Intro to Literary Study: Textual Ecologies (Undergrad)

Syllabus

English 10 LC – Introduction to Literature
Literature and the Culture of Information:
Textual Ecologies
Winter 2006

Catalog No. 50971
Meets: Tue & Thu 11 a.m. – 12:40 p.m.

Location: SH 1415

Instructor: Kim Knight (kimberly_knight@umail.ucsb.edu)
Office Hours: Tue & Thu 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. in Transcriptions (SH 2509)

Class website: http://kimknight.com
Online Forum
Class Wiki

Please note: The Transcriptions Studio RA this quarter is available for drop-in assistance during the following times:
Mon – 12 – 4
Tues – 2 – 4
Wed – 4 – 6
Thurs – 12 – 4

Course Description

In this version of English 10, we will use the basic principles of literary analysis to explore the intersections and disjunctions between literature and technology.

We will engage with a variety of content, from gothic fiction to contemporary prose and poetry, to visual texts such as graphic novels, films, or video games. Our movement through the course will progress genre-by-genre and a primary aspect of our work will be to tease out the threads that unite the wide range of texts under consideration.

We will also be reading a selection of critical works and learning some rudimentary web design skills in order to complete a web-based project. In addition, the class will include instruction in research and writing in print and digital environments.

Recommended for students interested in doing a future Literature and Culture of Information specialization. English 10 is required for all English majors and recommended for English minors.

Satisfies second half of GE requirement in Area A.

Required Texts

All of these books are available at the UCSB bookstore.

  • Gaiman, Neil. Marvel 1602. New York: Marvel Enterprises, 2004.
  • Gibson, William. Neuromancer. New York: Ace, 1984.
  • Hayles, N. Katherine. Writing Machines. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003.
  • Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. New York: WW Norton, 1996.

The course readings include a number of online texts: both traditional print texts that can be found online and those written exclusively for use with a computer.

Principle among the digital texts will be three hypertext novels:

  • Shelley Jackson’s Patchwork Girl (Found in the Transcriptions Studio)
  • Judy Malloy’s l0ve 0ne
  • Geoff Ryman’s 253

See the course schedule for other texts.

*At the moment, there are several texts that are listed but do not have links. I am in the process of scanning and uploading these and will update the syllabus as they are available. You are not required to purchase any texts beyond what is listed above.

Course Policies

Attendance

Much of the most valuable information will come out of our class discussions and your participation is necessary for our success. It is important that you come to every class prepared and on time. To be “prepared” means that you have thoughtfully engaged with the reading, completed the critical response assignment, are prepared to discuss it and that you are equipped with the supplies necessary to participate in class (books, paper, writing instruments, etc.)

Because your presence in class is important, three or more absences will impact your final grade. In most circumstances, six absences will result in failure. Three instances of tardiness will equal one absence.

Cell phones and pagers are to be turned off and kept out of my sight. If your phone or pager rings during class, or if I see you checking your messages / pages during class, you will be marked absent. No exceptions.

Email Policy

Since we are, after all, focusing on the culture of information, I have done my best to make the class as “paperless” as possible. As such, papers will be turned in via email. In addition, you are encouraged to contact me with questions, paper ideas, general comments, etc. via email.

Please be aware that I respond to most email messages within 24 hours Monday – Friday. If you send me an email and I do not respond during this timeframe, chances are that I did not receive it. It is your responsibility to re-send the email or to contact me another way.

Online Etiquette

As we will undoubtedly discover in class, the finer points of online communication can be tricky. Emotions are difficult to express and read. Our many online assignments will require vigilance to ensure that we are always preserving an atmosphere of mutual respect. Disagreements may arise and consensus may not be possible. We can, however, respect each person’s right to an opinion. Name calling or menacing behavior will not be tolerated.

Academic Honesty

From the UCSB General Catalog: “Materials submitted to fulfill academic requirements must represent a student’s own efforts. Any act of academic dishonesty, such as plagiarism or other forms of cheating, is unacceptable and will be met with disciplinary action.”

