paradiso, Cantos 8-14
22 T Paradiso, Cantos 15-22
24 R Paradiso, Cantos 23-28
29 T Paradiso, Cantos 29-33
31 R NO CLASS (RSA Boston)
Apr. 5 T Paradise Lost, Books 1-2 Dante & Augustine Paper Due (6-8 pp)
7 R Paradise Lost, Books 3-4
12 T Paradise Lost, Books 5-6
14 R Paradise Lost, Books 7-8
19 T Paradise Lost, Books 9-10
21 R Paradise Lost, Books 11-12
28 R Evaluations. Speeches
Finals Week: Literature & Theology Paper Due (8-12 pp).

Required Texts: Confessions, Saint Augustine. Penguin Classics, R. S. Pine-Coffin trans.
Inferno, Dante. Oxford, Robert M. Durling trans.
Purgatorio, Dante. Oxford, Durling trans.
Paradiso, Dante. Oxford, Durling trans.
Paradise Lost, John Milton. Oxford, Stephen Orgel ed.

Grading: Augustine Paper 10%
Dante Time & Space 20%
Dante & Augustine 25%
Lit & Theo (M) 30%
Participation 15%

Attendance: Required. More than three absences will lower your final grade by one decrement per day. Tardiness is counted as an absence. There are no “excused” or unexcused” absences.
Students with special needs must inform the professor in the first week of classes and he will make all reasonable accommodations.
Late papers will be down-graded one full later per day late. You must complete all assignments to pass the class.
Please see labels “Essential,” “Very Useful Stuff” at my blog stephenxmead.blogspot.com for important class policies. A copy of the syllabus and class policies will be there too under the “Syllabi” label.
Office: OM312b 438-4336 smead@stmartin.edu
MWF 10-11, 12-1. TR 8:30-9:30, 11-1.

07 January 2016

Syllabus for ENG102 A2 & B2, Spring 2016

ENG102 College Writing II
Instructor Stephen X. Mead Phone 438-4336
Office OM312b E-mail smead@stmartin.edu
Office Hours MWF 10-11, 12-1
TR 8:30-9:30, 11-1 AND BY APPOINTMENT http://stephenxmead.blogspot.com/

The Iliad, Homer. Robert Fagles translation. Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition, 1998
The Aeneid, Virgil. Robert Fagles translation. Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition. 2008

ENG102 is the second half of the writing requirement for all Saint Martin’s students. In ENG101, the first half, you should have been introduced to a number of rudimentary writing skills, among them standard usage, thesis construction, logic and logical fallacies, paragraphing, and developing a strong, precise writerly tone. ENG102 draws directly from these skills (which you are expected to have begun developing, not to have mastered) to include the broadly applicable skill of finding, evaluating, and integrating secondary sources into thesis-driven papers. To these ends, we will read, study, and discuss two major works of Western Civilization which are from the ancient world, but pellucidly relevant to our twenty-first century world. Our immediate goal will be two produce two thesis-driven papers that use no fewer than eight secondary sources each. Much goes into achieving that goal: careful, active reading and re-reading; sharing and responding to ideas in and out of class; pre-writing chores; library work; and an awful lot of revision.

Our long-game goals are to produce students who can read with authority and write with power; who can think critically and evaluate sources and distinguish nuances among like things; who understand that all writing, including student writing, is about so much more than the surface message; who realize that being “educated” in the classical sense of the word, is not a luxury for the 1%, but a necessity for the 99%.
Specifically, the successful student will have 1) written two logically argued, reasonably researched, clearly written papers of ten pages each, excluding Notes and Works Cited pages; 2) cited documentation in the MLA style; 3) contributed actively and productively to class discussions; kept to deadlines; mastered the crucial professional soft skills of 1) courtesy in speaking and listening, 2) consistent preparation of assigned materials, and 3) punctuality and the ability to work successfully within time constraints.
Finally, it is my profound wish that students will learn to know and love some wonderful literature and continue to seek out and delve into literary and historical works from long ago and far away [music swells] as a part of a lifelong habit of learning, growing, and developing into full citizens and souls.

First, to attend each class on time, prepared, and to engage actively in class discussions
Second, to complete all the pre-writing, re-writing, and research activities that constitute the process that produces your papers.
Third, to take full advantage of the out-of-class resources to assist you in your work.
You must complete all work to pass the class. Absences in excess of three (absences are neither excused or unexcused) will lower your final grade by one decrement. Excessive absences (more than six) may fail you in the class.

