Schedule | Spring 2012



Homework to Complete Topics in Class
W 1/18
Obtain books Introduction to Literacy, Technology, and Society
(Consciousness, History, Identity, Story, Plot, Narrative)

Jay David Bolter handout: The Cathedral and the Book.

Active Reading

F 1/20 Read Ong, Chapters 1 and 2 and come in prepared to answer the Reading Questions.

Literacy and Orality

Film Clip: Turkish medieval song from Homer: Singer of Tales

Plato's Phaedrus, starting with the paragraph "But he who thinks that in the written word" about two screens from the bottom.

Reading Questions for Chapter 3

M 1/23
Read Ong Chapter 3, "Psychodynamics of Orality" [Literacy]

The Oral Mind


W 1/25 Read "Ong Chapter 4 "Writing Restuctures Consciousness"

Write a 500-word Preparation Sheet: Ong Chapter 4 which answers the following question:

"According to Ong, how does the technology of writing "restructure consciousness" and how does this restructuring affect human society?"

This preparation sheet should
- be a formal piece of writing
- use MLA citation and documentation format
- include at least three quotations from Ong (at least two from Chapter 4)
- practice "critical focus"

Writing Restructures Consciousness

Discussion of Chapter 4 ("sharing your sandwiches")

Plato's Phaedrus, starting with the paragraph "But he who thinks that in the written word" about two screens from the bottom.

Handout: "Civilization" from Keywords (Raymond Williams)

F 1/27 Bring your Ong book and the Jay David Bolter handout: The Cathedral and the Book.

The Machine that Made Us
Chirographic and Typographic Cultures

Cathedral and Book (Institutionalization)

Begin Film: The Machine that Made Us

Handout: Viewing Guide for the film,

M 1/30
Bring your Ong book

Be prepared to discuss the three questions on the film's Viewing Guide.
The Machine that Made Us

Conclude and Discuss Film: The Machine that Made Us.

Key to Response Symbols

Your preparation sheets will have evaluations in three categories: Content, Execution, Mechanics

Comments on narrative (Cobley)

  Homework Topics
W 2/1 "Cobley, Chapter 1 "In the Beginning, The End"
Story, Plot, Narrative

Discussion The Machine that Made Us

Discuss Cobley
Reflective, Intentional, Constructivist forms of meaning;
Story, Plot, and Narrative;
Sequence, Space, Time

Comments on Prep Sheet symbols and issues

F 2/3 Cobley, Chapter 3 "The Rise and Rise of the Novel." The Problem of Representation (narrative mimesis)

(dramatic imitation) and pure narrative,

Allegory Example: John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress (section 1) (1678)

Aristotle vs. Plato
Romper Stomper (film)

M 2/6
Read Cobley, Chapter 4, "Realism"

Reading Question: Conventionally, "realistic" representation is assumed to be objective, scientific, and apolitical. Throughout this chapter, however, Cobley argues otherwise.

Identify at least three of Cobley's reasons, ideas, examples, or arguments that show how realist narrative is not pure or uncontroversial.

Realism (Cobley C4)

Review of Chapter 3 (The Rise and Rise of the Novel)

W 2/8 1. Read Cobley Chapter 5, "Beyond Realism"

2. In Chapter 4, Cobley argues the 19th and 20th centuries saw a transformation in the scale of economic life (i.e., "capitalism") through three phases (98). These phases had profound effects on both the form and focus of narratives, and on contemporary models of individualism or identity. In Chapter 5, Cobley is describing the last phase of economic development: the global or "imperialist" stage.

Identity at least three passages or examples from Chapter 5 that demonstrate the characteristics of this third phase, and how those characteristics resulted in "modernist" narrative style and a "modernist" identity.

In a reply to the Moodle forum "Cobley C5" (by noon today), give the page number, a brief quotation, and two or three sentences of explanation for each of your choices.

Modernism (Cobley C5)

Imitation and Articulation (showing and telling, scene and summary, imitative mimesis and the poet's voice)

Bahkin's Dialogism (narrative space)

Comment: Narrative Levels

F 2/10
Read The Picture of Dorian Gray: the "Preface" and the novel through the end of Chapter 8

Reading Question:

The Picture of Dorian Gray
is a book about the relationship of art and life (or, to generalize, representation and life).

Ong and Cobley have both been talking about this relationship in their discussions of literacy and narrative (two forms of representation).

Find two lines, passages, or scenes from Dorian Gray that illustrate or dramatize a specific idea from either Ong or Cobley.