Plagiarism will result in a failing grade on the plagiarized assignment and possible disciplinary action by the university. We will review the proper way to use outside sources in order to avoid plagiarism; however, I encourage you to meet with me if you are at all uncertain about whether your writing could be misconstrued as plagiarism

Assignments

Participation – 10%

Critical Responses – 10%

Wiki Glossary – 10%

Wiki Group Presentation – 10%

Web Project – 20%

Close Reading Paper – 20%

Research Paper – 20%

Schedule

Jan 10 – Introduction

Jan 12 – Writing Machines

  • Critical Response Due. Post in class forum.
  • Terms: New media, technotext, material metaphor, hypertext, media-specific analysis.
  • Readings Due:
    • N. Katherine Hayles, Writing Machines, Preface, Ch. 1, Ch. 2 and Lexicon Linkmap, (p 4 – 33, 72).
    • Hayles, Writing Machines Online Lexicon Linkmap Peruse linkmap with particular attention to materiality and form (click on web supplement and then on the picture of the open book to access the linkmap).
    • Erik Loyer, “Webtake” on Writing Machines.Read webtake with particular attention to materiality and form
    Reading Eye Dog. Browse site to get a sense of the Reading Eye Dog’s purpose and its status as technotext

 Jan 17 – Visual Genealogies: Shaped Poetics and the ImageText

Jan 19 – Marvel 1602

  • Critical Response Due in class forum.
  • Terms: shaped poetics (Krystal), imagetext (Krystal), frame (Krystal), disjunction (Alex), synthesis (Alex), heterogeneous representation (Alex).
  • Readings Due:
    • Neil Gaiman, Marvel 1602, Parts 3 – 8, Afterword, browse Script and Sketches
    • Scott McCloud, excerpts from Understanding Comics. Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 8.

Jan 24 – Poetic Genealogies: Romantic  / Victorian and Modernist Poetry

Jan 26 – New Media Poetry

  • Critical Response due in class forum.
  • Group Wiki Presentation – New Media Poetry (Krystal)
    • Terms: rhythm (Gabrielle), free verse (Gabrielle), tropes (Gabrielle), metaphor (Amber), metonymy (Taryn), simile (Amber), personification (Amber), and synecdoche (Taryn), poetic diction, cacophony (Katy), euphony (Ashley), modernism (Katy), postmodernism (Katy).
  • Readings Due:

Mon, Jan 30

A full-length (i.e. minimum four page) draft of Paper One to be posted to the class forum no later than 5:30 PM.

Please read your workshop partner’s draft before coming to class on Tuesday.

Jan 31 – Frankenstein and Paper One Workshop

  • No Critical Response due.
  • Paper Workshop – Bring two copies of a full-length draft of your paper to class.
  • Readings Due:
    • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, Editor’s Preface, Author’s Preface and Vol I of Frankenstein (p vii – 59).
    • Read your paper workshop partner’s paper prior to coming to class.
    • Secondary Readings:
      • Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, “Mary Shelley’s Monstrous Eve” in Frankenstein (p 225 – 241).
      • Barbara Johnson “My Monster/My Self” in Frankenstein (p 241 – 251).

Feb 2 – Frankenstein, Part II

  • Critical Response due in class forum.
  • Group Wiki presentation – Frankenstein (Linh and Amber).
    • Terms: realism (Candace), narrative (Candace), epistolary novel (Candace), gothic, linearity (Taylor), aporia (Kai), epiphany (Linh).
  • Readings Due:
    • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, Vol ii (p 59 – 102)

Friday, Feb 3

  • Paper One is due on the class forum no later than 5:30 p.m. No Exceptions.
  • Insert your images in the midst of your text if they are small enough, or at the end of the paper. Just be sure to include a reference such as (see image 1) and then label them 1, 2, 3, etc.

Feb 7 – Frankenstein, Vol III and Patchwork Girl

Critical Response due class forum.

