08 January 2016

Literature and Theology Spring 2016

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

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