Spring 2011


January Week 1 Week 2

Topics Homework
W 1/19
Introduction to Literacy, Technology, and Society (Consciousness, History, Identity, Story, Plot, Narrative)

Jay David Bolter handout.
Obtain books, including Cobley's Narrative via the online retailers on Bookfinder.
F 1/12 Literacy and Orality
Film Clip: Turkis medieval song from Homer: Singer of Tales
Read Ong, Chapters 1 and 2
M 1/24
Conclude Ong, C 1 and 2 Preparation Sheet 1: Ong C 1 and 2
W 1/26

Chirographic and Typographic Cultures
Julian Jaynes
Begin Film: The Machine that Made Us

F 1/28 The Significance of Print; the Typographic "Us," Secondary Orality.
Conclude and Discuss Film: The Machine that Made Us.
Be prepared to discuss the three questions on the film's preparation sheet. If you'd like to re-watch some of the film, see the site Top Documentary Films.
M 1/31
  Preparation Sheet 2: Ong Chapter 3, "Psychodynamics of Orality" [Literacy]

  Topics Homework
W 2/2   "Ong Chapter 4 "Writing Restuctures Consciousness"
F 2/4   Dracula, pages 29-122
M 2/7
  Dracula, pages 123-231
W 2/9   Dracula, pages 232-328
F 2/11
  Dracula, pages 329-419
M 2/14
Print, Closure, Spacialization of Knowledge

Case in point: family histories (oral, written, print).

Read Ong, Chapter 5 "Print, Space, Closure"
W 2/16 "Proper" Historians and Metahistorians

Marx's "engine of history," base and superstructure.
Historical Texts

Moses Coit Tyler's A History of American Literature 1607 - 1765.

Karl Marx "Preface" to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (starting in particular with the fourth paragraph)

F 2/18 Discourse and Tropics Hayden White's Tropics of Discourse, Introduction, printout and read PDF via Moodle

M 2/21
Plots of History Hayden White's Tropics of Discourse, Chapter 2 "Interpretation of History"printout and read PDF via Moodle
W 2/23 Midterm format

Complete Group Work: White's Plots of History

Enlightenment, Literacy, and Print

Print out, and actively read Immanuel Kant's "What is Enlightenment?"

Respond to the Reading Questions supplied.
F 2/25 Literacy, Publicness, and Democracy Habermas's Chapter 1 of The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere via Moodle.

Come in with three quotations marked that suggest how the public sphere has changed over the centuries.

Be ready to discuss how the three quotations trace an outlines of the story Habermas is telling.

M 2/28
Meet in KPlz 143 rather than our usual room

Review for exam
Exam Prep: Before noon on Monday, visit the "Exam" section of Moodle, and submit three example/suggestions to the forum "Match Items," three to "Fill in the Blanks," and one major-idea question to "Short Answer"

We will meet for class in KPlz 143 (a computer lab). Please bring all the books, handouts, and printouts of readings we've discussed during the semester so far. 


Topics Homework
W 3/2 MIDTERM EXAM (in usual room, EduE 20) Bring a reliable blue or black pen

No blue books needed

Since this is a closed-book exam, no books, printouts, or notes can be used.

F 3/4 No Class Meeting  
M 3/7
1984 Orwell's 1984, pgs. 1- 104.

How do the theories of Marx, Ong, Habermas, Kant, and/or White explain the dystopia (opposite of utopia) of the novel 1984? How can the ideas and terminology of one or more of these thinkers explain what is wrong with the world Orwell describes?

Come in with three quotations (with page numbers) and some notes on each that apply particular ideas or passages from these theorists.

W 3/9   1984 pgs. 105- 224
F 3/11   1984 pgs. 225 - end

M 3/14
M 3/21
Reflective, Intentional, Constructivist forms of meaning;
Story, Plot, and Narrative;
Sequence, Space, Time
Cobley, Chapter 1 "In the Beginning, The End"

Of all the forms that literate "discourse" (in the Hayden White sense) can take, narrative is one of the most fundamental and common.
W 3/23 mimesis (dramatic imitation) and pure narrative, Romper Stomper (film), fiction as special kind of truth (Aristotle vs. Plato), Cobley, Chapter 3 "The Rise and Rise of the Novel." Bring Dracula and 1984
F 3/25   Cobley, Chapter 4, "Realism"
11WEEK 10
M 3/28
  Cobley Chapter 5, "Beyond Realism"
W 3/30   Cobley, Chapter 6 "Modernism and Cinema"


Topics Homework
F 4/1   Cobley, Chapter 7 "Postmodernism"
M 4/4

1. an "incredulity toward metanarratives"
2. Loss of the Real
3. Blurring Distinctions between High and Low Cultures
4. Fragmented, Discontinuous Forms
5. Characteristic Attitude of Irony and Self-Consciousness.