Readings Due:

  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, Volume III (p 103 – 157).
  • Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, “Mary Shelley’s Monstrous Eve,” Frankenstein (p 225 – 240).
  • Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, “Frankenstein and a Critique of Imperialism,” Frankenstein (p 262 – 270)
  • Secondary Readings
    • Donna Haraway, “Cyborg Manifesto
    • Familiarize yourself with the layout and workings of Shelley Jackson, Patchwork Girl (available in the Transcriptions Studio).

Feb 9 – Patchwork Girl

  •  Critical Response due in class forum.
  • Group Wiki Presentation – Patchwork Girl (Katy and Nicole)
    • Terms: Interactive fiction (Jessica), closure (Jessica), reading paths (Jessica), heterarchy (Taryn), linking mechanism (Linh).
  • Readings Due:

 Feb 14 – l0ve 0ne

Feb 16 – l0ve 0ne, Part II

Feb 21 – Neuromancer, Part I

Feb 23 – Neuromancer, Part II

Mon, Feb 27 – Draft of Paper Two is due in the class forum no later than 5:30 p.m.

Feb 28 – Robot Stories

Wed, Mar 1 – Respond to your paper workshop partner’s online draft in the class forum no later than 5:30 p.m.

Mar 2 – Robot Stories

  • Group Wiki Presentation – Robot Stories (Jenna and Candace).
  • Terms: lighting (Taylor), dialogue, editing, transition, shot, camera movement (Taylor), camera angle (Nicole), focus (Taylor).

Fri, Mar 3 – Paper Two no later than 5:30 p.m. No Exceptions. Post papers on the class forum.

Mar 7 – Short Stories

Mar 9 – The Narrative of Play

Mar 14 – Web Presentations

  • Draft of Web Project due.
  • Final draft of Wiki glossary and group entries due.
  • The following students will present their web projects-in-process and receive feedback:

Wed, Mar 22 – Final Exam Period 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

  • The following students will present their web projects and receive feedback:
  • Extra Credit Final Exam: An extra credit final exam will follow the web presentations and will consist of multiple choice and short answer questions on terminology and texts from the entire quarter.

Sun, Mar 29 – Web Projects Due

  • Web projects are due, i.e. must be online, by 5:30 p.m. You must email me the URL (web address) to let me know the project is complete.

 Assignments

Critical Responses

Due each class period, unless otherwise noted.

1 – 2 paragraphs, 125 words minimum, plus one discussion question. Critically respond to one or more of the readings due.

Responses should be posted in the class forum prior to the beginning of the class period. Although the assignment is online, treat it as a formal assignment – complete sentences and well-organized paragraphs, no IM speak, and no emoticons, please.

If you need ideas for a response, consider the following:
Were there any sections of the text that you found particularly interesting or exciting? why?
Were there any places where you found yourself disagreeing with the author? why?
What new concepts did you learn through the text and how do they relate to what you already knew or thought you knew?
Is the author leaving anything out? What didn’t he or she talk about that you wish they had?

The purpose of the Critical Response assignment is twofold: it prepares you for class discussion and starts you thinking about topics that may be appropriate for paper one or paper two.

Wiki Glossary

Ongoing Due Dates.

Each student will contribute 3 entries to a class Wiki. Terms will be assigned in class. See the Schedule section for terms and due dates.

Based upon our reading and your use of dictionaries and other sources, you will craft a definition for each term. Some words, such as “focus” have many meanings, but you will want to base your entry off of the meaning that is appropriate to our class. Each entry should be a minimum of 50 words to fully convey the meaning of the term.

Please note: Entries should be written in your own words.

If your definition includes the use of other terms in the wiki, you should link them using an “internal link.”

See the entry on materiality for an example.

Instructions for posting in class wiki

Please note: The first, full-length draft of each term is due on the date it is listed in the schedule. I will give you feedback on your entry following that date, and the final draft is due Tue, March 14th. This is so you have a chance to refine the definition as you find that it applies to the different genres and texts we will encounter throughout the quarter.

The class wiki will become a collaborative resource for use in writing your papers and preparing for the extra credit final exam.

Wiki Group Presentation

Ongoing Due Dates.

Groups will compose a wiki entry for a text or genre to be presented to the class.

