Description + Objectives:
This course will examine prose and poetry produced by the English Renaissance,
a time period stretching slightly beyond the beginning and ending points
of the 1500's, sometimes referred to as the Tudor or Elizabethan Age to
reflect the reigning monarchs' influence on the literature of the period.
We will consider texts in their historical/cultural/political context and
interrogate the material circumstances of their production. This
course is designed to lead students to a deeper knowledge of the wide variety
of English sixteenth-century non-dramatic texts, an understanding of the
role of gender identity in Early Modern culture, a sense of the methods
of New Historical critique, and an appreciation for the construction of
knowledge in a community of scholars.
Rollins, Hyder E. and Herschel Baker. The Renaissance in England:
Non-dramatic Prose and Verse of the Sixteenth Century. Prospect
Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc.
Martin, Randall, ed. Women Writers in Renaissance England.
Various critical readings supplied in class.
Methods and Evaluation:
This course will be conducted as a series of collaborative, inquiry-driven
seminar sessions. Students will determine the specific track of our
investigation and construct the knowledge gained by semester's end by focusing
on a few questions springing from a collection of "feeder" topics (The Questions).
Lecture will be kept to a minimum and class time will focus, instead, on
student-led discussion and dialogue.
Because this is a student-centered course, all assigned reading from primary
and supplementary critical texts must be completed prior to class meeting
if the group is to fully benefit from discussion.
- Students are expected to attend every class session. Emergencies do arise, however. If you expect to be absent from class, please make every attempt to get assignments in advance and make up work after the fact. More than seven absences for any reason will be grounds for a failing grade in the course.
A major part of the learning process will rise out of informal
written responses to readings = 20%
Students will be asked to keep a "dialectical notebook" for the first month
of class in order to firmly establish a rich oral discussion during class
Students will be asked to contribute to a class Commonplace Book [see Commonplace Books]
during the second month of the course. Paricipants will record their
esponses to the readings in the pages of this book, and it will then be
circulated among our "coterie," in much the same way such reading groups
functioned in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
The course electronic discussion board will take the place of the notebook
and Commonplace Book for the remainder of the semester.
A research paper will be submitted at the end of the semeseter = 25%
- It should be approximately 10-12 pages long and explore a question or issue
that rises out of our course dialogue.
- Its thesis must be supported
by textual evidence from both primary texts and secondary critical sources
- A paper proposal is due at the beginning of class on Friday, September 29. You should be prepared to share a brief explanation of your project with the class and post that description to this site so that others can help you with your research as they work on their projects and discover sources that may be of help to you.
The course web page will evolve as the class dialogue progresses.
Each student will be expected to develop a section of the course web
site devoted to an inquiry of his/her choice and add to that section
during the course of the semester. By the end of the semester, students
will have constructed tentative answers to some of the questions they have
posed over the fourteen week long discussion, and their web work will have
served as the working draft of their final research paper = 25%
Two Exams = 20%
The traditional idea of "class participation" is unequal to the
task of defining student involvement in this course. Because students,
and not the instructor, will construct the knowledge emerging at the end
of the course, active engagement during class meetings, and outside of
them in electronic spaces, is the engine that will drive student satisfaction.
To kick start that engine and keep it purring, a component of the final
grade will assess the RPMs at which individual "engines" ran during the
semester = 10%