Bridget Jones' Diary (read all for next time)
W 4/6 Postmodernism and Bridget Jones' Diary

Pride and Prejudice: Mr Darcy's First Appearance

Bridget Jones' Diary: Intro

Postmodern Fight Scene (Mark and Daniel fight from Bridget Jones' Diary).
Bridget Jones' Diary. 500-word Prep Sheet due

From the five features of postmodernism discussed today in class, write about three ways that Bridget Jones' Diary exemplifies postmodern attitudes and assumptions: both in the character of Bridget and in the ways her story is told.

For each of the three points, be sure to include and comment on a quotation from the novel with parenthetical citation.

For one of the points, include and relate a quotation from Cobley's discussion of postmodernism.

F 4/8 The Vocabulary of Comics (and all "sequential art") McCloud, Understanding Comics, Chapter Two

Make a list of McCloud's points
M 4/11
Time Frames, and Show and Tell McCloud, Understanding Comics, Chapters Four and Six
W 4/13   Persepolis: Introduction, and pages 3-80

Complete the Prep Work by answering the questions on Persepolis 1, with your responses sent to the appropriate online forums.

Also respond to one other posting that you agree with. In your response, make a connection between the example or concept presented by your classmate to another example or concept from the book(s).

F 4/14   Persepolis: 81 - 153
M 4/18
Film Literacy: The Four Parameters of Film Write about a "dialogical opposition" (a concept discussed in class
today) from the graphic novel.  Cite at least three instances of this
opposition being invoked, elaborated, or referenced in the novel. How do this opposition and these references serve as a key to Satrapi's purpose in the novel?  to what she is saying about Iran and her
experiences growing up?  For once of these instances, analyze in
detail Satrapi's visual style or design and cite a particular idea and page number from McCloud.

See the handout Dialogical Meaning we talked about in class today at

This prep sheet follows the usual guidelines for length and format.

W 4/20 Psycho

the script of Psycho
Bring several pieces of paper to take notes on the film. The pages should be turned landscape and divided into four columns, each labeled with one of the four parameters of film discussed last time.

F 4/22 Psycho

Handout: The Tragic Wit of Psycho (Donald Spoto)
In a reply to the forum "Psycho 1," write a one-paragraph analysis of one scene or sequence in Psycho. Discuss how two or more of the four parameters of film work together to "formally" suggest meaning--that is, meaning suggested by the way the scene is arranged, shot, and edited, rather than by the action/dialogue of the scene itself. Try to describe in detail the interplay and coordination of these parameters.

M 4/25

Return of prep sheets
From Analysis, to Film, to Analysis
In a reply to the forum "Psycho 2," write a long paragraph that does the following:

Begin with...
1. something Spoto observes
about Psycho. Find a...
2. scene, shot, or sequence in the film that illustrates and supports that observation....
3. Then, think about how that same scene, shot, or sequence illuminates something else Spoto says in the handout.
4. Finally, respond to someone else's Moodle posting, calling attention to some connection or parallel between that posting and your own.

In essence, we're using one piece or aspect of Psycho to enable us to see how two of the many ideas Spoto talks about (Gothicism, the American Dream, wit, sadness, bathrooms, audience manipulation, tragedy, economy of style, etc.) work together in the film.

W 4/27 Psycho Bring in a written paragraph about two patterns or consistencies you see in Hitchcock's use of one or more of the four parameters of film.

F 4/29

Sven Birkerts

Video review of Grand Theft Auto IV

Sven Birkers' The Gutenberg Elegies, Introduction and Chapter 1. See the PDF files in the "Readings" section of Moodle.


Topics Homework
M 5/2
Janet Murray: Four Properties of Digital Environments

"52 Card Psycho"

Janet Murray's Hamlet on the Holodeck, Chapter 3: "From Additive to Expressive Form" (see the Moodle site under "Readings")

W 5/4 Janet Murray: Agency in Digital Environments

Final Exam format
Janet Murray's Hamlet on the Holodeck, Chapter 5: "Agency" (see the Moodle site under "Readings")
F 5/6 Review:
Details; Ideas; Form vs. Content; Technology, Literacy, Society.

Here, I will post a link to a sample Moodle "quiz" so you can see how the interface of the final exam will function. If there are problems with this sample, please let me know well before the exam so I can be sure all technical issues are addressed.

For Friday, post a message to the forum "Final Exam Sample Questions." See the handout for details.

FINAL R 5/12, 4:00 - 5:55 Online FINAL EXAM via Moodle (open book, open note, 2-hour time limit, anytime on Thursday 5/12)