03 September 2015

ENG101 Fall 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

ENG341 Shakespeare & His Contemporaries (w/Smith) Spring 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:

How to Receive a Paper Back from your Professor

How to Receive a Paper Back from Assessment One of the most important and, alas, overlooked aspects of learning in college is the approp...