Come in with all pages numbers recorded (both in Wilde and Cobley/Ong) and notes to describe the two connections you've made..

Bring all three books.

Picture of Dorian Gray
M 2/13
1. Read The Picture of Dorian Gray, Chapter 9 to the end.

2. moodle In a message to the Moodle forum "Widle Dualisms," identify 3 quotations with page numbers which demonstrate the novel's ongoing preoccupation with any of the dualisms we discussed in class:
* morality/sensuality
* philosoph/ art
* Beauty/Genius
* Emotion/Intellect
* Pretend/Real
* Senses/Soul

Write a paragraph under these quotations that explain if you see either:

A. an emerging trend or consensus toward closure about the true relationship between any of these oppositions (for instance, how the competing values of morality and sensuality can or cannot be reconciled)
OR B. an apparent effort by Wilde to maintain an open dialogic between or among them which refuses any impulse to settle the question.

3. Thought question: Be ready to discuss if you think the contemporary criticisms of Picture of Dorian Gray are justified
- immorality of the book generally
- characters are callow "puppies" not worthy of our attention
- book is a "self-advertisement" for Wilde's self-created cult of personality

4. Mark in your text and be ready to discuss: Identify two lines from the preface in which you see Wilde responding to and attempting to refute these criticisms. Be ready to elaborate on the logic behind each of these brief, epigrammatic declarations.

Picture of Dorian Gray

Lecture: Aestheticism and Decadence


- the ending of Dorian Gray

- the Preface as a response to the criticisms of the books as immortal and a self-advertisement.

Resource: Excerpts from Walter Pater's The Renaissance

W 2/15 Read Dracula, pages 29-122

Thought questions:
1. During Jonathan Harker's journey to, and stay with, Dracula at his castle, Stoker suggests contrasts of East and West (Transylvania and Britain). Identify two specific phrases, passages, or descriptions where Stoker characterizes (or even just implies a characterization of) differences between East and West.

...What role do literacy and technology play in shaping those respective societies?

...In what ways do Dracula and Jonathan exemplify their respective societies?

2. Based on your notes from the discussion of aestheticism and decadence, find at least two passages that suggest an influence of aestheticism/literary decadence on Stoker's writing of Dracula.


Keynote Talk: Stoker, Dracula, and the End of the Century

The East/West Dialogic

: "Notes on the Gothic Mode"
F 2/17 Read Dracula, pages 123-231 No Class Meeting Today

M 2/20
Read Dracula, pages 232-328

Be prepared for some plot-oriented questions that might take the form of a pop-quiz.

W 2/26 Read Dracula, pages 329-419 (to the end)

Write and Print Out:
Our previous handout, "Notes on the Gothic Mode," suggests that a Gothic story might fulfill a a radical/critical function or a conservative function--or maybe, variously, both. Which do you think best describes Dracula?

As part of composing your answer, take a look at the online handout about cultural work and its distinction of reinforcing "current structures of feeling..." vs. rehearsing "new patterns" that "history has made necessary."

Write and print out a paragraph that includes two quotations from the book which supports your opinion.


Handout: Midterm format

- sexuality
- gender (femininity, masculinity)
- colonialism, imperialism, globalism
- race, nationhood
- progress or degeneracy?
- charismatic individualism vs. "power of combination" (277)

Handout: Resistance to Modernity

Discussion: conservative or radical/critical?

F 2/24 Read Ong, Chapter 5 "Print, Space, Closure" Ong C5: Print, Closure, Spacialization of Knowledge

Comment: Sample Exam Format

- Modernity evolves: the case of race and the analogy of musical styles

- Chirographic culture (chiro = hand as in "chiropractor") vs. Typographic Culture (1440)

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

Preview: historical readings for next time.

M 2/27
Historical Texts

moodle Read Moses Coit Tyler's A History of American Literature 1607 - 1765. (1879) available from the "Readings" section of our Moodle site.

In reading the above, consider Hayden White's distiction between "proper historians" and "metahistorians" from page 52 of Tropics of Discourse (See the handout from class last time or find the page in Chapter 2 of his book in our Moodle site under "Readings").

White questions the "proper historian's" claim of scientifically explaining or reconstructing history without interpretation.

Find passages and wording in Tyler's historical account that suggest how historiography is more art than science, more "narrative" (see Cobley pages 5-6)

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

Read this as both an example of what White calls "metahistory," and also an interpretation of the historical processes we've been discussing in class (think of Ong, the big timeline on the board, the succession of eras in Cobley, etc.).