The entry should include information about the author and context of the book, a brief plot summary (if applicable), key issues, links to relevant literary terms, and links to at least two outside sources. Entries should be a minimum of 200 words (links will not be included in word count).

See the Writing Machines entry for an example.

Instructions for posting in class wiki

Please note: A full-length draft of your wiki entry is due on the date of your presentation, including summary, context, key issues, and external links. I will give you feedback on your entry after your presentation, but final drafts are not due until Tue, Mar 14th. This is so you have a chance to link to all relevant terms, etc.

The class wiki will become a collaborative resource for use in writing your papers and preparing for the extra credit final exam.

Close Reading Paper

Paper One: Close Reading
Due via email Friday, Feb 3rd by 5:30 p.m.

Purpose:
To formulate a thesis based upon close textual analysis.
To provide development and support for your ideas.
To demonstrate your ability to structure a clear and effective essay.

Texts:
Writing Machines*, Marvel 1602, or one or more poems.
No outside sources required.

Background:
Thus far in class, our readings and discussions have centered on the materiality of the text and the relationship between visual images and text. Your writing task is to approach either Writing Machines, Marvel 1602, or one or more poems and formulate an argument based upon these readings and discussions. In other words, you will first want to decide what you think the text means and then formulate a thesis about how either the material form or the image-text relationship helps or hinders that meaning.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

How does the material artifact of any one of the texts enhance or detract from the meaning?
Argue for or against any of the more “traditional” texts as technotext.
How do image-text relations impact meaning in any one of the texts?
Evaluate the use of color in Marvel 1602 or one of the poems.
Analyze the use of lines in “A Toss of the Dice” or Marvel 1602 or any of the poetry.
How does visual scoring in Mallarmé create or clarify ambiguity?
Argue for or against any of the new media poems having “aura.”**

You may find that you want to utilize some of the terms and concepts we’ve discussed in class. If you do so, please give the author credit for her ideas. However, please note that the bulk of your evidence should be based upon elements of the text themselves. For example, I’m less interested in what McCloud has to say about color than in the particular colors and pairings used in Marvel 1602 and how you interpret them.

The Writing Process:
Writing is a process. In other words, smart and polished papers are rarely produced with the first draft. As such, paper one has at least one draft built into the structure of the assignment. I also recommend you use some sort of invention tool to help you open up your thought processes. Various invention tools can be found on the course website, under “Tools.” And because writing can almost always be improved through collaboration, we will have an in-class paper workshop. Completion of the draft and participation in the paper workshop constitute part of the total paper grade. See below for details.

The specs:
• 4 – 6 pages, double spaced
• 12 point Times font
• 1-inch margins all the way around
• MLA format (we will review this in class; also see the Guide to MLA format on the course website)
• Formal tone written for a general academic audience

Timeline and Due Dates:

The assignments below are due at the beginning of class on the date listed. The grade for a late paper will be reduced one full letter grade for each day it is late.

Thu, 1/26 (in class) Be prepared to share your topic idea with the class.

Mon, 1/30 5:30 p.m. Post a full-length draft of your paper to the class forum.
Read your workshop partner’s paper and make notes prior to coming to class on Tuesday.

Tue, 1/31 (in class) Paper Workshop; Bring 2 copies of your paper to class.

Fri, 2/3 5:30 p.m. Paper due to me via email. Save as a word document (.doc) and email to Kimberly_knight@umail.ucsb.edu

Grading Breakdown – 20 points possible
• Full-length draft posted on time in the class forum – 2.5 points
• Paper Workshop – 2.5 points
• Final Draft – 15 points

The final draft will be evaluated according to the attached grading rubric. The grade for a late paper will be reduced by one full letter grade for each day it is late.

Of Special Note:
• If you write about Marvel 1602, please scan any pages that you analyze and attach them to your paper. A scanner is available in the Transcriptions Studio. For drop-in hours, see the course website.
• If you write about any of the new media poems, please include screen grabs of particular elements you use in your analysis. To screen grab on a PC, hold down the “alt” key and hit “print screen.” The image is then on your clipboard and can be copied into Word, photoshop, etc. For a Mac, use the application “Grab” found under Applications / Utilities or download the free program “SnapNDrag” (which can also do screen grabs of movies).

