EN304 Spec Top in Lang and Lit:

for SP 2010

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EN304  Special Topics in Language and Literature; World War II in the Air


SP 2010 HO


Okerstrom, Dennis R.


Associate Professor of English


PhD, English and History

Office Location

305 Copley

Office Hours

M & F: 9 -- noon; 2:45 -- 3:30;   or by appointment

Daytime Phone

Ext. 6337



Semester Dates

11 January -- 07 May 2010

Class Days


Class Time

12:00 - 1:15 PM



Credit Hours



Flight to Arras, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, by Ted Lawson
God is My Co-Pilot, by Robert Scott
Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
Wings of Morning, by Thomas Childers

Additional Resources:
Websites, films, guest speakers, and a list of titles for additional reading will be provided throughout the semester.

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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Course Description:
A seminar course treating various topics of contemporary interest. PREREQUISITE: Permission of instructor. 3:0:3

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Discuss literary texts clustered around a central topic
  2. Articulate responses and interpret literary texts in extended written form
  3. Appraise or compare different texts against patterns of literary or cultural standards

Core Assessment:

All Park University courses will include a Core Assessment with rubric. This will include ¾ of the Core Learning Outcomes listed above. The Core Assessment in this course will be a major critical paper of no fewer than 5 pages, which will include research and MLA documentation. The project will be completed in the final quarter of the term.


The rubric for this assignment is published so the student

Link to Class Rubric

Class Assessment:
Presentations, projects, a major research paper.


Attendance.  Grades will be lowered by one letter for each two absences in excess of three.
Reading all assignments and participating in class discussion is presupposed.  Failure to do so will result in lowering a final grade to reflect the degree to which this is not done. 
A major research paper on a single aspect of the air war, 1939-45.  This will be due by week 13 of the course.  The paper might focus on how aerial warfare has increased civilian deaths; how various writers have represented a war in which the combatants don't see the bodies of their friends or enemies; women in aerial combat; the role of African-Americans; the use of "super weapons"; the use of technology to replace soldiers; strategic bombing of cities; the effects of aerial war on its participants, and so on.  A topic will be submitted by week four; a prospectus by week eight; and a first draft by week eleven.  The paper will include a list of sources, and proper documentation.  Typed, ds, 12 pt., 7 to 10 pages.  All students will complete this paper to receive credit for the class.  Criteria for an acceptable paper will be provided in class.  Attendance, reading and discussing, and a research paper are fundamental components of the course. 
Meeting acceptable standards here will ensure a grade of C.  Additionally, students will have the opportunity to raise their grades based on the following:
For a B students will complete the above requirements, and also make a 15-20-minute presentation on some aspect of the 1939-45 air war.  Ideally, this would be based on your research for your paper, so that your professor is not the sole audience of your scholarship.  This will be scheduled in consultation with the professor.
For an A, students will do all of the above, and read one additional text not on the assigned list and write a 5-page response paper.  An alternative would be to interview an aerial warrior from WW2, in video format according to the Veteran's History format.  Specifics on that format will be provided during the semester.

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Generally, late material is a pain for the professor and unfair to classmates.  Late submissions will not be accepted except in rare circumstances, considered on a case-by-case basis by the professor.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
I hope we get to the point that rules of conduct are not necessary.  In the belief we are nearly there already, let's say that egregious violations of accepation conduct and demeanor will result in removal from the class.   Cell phones: turn them off, including the texting feature.  If you text during class time, you will be considered absent for the day (see above to see the impact of attendance on your grade).  If you miss a class, do not ask your professor "Did we do anything important in class last time?" 