"Proper" Historians and Metahistorians


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

TED Talk: David Byrne: How architecture helped music evolve
W 2/29 SNOW DAY  


Homework Topics
F 3/2 Print out and read Hayden White's "Introduction" to his book Tropics of Discourse. Skip the portions missing or marked out in the PDF.

Find the PDF via our Moodle site

Discourse and Tropics

Why history matters today (Fredric Jameson)

In-Class Quiz
: White's Introduction

"Fifty keels ploughed the deep":

... synechdoche (names whole with a part),
... metaphor (names via an unlike comparison),
... metonomy (names via attribute only)

M 3/5
Printout and read Hayden White's Tropics of Discourse, Chapter 2 "Interpretation of History." Find the PDF via our Moodle site

Consider these questions and come in with pages numbers and passages to help answer them.

1. White distinguishes the "proper history" from metahistory. What are the differences that he describes or suggests? How does White then question or complicate this distinction?

2. According to White, what is the relationship between history and myth?

White suggests that there are correlations among kinds of histories, literary genres (or "modes of emplotment"), and certain political/ideological perspectives. How does White explain these correlations using his idea of tropes?

Plots of History

Group Work: White's Plots of History
W 3/7 Print out, and actively read Immanuel Kant's "What is Enlightenment?"

Respond to the Reading Questions supplied.

Enlightenment, Literacy, and Print

F 3/9 Read Cobley C6: Modernism and Cinema

Reading Guide and Response:
Copy the following questions into a Word file and, for each, record page numbers and brief verbal tags that point to two quotations from Cobley that help answer it. Print out the document and bring it to class. (Note that your answers may be handwritten or typed on the printout.)

1. What are the features of modernist narrative (how does it differ from realist or traditional narrative)

2. What are the features of a modernist self?

3. In what ways does cinematic narrative differ from print narrative? What are some of cinematic narrative's features and techniques?

4. What are some ways that modernist ideas and attitudes have been expressed in cinema? What are some examples?

Modernism and Cinema (Cobley C6)
The Odessa Steps scene from The Battleship Potempkin)
Man with a Movie Camera
Picasso by Juan Gris
Un Chien Andalou (The Andalusian Dog)

M 3/19
Exam Prep: Please bring all books and materials to class.

Review for exam

Priorities in Exam
1. Transformative definitions
2. Who says what: sources, ultimate sources
3. Key ideas to explaining the problems and possibilities of "New Media Writing"
Debates, Dialogues, Differences: this vs. that, this before that, this lead to that;
5. The Story of ideas over time

Intellectual Postcards (see explanation):
1. Work (source)
2. Term or Phrase Defined
3. Relation to other terms and ideas
a Specific or concrete example

Before the end of the day, post your postcard description (with page numbers) to the forum "Midterm Exam Postcards."

At the bottom of the message, be sure to identify everyone in your group.

W 3/21 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 3/23 Read Orwell's 1984, pgs. 1- 104.

Reading Questions:

What are some ways that the government controls society in 1984?

Indentify three quotations that help describe these methods and their effects.

On a piece of paper, write down the page numbers and some notes on each to use in discussion.

1984 (1-104)

M 3/26

1984 pgs. 105- 224
Reading Questions:

What kind of rebel is Julia? How does she differ from Winston in her rebellion?

How does Orwell describe the paperweight? What does it represent to Winston? How does Orwell use it in the story?

In what ways does war serve the Party's interests?
1984 (105- 224)

Intellectual Postcards (Ideas Site)


W 3/28 Read 1984 pgs. 225 - end

Write: moodle Before noon today, answer the following in the Moodle forum, "Orwell"

1. Describe a way that Orwell's social and political satire still applies today, even to situations (and with technologies) he never imagined. Be sure to cite a particular quotation from the novel.

2. How does 1984 illustrate any idea from the theories of Marx, Ong, Kant, White, those in Cobley, or any other work or handout we've read? Cite a specific quotation from 1984 and a passage from one of these other sources. How can we use any of these ideas to explain what's gone wrong with the society in Orwell's dystopia?

1984 (225 - end)

The Real Room 101
base and superstructure
F 3/30 Cobley, Chapter 7 "Postmodernism"

Begin reading Eyre Affair to be completed by Monday.