Kael Moffat is the Information Literacy Librarian who is most prepared to help you throughout the semester. You can contact him for advice, instruction, mentoring, or even just information. kmoffat@stmartin.edu 360-688-2257
The Writing Center Director is Dr. Nathalie Kuroiwa-Lewis. She runs the Center with trained peer-readers who will help you construct and revision your papers. nkuroiwalewis@stmartin.edu 360-438-4533

You also have yours truly. I encourage you to visit me during office hours (or by appointment) to discuss the books, writing, the class, and other relevant matters.
My blog (cited above) has essential posts of policy (attendance, plagiarism, participation) and information (class handouts, edits sheets, but most importantly a rich addendum to The Iliad under the Homer label; also see Very Useful Stuff for, well, you know.

Students with special needs must contact the professor in the first week of classes, and he will make all reasonable accommodations.
Iliad paper 40%
Aeneid paper 40%
Participation 20%
Course Schedule:
Week Topic Required Reading

Jan. 11, 13, 15 Introduction, Homer, Research ix-64, Books 1-2
18, 20, 22 MLK, Reading Aloud, Similes Books 3-6
25, 27, 29 Getting to know a character Books 7-12
Feb. 1, 3, 5 Books 13-18
8, 10, 12 Books 19-24
15, 17, 19 Conferences Re-read Homer
22, 24, 26 Conferences/workshops DRAFTS, Drafts, drafts
29, Mar. 2, 4 Edit Sessions More Drafts. Paper Due 3/4
7, 9, 11 SPRING BREAK Virgil, 1-41
14, 16, 18 Virgil, Rome Books 1-3
21, 23, 25 Journeys Books 4-6
28, 30, Apr. 1 Book 7
4, 6, 8 Books 8-10
11, 13, 15 Books 11-12
18, 20, 22 Conferences/Workshops Re-read Virgil
25, 27, 28 Edit Sessions DRAFTS, Drafts, drafts

03 September 2015

College Writing I: ENG101E1
                                                  MWF 9:00-9:50 OM314
Professor Mead                             Autumn 2015
Introduction: “Writing” is a deceptively simple term for the skills and toils involved in college- and professional-level written communication.  Just as reading is more than merely decoding the words on the page and registering sentence ideas, writing is a multi-level process of critical thought; audience awareness; style; correctness; tone; and drawing upon a large inventory of vocabulary, grammatical construction, and topical choices. This is hard work, but it will play off grandly in most of your future endeavors, academic and professional.

This class is based on the following assumptions:
Good writing is the product of critical thinking
Grammar actually matters, up to a point
The best learning occurs when a writer reads her own writing, learns what she is thinking, and improves upon it
Style is essential, not an add-on
You can only choose your writerly voice if you can first hear it
Good writing is the product of much re-writing
Intelligent reading precedes good writing (that’s why we’re reading books)
Class plan: Please come to class a few minutes early; try to have eaten, drunken, and visited the loo beforehand.  Arrange the chairs in a circle and have the relevant materials at hand:  writing instruments, notebook, textbook, etc.  Expect to be called upon often and with the instructor’s increasingly elevated expectations.  Take notes of everything.  Class will sometimes be lecture (e.g. Grammar Fridays), but will most often be discussion of texts (both required books and student writing) and workshopping (e.g. edit sessions).  Active participation is an important part of your final evaluation.

Required Texts:  
                     The Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown
                                              Wild, Cheryl Strayed
                                    Into The Wild, Jon Krakauer
RECOMMENDED: How To Read A Book, Mortimer J. Adler

I encourage you to get these books in paperback, so you can mark them up!
Attendance:  Students are expected to attend all class meetings.  You have three free absences (I don’t count “excused” or “unexcused”), beyond which your final grade will suffer.  Students who are required to miss more than three absences due to university commitments can usually work something out with the professor.
Students with special needs must inform the instructor in the first two weeks of classes, and he will make all reasonable accommodations.
                              Process Paper            10%      ~900 words
                              SideXSide Paper          10%      ~1200 words
                              5Sense Description      10%      ~1200 words
                              Memoir                        20%      ~2000 words
                              Thesis                         20%      ~2000 words
                              Grammar Book            20%
                              Participation                10%
You must complete all assignments to pass the class. Late papers are subject to grade deflation!
Grammar Fridays & Grammar Book:  Each Friday will be devoted to an aspect of grammar, punctuation, usage, style, etc.  Students will take thorough notes and at the end of the semester, submit to the instructor a hand-made Grammar Notebook.  You will be evaluated upon the completeness, correctness, durability, and beauty of the book. The book will of course be returned to you for your future use.

Office Hours:  My office is OM312b.  Walk-in times are MWF 10-11, 12-1; TR 8:30-9:30. I am also available by appointment.  You may call me at 438-4336 or email me at smead@stmartin.edu, but I cannot promise to respond before the next class meeting.