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Weeks 1 and 2 -- A review of World War 2 in the Air, across the various Theaters of War. Discussion of the various missions for a variety of aircraft. The uniqueness of battlefields in the clouds. The opening and closing events of World War 2. Blitzkreig, the Battle of Britain. Begin reading Flight to Arras.
Week 3 -- It was a World war, not just an American war. Britain and France before Pearl Harbor.  Discussion of Flight to Arras.  What was the motivation of Saint-Exupery to fly dangerous combat missions?  What does he say about the fall of France?  Is he an apologist for the fall?  Does he seem to have hope for the future?
Weeks 4 and 5 -- America enters the conflict. Film clips from movie Pearl Harbor. Begin reading Thirty Seconds OverTokyo.  Why was the raid launched from a carrier?  Was it successful?  What were the effects of the raid on later actions in the war?
Week 6 -- Decision to valorize the war in Europe.  Begin reading God is My Co-Pilot.  The portrayal of Japanese pilots here is pejorative by standards of today.  What was the attitude regarding Japan, especially, in the war, and what incidents led to that view? 
Week 7 -- Integration. Black pilots get their chance. Women win their wings, too. Film, Tuskegee Airmen.
Week 8 --An examination of the two main theaters of war. What were the goals? What were the strategic considerations? How did the two theaters differ? Research paper prospectus due.
Week 9 -- Spring Break.
Week 10 -- Comparison of the documentary Memphis Belle (1943) with the 1990 Hollywood version starring Matt Modine. What issues are raised in the films? Begin reading Catch-22.
Weeks 11 and 12 -- Discussion of Catch-22. What does it say about war? About bureaucracy?  What issues are raised by Heller, who flew 60 missions as a bombardier during the war?  More guest speakers--combat aircrew. Rough draft of research paper due, week 11.
Weeks 13 and 14-- Wings of Morning. The personal side of air warfare, for the crewmen themselves and their families. Research paper due.  Lee Lamar to speak.
Week 15 -- The endgame. Kamikazi attacks. Firebombings of Germany and Japan. The atomic bomb. The Russian front; female combat pilots.
Week 16 -- Student presentations.

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87
Lapses in academic honesty may result in failure of the course.

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92
Plagiarized work will receive a grade of zero, and probably mean failing the course.  Don't do it.

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .


CompetencyExceeds Expectation (3)Meets Expectation (2)Does Not Meet Expectation (1)No Evidence (0)
2, 3                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Interpretation of readings corporates personal and critical responses seamlessly with fresh insight and energy. Interpretation of readings adequately incorporates both personal and critical responses. Interpretation of readings lacks appropriate balance between personal and critical insight. Does not turn in assignment. 
Incorporates primary and secondary sources using MLA Documentation Style perceptively and creatively in ways that contribute to new knowledge while still retaining personal voice. Incorporates primary and secondary sources using MLA Documentation Style adequately without particularly fresh insights while still retaining personal voice., Primary and secondary sources rarely used if at all, without adequate MLA Documentation. Insights are predictable and do not contribute to new knowledge. Voice lacks appropriate personal voice. Does not turn in assignment. 
2, 3                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Provides convincing connections between texts and offers clear and creative critiques through close readings to illustrate main point of essay. Provides connections between texts that are obvious but nonetheless interesting. Writer adequately critiques the primary text through close readings, though does not offer critical insight. Connections between texts remain vague and undeveloped. Presents a critique not supported by close readings. ,Does not turn in assignment. 
Literary and critical terminology used appropriately and with ease throughout the paper. Employs literary and critical terminology adequately in parts of the paper. Rarely uses literary and critical terminology, misuses it, or omits it altogether. Does not turn assignment. 
Content of Communication                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
2, 3                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Includes carefully chosen passages from literary and critical texts as well as personal statements that illustrate point of essay, and helps reader see texts in new ways. Adequately includes representative passages from literary and critical texts as well as personal statements to illustrate point of essay. Rarely provides specific passages for analysis, instead offering plot summary with little or no interpretation of texts. Does not turn in assignment. 
Technical Skill in Communicating                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Employs conventions of Standard Written English with grace and style in a well-organized, fully developed essay. Employs conventions of Standard Written English in a well-organized, adequately developed essay. Illogical statements, lack of development and organization, and persistent problems with use of Standard Written English interferes with reader's ability to understand the point of the paper. Does not turn in assignment. 
First Literacy or Disciplinary Competency                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Project gracefully integrates  interdisciplinary components with insight and clarity. Project integrates interdisciplinary components with adequate detail. Mentions interdisciplinary components but without meaningful detail. Does not turn in assignment. 
Second Literacy or Disciplinary Competency                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Illustrates convincingly and gracefully contemporary significance of project. Adequately shows contemporary significance of project. Fails to adequately show contemporary significance. Does not turn in assignment. 


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Last Updated:1/6/2010 2:10:56 PM