1. An "incredulity toward metanarratives" in favor of "'little,' local narratives of personal pleasures, identity, and circumstances" (Lyotard) (Cobley 187-188)

2. A loss of innocence about belief in "the real" (Cobley 174)

3. A blurring of distinctions between high and low cultures (the serious and the trivial)

4. A cultural environment of fragmented, discontinuous forms: from the logic of closure to the logic of "flow" (Williams) (195-96)

5. An stance of irony and self-consciousness ("It's all been done before")

Marx's base and superstructure
Handout: Postmodernism


Homework Topics
M 4/2
The Eyre Affair (read all) Postmodernism and Fforde


- Layar - Impactful Augmented Reality
- A Visit to Times Square
- Making a Cup of Tea (Augmented Reality: Domestic Robocop)

W 4/4 1. Begin reading Bridget Jones' Diary for next time

2. Questions for The Eyre Affair.

Come in with at least two quotations and page numbers that address each of the following questions:

A. Re-read the conversation between Thursday and her father on pages 3-6. How does this scene set up the novel's treatment of the relationship of the present to history, the past, and time. Consider the ways that postmodern attitudes about "grand narratives," "the real," and "fragmentation" can help explain this attitude toward history and time.

B. Steampunk is a style that imagines a world in which the internal combustion engine was never invented. Though The Eyre Affair is not steampunk, it is an imaginative, "What-if" experiment. What are some ways that the world of The Eyre Affair is notably different from our world? Alternatively, what are some object of satire in the novel that are recognizable targets from our own, real world.

F 4/6 Bridget Jones' Diary (all)

Come to class with two passages (with page numbers) chosen to help answer the following questions.

1. If you found this book funny--a teacher never knows--let's think about its comic or satirical aspects. In general, what are we laughing at? Are there repeated objects of humor? What might Fielding be satirizing (criticizing) in this book?

2. What are some postmodern aspects or moments in this book? (See details from our handout and Cobley's chapter).

3. Bridget and her friends like to go out and indulge in what Bridget calls "drunken feminist ranting" (107). Is Bridget Jones' Diary feminist? anti-feminist? post-feminist? We've talked about how female gender identities in Dracula signal anxieties about the coming modernist age. What implications does postmodernism have for gender identities in (more or less) our own time?

Postmodernism and Bridget Jones' Diary

"Commentators such as Jean Baudrillard see the same period as dominated by the constant action of signs referring to themselves in an all-encomnpassing realm of 'simulation,' where signs take on value not because they refer to things in the world but because they refer only to each other" (Cobley 189)

"Producers of narratives [are] 'oppressed by the [postmodern] fear that whatever they might have to say has been said before, and condemned to self-consciousness by the climate of modern culture" (Lodge qtd. in Cobley 199).

Pride and Prejudice: Mr Darcy's First Appearance
Bridget Jones' Diary: Intro
Postmodern Fight Scene (Mark and Daniel's fight from Bridget Jones' Diary)
M 4/9
Bridget Jones' Diary Moodle Discussion

In the Moodle forum "Bridget Jones, Top Postmodernist" do a close reading of a particular passage: both what happens in the plot and the in the narrative (the writing itself).

How does this passage illustrate one (or more) of the characteristics of postmodernism? Be sure to use at least two quotations (with page numbers) and terminology from Cobley or our handout.

Postmodernism and Bridget Jones' Diary

Comment: Blind Date, Reality TV, and Postmodernism


"Commentators such as Jean Baudrillard see the same period as dominated by the constant action of signs referring to themselves in an all-encomnpassing realm of 'simulation,' where signs take on value not because they refer to things in the world but because they refer only to each other" (Cobley 189)

"Producers of narratives [are] 'oppressed by the [postmodern] fear that whatever they might have to say has been said before, and condemned to self-consciousness by the climate of modern culture" (Lodge qtd. in Cobley 199).

Blind Date (UK)
Pride and Prejudice: Mr Darcy's First AppearanceBridget Jones' Diary: Intro
Postmodern Fight Scene (Mark and Daniel's fight from Bridget Jones' Diary)

W 4/11 Read Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics, "Chapter Two", available from the Moodle forum.

Make a list of McCloud's points

The Vocabulary of Comics (and all "sequential art")

McCloud's Pyramid
Film Analysis: Visual Style
The Walking Dead Opening Credits
McCloud's Wizard of Oz (photo from film)

F 4/13  
M 4/16
Read Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics, Chapters Four and Six
Time Frames (C4), and Show and Tell (C6)

ResourcesMcCloud's Wizard of Oz (photo from film)
McCloud C4 Party
McCloud C4 Timeless
McCloud C6 Word/Image Art

W 4/18 1. Read Persepolis: all including introduction

2. moodle By noon today: In the three Moodle forums for Persepolis and McCloud, I will ask you to compare an individual panel or sequence of panels from Persepolis (cite page number and row number) to an idea/technique/effect from McCloud (represented by a particular panel or set of panels idenitfied by page/row number).