*It would be difficult to write about Writing Machines without also considering the web supplement. Should you decide to do so, you will want to make the reasons for that choice clear in your paper. Although it is not required, you may find it beneficial to also read Chapters 4 – 8.
**You will need to read the rest of the Benjamin article if you decide to pursue this topic.

Grading Rubric

Research Paper

Due Friday, March 3rd by 5:30 p.m.
Post in the class forum

Paper Two
Mini Research Paper

Purpose:
To formulate a thesis based upon close textual analysis.
To provide development and support for your ideas.
To effectively utilize outside sources as part of your argument.
To demonstrate your ability to structure a clear and effective essay.

Texts:
Frankenstein, Patchwork Girl, l0ve 0ne, or Neuromancer.

Special allowance: If you would like to look forward to Robot Stories, any of the short stories, or the gaming section, you may do so. This of course, requires that you do the reading ahead of time. However, if you choose not to write about any of the texts listed above, on Thu, Feb 23rd, you must turn in a one-paragraph topic proposal at the beginning of class.

Outside Sources:
A minimum of 3 outside sources; you must find at least two of these through the use of library research. In other words, at least two must be sources that do not appear on the class schedule.

The specs:
4 – 6 pages, double spaced; 12 point Times font; 1-inch margins all the way around; MLA format; Formal tone written for a general academic audience.

Timeline and Due Dates:
The assignments below are due at the beginning of class on the date listed. The grade for a late paper will be reduced one full letter grade for each day it is late.

Date Assignment

Thu, 2/23 (in class) Be prepared to share your topic idea with the class; Topic Proposals due for those not writing about Frankenstein, Patchwork Girl, l0ve 0ne, or Neuromancer.

Mon, 2/27 5:30 p.m. Post a full-length draft of your paper to the class forum.

Wed 3/1 5:30 p.m. Online Peer Response Due in class forum.

Fri, 2/3 5:30 p.m. Paper due. Post on the class forum.

Grading Breakdown – 20 points possible
• Draft and Online Paper Workshop – 3 points
• Final Draft – 17 points

The final draft will be evaluated according to the same grading rubric used for paper one. The grade for a late paper will be reduced by one full letter grade for each day it is late.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

Analyze the framing and narrative structure of any text. In what ways do these formal characteristics affect the materiality, characterization, etc.

Using the concepts outlined in Chapters 1 – 3 of Writing Machines, perform a media-specific analysis of any of the texts. How does embodiment function in relation to content? Is this a technotext? Why does it matter either way?

Examine either of the hypertexts in relation to the ideas in Aarseth’s chapter on Hyptertext aesthetics. You might address Aarseth’s argument about hypertext regaining aura (although you’ll also need to be familiar with Benjamin here), the idea of co-authorship, ergodics and the game of narration, or the concept of heterarchy.

Bill Nichols writes, “a tension can be seen to exist between the liberating potential of the cybernetic imagination and the ideological tendency to preserve the existing form of social relations: (627). Analyze this tension in either of the hypertexts or in Neuromancer. One might also do a comparison between one hyptertext and Neuromancer in this area. Remember to consider both form and content.

In “The Seductions of Cyberspace,” N. Katherine Hayles writes, “these inversions are consistent with virtual reality, for they figure the flow of information within systems as more determinative of identity than the materiality of physical structures” (306). Use any one of the texts to support or refute Hayles’ statement.

Use Haraway’s or Hayles’ discussion of the cyborg body to analyze Frankenstein, Patchwork Girl, or Neuromancer. How are race or gender or subjectivity in general affected by the relationship between the body and science/technology?

N. Katherine Hayles locates “a masculinist subtext” (315) in relation to cyberspace and virtual reality. Bill Nichols similarly attributes a masculine aura of aggression to videogames and seems to suggest that the attraction to cybernetic systems is a “primarily masculine phenomenon” (632). Yet Donna Haraway argues that a critical relationship exists between women and technology. Analyze Neuromancer, Patchwork Girl or l0ve 0ne in terms of the relationship between gender and technology.

