EN380 Literary Theory & Criticism

for SP 2010

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EN 380 Literary Theory & Criticism


SP 2010 HO


Atkinson, Stephen


Associate Professor, English


B.A., Wesleyan Uniuversity
Ph.D. Indiana University

Office Location

Copley 306

Office Hours

MWF 8-10, MW 12-1 and by appointment

Daytime Phone




Class Days


Class Time

1:30 - 2:45 PM

Credit Hours


Conrad, Joseph.  Heart of Darkness.  Ed. Ross C Murfin.  2nd edn.  Boston: Bedford St. Martin's, 1996.

Richter, David H., ed.  Falling Into Theory: Conflicting Views on Reading Lterature.  2nd edn.  Boston: Bedford St.   Martin's, 2000.

Additional Resources:

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:
EN380   Literary Theory and Criticism: An examination of key questions in contemporary theory and their historical roots, along with the practice of literary criticism today. English Majors only. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:
Students are responsible for their own learning.  My job is to provide resources, a class structure, and my own expertise and consultation.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Analyze a range of theoretical issues dealing with contemporary approaches to authors, texts, and readers
  2. Compare different critical perspectives on a single literary text
  3. Analyze and interpret literary texts from distinct critical orientations

  Instructor Learning Outcomes
  1. This semester's EN380 is not a simple survey of  -isms: formalism, structuralism, new historicism, etc.  No one in the profession signs a loyalty oath to be now and forever a deconstructionist or a cultural critic or even--in the arena of literary studies, at least--a feminist or a Marxist.  These are theoreitcal approaches which provide specific tools with which to do the work of English studies.  They merge, diverge, conflict in ways for which there is no guide.  Ultimately, they are matters of professional practice.  We'll study a range of recent work about the study of literature in general or literary works in particular, and you will--through your own practices--become part of the profession's communal efforts.
Core Assessment:

All Park University courses will include a Core Assessment with rubric. This will include ¾of 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 can see the expectations.

Class Assessment:
Class meetings will consist of discussion, sometimes initiated by or spurred on through informal writing.  You will keep a running journal, responding to your reading, preparing for class discussion, or experimenting with the early stages of the writing process.  The course will culminate with production of a critical essay and participation in oral presentation(s).

There are four components to the final grade:

            1.  Participation           30 points
            2.  Journal                   30
            3.  Presentation(s)       10
            4.  Paper                    30

                                             100 points

Two notes.    The journal will be assessed by word count.  An average over the semester of 500 words per week earns an A; 400 words, a B; and so on.  The journal's word count includes in-class writing but not class notes.
     The final grade cannot be more than one letter grade higher than the grade on the paper.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
If you keep your journal as an electronic file, you should bring you laptop to class.  When it's not in use for specific classroom work, though, it should be closed.  You may not use any other electronic devices during class meetings and phones should be turned off.  If you are expecting an urgent call, tell me before class--not when the phone rings.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
The class schedule will adapt to our proceedings.  You usually won't know the assignment for Wednesday before the end of Monday's class, for example.  If you miss a class meeting, you must be up to date when you return.

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 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92

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

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 .


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Last Updated:1/11/2010 9:15:08 AM