Write about three such comparisons:
1. one considering some aspect of Visual Style (McCloud's Chapter 2)
2. one considering some aspect of Panel Composition, Sequence and Time (McCloud's Chapter 4)
3. one considering some aspect of Word/Image Combinations (McCloud's Chapter 6).

In each case, try to explain how the McCloudesque technique affects the meaning and feeling Satrapi achieves in the story at that moment. In other words, we want to see how McCloud's various techniques actually matter when it comes to a real narrative.

Satrapi page 6.1 (Scene to Scene)
F 4/20

Film Literacy

Lecture: The Four Parameters of Film and introduction to Psycho.

Satrapi Suicide Bombers/Punk Rock Party (Scene to Scene)
McCloud C4 Timeless

Handout: The Tragic Wit of Psycho (Donald Spoto)

M 4/23
Read: The Tragic Wit of Psycho (Donald Spoto)

Choose a particular theme or effect described by Spoto to look for as you watch the film

Come in with several sheets of paper divided into four columns for taking notes on the four parameters of film: Cinematography, Editing, Mise en Scene, Sound.

Be prepared especially to take notes on the narrative of the film (as opposed to the story or plot), paying particular attention to how the film's technique serves a meaning and effect that Spoto talks about (and the meaning and effect of the film generally).

Essentially, we want to pay attention to how technique (narrative) is deployed not for its own sake, but for larger social, cultural, political, aesthetic purposes.


the script of Psycho
W 4/25 moodle Before noon today, post a paragraph to the Moodle forum "Psycho "1 about two patterns or consistencies you see in Hitchcock's use of one or more of the four parameters of film.


F 4/27 moodle 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.


Norman in Frame
Lila in Frame
M 4/30
moodle Visual Analysis
In the Moodle forum, "Psycho 3," post one or (if possible) two screen shots from the film and write a paragraph of commentary.

The commentary should perform a close reading of the effects achieved in those shots through cinematography and mise-en-scene (or perhaps the editing happening between those shots).

You can find many scenes and shots from Psycho available online, especially at YouTube.

To create the screen shots, try following the directions from my Techniques Site "Screen Shots." If you don't know or have access to Photoshop, you should be able to use any software that does basic image editing.

Save the image in the .jpg format, and make sure the width of the image is no more than 450 pixels.

To post an image to the Moodle forum, do the following:
1. In the "Your Reply" message window, click the tiny tree icon from the menu bar at the top of the text window.
2. In the Insert/edit Image Window, click "Find or upload an image"
3. In the File Picker Window, click the "Browse..." button to the right of "Attachment"
4. Browse to where you have saved the image (I would suggest .jpg format) and select it and click the "Open" button at the bottom of the window.
5. Back in the File Picker Window, click the "Upload this file" Button.
6. Back in the Insert/edit Image Window, click "Insert."
7. Back in the "Your Reply" area of the forum, add any more text or images to your reply and then click "Post to Forum."


Norman in Frame
Lila in Frame
Lila and the Rakes
McCloud: Simplicity and Realism (Identification)


Homework Topics
W 5/2 Print, read, mark, and bring in Sven Birkerts' The Gutenberg Elegies, "Introduction" and "Chapter 1."

See the PDF files in the "Readings" section of Moodle.

Sven Birkerts: Mass Media

Video review of Grand Theft Auto IV
Psycho Rally Monkey (Anaheim Angels)
"52 Card Psycho"

F 5/4 For Friday, post a message to the forum "Final Exam Sample Questions." See the handout for details.
Final Exam Prep

Here is 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.

Course Evaluations

52 Card Psycho"

Scheduled final time:Monday 5/7 for two hours between 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Online FINAL EXAM via Moodle
(open book, open note, 2-hour time limit)

moodle Complete the two-hour final exam via Moodle sometime between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. on Monday, May 7.

Remember to answer only three of the five questions.

If you have technical issues during office hours, call the ITSS Help Desk at 726-8847.

As a precaution, be sure to write each answer in text-editing software and save it in a file on your local computer.

After you have completed each answer, copy the text into that question's text box in Moodle.

If you have problems with Moodle during the exam time, please copy the text of your answers into an email and send the email to me no more than two hours of when after you started the exam.

If you are using Firefox and have trouble typing into a text box, use the handle grip in the lower right of the text box to enlarge it slightly.