Honesty: Even a cursory look out there will tell you that cheating is everywhere.  If you let it into your heart, it will taint your every labor.  Decide today what kind of person you are, for that is the person you will be.  If I suspect that the work you submit is not yours, you will have to convince me I’m wrong, so keep every draft of your work, so you can demonstrate the process of your work.  I love to be wrong in such circumstances, and besides, it will give you practice with presentations and public speaking (“Here, professor, I’ve laid out the changes my thesis went through after the first draft”). The dishonest student will fail the class and be reported to the Provost for further disciplinary action.

24         Monday           Introduction
26         Wednesday      The Boys in the Boat, pp. 1-80.
28         Friday              Clauses & Phrases
31         Monday           The Boys in the Boat, pp. 81-145.
 2         Wednesday       The Boys in the Boat, pp. 146-191.
 4         Friday              4 Kinds of Sentences. Paper #1 Due.
 7         Monday           NO CLASSES
 9         Wednesday     The Boys in the Boat, pp. 192-319.
11         Friday            The Comma.
14         Monday          The Boys in the Boat, pp. 320-370.
16         Wednesday     Wrap-up
18         Friday             Semicolon & Colon
21         Monday          Wild, pp. 1-44.
23         Wednesday     Wild, pp. 45-115
25         Friday             Voice:  Passive & Active. Paper #2 Due.
28         Monday          Wild, pp. 116-174.
30         Wednesday     Wild, pp. 175-234
 2         Friday             Mood:  Indicative, Imperative, Subjunctive.
 5         Monday          Wild, pp. 235-311.
 7         Wednesday     Wrap-up
 9         Friday             Verb Tenses (Well, 6 of Them)
12         Monday         Fall Break.  No Classes.           
14         Wednesday    Into the Wild, pp. 1-37.
16         Friday           Nominalization. Paper #3 Due.
19         Monday        Into the Wild, pp. 38-85.
21         Wednesday   Into the Wild, pp. 86-126.
23         Friday           Dash, Hyphen, Ellipsis, Parenthesis, & Brackets
26         Monday        Into the Wild, pp. 127-156.
28         Wednesday   Into the Wild, pp. 157-186.
30         Friday           Review
 2         Monday           Into the Wild, pp. 187-203
 4         Wednesday     Wrap-up.
 6         Friday               Paper #4 Due.
 9         Monday           Student Presentations.
11         Wednesday     Student Presentations.
13         Friday             Student Presentations.
16         Monday          Student Presentations.
18         Wednesday     Student Presentations.
20         Friday             Student Presentations.
23         Monday          Conferences.
25         Wednesday     Conferences.
27         Friday             NO CLASSES.
30         Monday          Conferences.
 2         Wednesday     Evaluations. Thesis Paper #5 Due.
 7         Monday          Grammar Books Due in my office.

08 January 2015

ENG 341:  Shakespeare Among His Contemporaries

T & R:  9.30 – 10.50 am

OM 354

Dr. Stephen Mead

Dr. Molly Smith

Course Description

This course will engage students in reading and analyzing plays from the English Renaissance, and encourage them to see Shakespeare alongside his contemporaries as part of a vibrant, engaging, and innovative theatrical culture.  The course will introduce students to social and cultural contexts in Renaissance London and England and compel them to discuss such issues as the extent to which society influenced theatre and theatre, in turn, shaped society. 


We will read 8 plays:  two comedies, two histories, and four tragedies.  Students will identify one critical essay on a play and lead the class in a 15-20 minute discussion of the same.  Readings (other than the plays, which students are encouraged to purchase in hard copy so that they are in sync with the particular editions selected for the class) will be placed on Moodle.

Student Responsibilities

Attend all scheduled class sessions; your final grade will be lowered by one decrement (e.g., B to B-) for every absence beyond three. Students who have excessive absences may be asked to withdraw from the class.  General tardiness will count as ½ an absence.

Read the assigned plays at least twice and contribute without prompting to class discussions

Complete and submit three 5-6 page analytical essays on assigned topics by the assigned deadlines;

Select a critical essay, lead discussion of the same in class, and submit a one-page response to
            the essay in writing within one week after the class discussion

Complete a mid-term and a final examination on their scheduled dates


-          Acquire a deeper understanding of the social and cultural contexts that resulted in theatre’s renaissance in late-sixteenth and early seventeenth century London;

-          Develop an appreciation for the richness of Renaissance drama, and understand Shakespeare as a writer in regular dialogue and debate with his contemporaries;
-          Understand the extent to which Renaissance theatre might help us negotiate modern/contemporary/twenty-first century issues surrounding race and gender, freedom and social constraints, hierarchy and equality, class and privilege, authority and subversion, alterity and inside-ness.