Using Frankenstein and one of the later texts, examine the idea of the “monstrous” in relation to human nature and technology.

Web Project

Due Sun, March 26th by 5:30 p.m.

Web Project Assignment Sheet
English 10LC Winter 2006
Purpose:

To formulate a thesis regarding one or more texts from the class.
To provide experience in writing for the web, an increasingly important format.
To demonstrate your understanding of audience.

Texts:
Any of the texts from the syllabus. You may use a text that is not on the syllabus, either a literary or cultural artifact, but you must clear it with me prior to the first draft being due.

Background:

All quarter, our writing assignments have been situated within the traditional genre of academic writing. In a class that so heavily focuses on the reinvention of genres, it seems only fitting that our culminating project result in the production of a new type of academic project – a website. You will construct a website generated toward an intelligent, though not necessarily academic, audience that will supplement one or more texts from our syllabus. The goal of the site will be to enhance the visitor’s understanding of the text(s) in question.

This project allows you considerable creative freedom in composing your argument through both visual and textual means. However, you should note from the “purpose” section that a ‘thesis” is still necessary. In other words, your web project should have some sort over-arching argument, even if it does not have a traditional “thesis statement.”

Possible approaches to the web-project include, but are not limited to:

A character map of a text.
A glossary for a genre, text or author.
Compose a “soundtrack” to accompany the course syllabus.
Perform a comparative analysis of genres or texts
Draw parallels between a text from our class and another media form (ex. Poetry and painting; Flash poetry and film, etc.)

The Specs:
• 500 words of new writing; this need not be in essay format. Hyperlinks and picture captions do not count toward the 500-word minimum.
• At least three separate pages.
• At least two “internal” and two “external” hyperlinks – a minimum of four links total.
• At least two visual elements – a site logo, photos, animations, etc.

Technical Support:
• Transcriptions Studio
o Gery’s drop-in hours for the quarter are: Mon – 12 – 4, Tues – 2 – 4, Wed – 4 – 6, Thurs – 12 – 4
o Please note that he may have different hours during finals week.
• Dreamweaver
o Dreamweaver is a software tool for creating and publishing your website
o Two workshops will be held in the Transcriptions Studio, SH 2509
ß Tuesday, March 7th 2pm – 4pm
ß Thursday, March 9th 1pm – 3pm
ß For the workshop, you will need your Umail id and password. If possible, bring a zip drive to store your files; Try to arrive with ideas about your site so that Gery can help you realize your vision!
ß If you cannot attend one of the above workshops and need assistance with Dreamweaver, please contact Gery (gegan@umail.ucsb.edu) or myself to arrange a private session
o Macromedia offers a fully functional 30-day trial version of Dreamweaver. After attending the workshop, if you feel comfortable working from home, you may download this trial program onto your own computer (http://macromedia.com)
• Additional Software Available in Transcriptions
o Photoshop – for editing and manipulating image files; can be used to design a logo
o Macromedia Flash – for animating image files
o Windows Movie Maker and Adobe Premiere – video editing software
o Sound editing software
o Adobe Acrobat – for making PDF files

Grading Breakdown – 20 points possible

First Draft & Presentation – 5 points
Final Draft – 15 points

Please note that you are being graded on the effectiveness of your project, not the technological “slickness” of your website. Animations, sound effects, etc. are great but are no substitute for quality content.

Timeline and Due Dates:

Date Assignment
Tue, 3/7 in class Share Web Project Ideas
2pm – 4pm Dreamweaver Workshop, SH 2509

Thu, 3/9 1pm – 3pm Dreamweaver Workshop, SH 2509

Tue, 3/14 First Draft Due – 15 minute presentations

Thu, 3/16 First Draft Due – 15 minute presentations

Wed, 3/22 (Final Exam Period) First Draft Due – 15 minute presentations

Sun, 3/26 5:30 p.m. Final Draft Due
Email the URL of your website (the web address) so that I know the project is complete.