Objectives / Student Learning Outcomes

-          Through three 5-6 page essays, strengthen one’s critical thinking, argumentation, research, and writing skills;

-          Through in-class discussions, demonstrate one’s ability to read texts closely while understanding the larger social and cultural contexts in which they were created; also, participate in “growing” class ideas, showing how an idea is not finished once one “comes up with it”;

-          Identify one critical essay written post 1990 on one of the assigned plays and lead  discussion on the critical piece and its application to the play; note the article’s central argument, its methodology, and its use of secondary sources;

-          Through mid-term and final exams, demonstrate your ability to amalgamate  knowledge into cogent arguments which demonstrate fresh insights into texts and an ability to engage with literary theory and criticism in evolving those insights.



Christopher Marlowe, Edward II (New Mermaids) and William Shakespeare, Richard II (Folger)

Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew (1597) and John Fletcher, The Tamer Tamed (1612)

Shakespeare, Macbeth (1605) and Thomas Middleton, Women Beware Women (1621)

Shakespeare, Othello and Middleton and Rowley, The Changeling (1622)

N.B. All Shakespeare editions are Folger Shakespeare Library paperbacks; all other plays are New Mermaids paperbacks.


January 13, Tuesday:              Introductions / Contexts
January 15, Thursday              Edward II
January 20, Tuesday               Edward II
January 22, Thursday              Edward II
January 27, Tuesday               Richard II
January 29, Thursday              Richard II
February 3, Tuesday               Richard II
February 5, Thursday              The Taming of the Shrew
February 10, Tuesday             The Taming of the Shrew
February 12, Thursday            Taming and The Tamer Tamed (Paper #1 Due)

February 17, Tuesday             The Tamer Tamed
February 19, Thursday            The Tamer Tamed
February 24, Tuesday             Macbeth
February 26, Thursday            Macbeth
March 3, Tuesday                   Macbeth
March 5, Thursday                  Mid-term Examination

. . . Spring Break . . .

March 17, Tuesday                 Women Beware Women
March 19, Thursday                Women Beware Women
March 24, Tuesday                 Women Beware Women
March 26, Thursday                Advising Day – No classes
March 31, Tuesday                 Presentations (Paper # 2 Due)
April 2, Thursday                     Presentations
April 7, Tuesday                      Presentations
April 9, Thursday                     Othello
April 14, Tuesday                    Othello
April 16, Thursday                   Othello
April 21, Tuesday                    The Changeling
April 23, Thursday                   The Changeling
April 28, Tuesday                    The Changeling (Paper # 3 Due)
April 30, Thursday                   Wrap-up
May 5, Tuesday                      Final Exam (8:00-10:00)


Papers should provide thesis-driven, interpretive arguments that engage with and/or challenge conventional interpretations of the texts.  Introductory paragraphs must have a clear thesis, methodology, and argument for its own importance (i.e., why is this thesis worth considering?) 
T.I.M: thesis-importance-methodology. Body paragraphs need a topic sentence that connects the paragraph’s idea to the paper’s thesis. Analysis must center on close reading of selected passages:  exploration of how word choice, tone, meter, imagery, syntax, sound effects, repetition, etc. affect the denotative meaning of the passage, in light of your thesis. Unless you speak with the professors at least 24 hours before a due date, late papers will be lowered by one decrement for each calendar day they are tardy.  All papers must be submitted in a cardboard folder with at least two earlier drafts that show the development of the process writing.  Make it clear which copy is the final version.  Each paper is worth 15% of the final grade.
Exams will require you to identify passages from the plays and to write a blue-book essay. Each Exam is worth 20% of the final grade.

*”specific place” does not mean “I.iii.12-22,” or anything that precise; nor does it mean “in the middle of the play” or anything that vague.  It means something along the lines of “when Hamlet visits his mother’s chambers after the play has been performed.”

Participation means your coming to class on time, prepared, having thought about critical issues of the plays, and speaking to the purpose without prompting.  Participation means taking copious notes, listening to and engaging with other students (not just the professors), and following up on class discussions with office meetings, study groups, and trips to the Writing Center.  Participation is worth 15% of your final grade.

Students with special needs must contact the professors in the first week of classes, and they will make all reasonable accommodations.

Office Hours:

Stephen X. Mead         OM312b. tel. 4336, smead@stmartin.edu TR 8:30-9:00, 11:00-11:50.
AND BY APPOINTMENT.  You may leave me a voice or email message, to which I will typically respond by the next class meeting

Molly E. Smith             OM201.  tel.4310, MSmith@stmartin.edu    TR 8.00 – 9.15 and by appointment

Students are strongly encouraged to form reading/study groups to work on reading comprehension, thesis construction, note sharing, and mutual support.  A good size for groups is 3-5; a good session is 45minutes-one hour; a good number of meetings per week is 2.

You must complete all assignments to pass the class.

See Professor Mead’s blog for copies of the syllabus and other relevant handouts: