LE 300: Integrative & Interdisciplinary Learning Capstone--Serial Killers as Heroes in Popular Culture
S2QQ 2011 HI
Harper, Gavin W.
Instructor of English
MA: English, Brigham Young University, 1998BA: English, Weber State University, 1994
BLDG 383 HAFB
Before and after class
Mar 14th, 2011--May 8th, 2011
Charlaine. Dead Until Dark. New York: Penguin, 2010. ISBN: 9780441019335.
Lindsey, Jeff. Darkly Dreaming Dexter. New York: Knopf Doubleday, 2006. ISBN: 9780307277886.
Schmid, David. Natural Born Celebrities: Serial Killers in American Culture. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2006. ISBN: 9780226738697.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. New York: Penguin,
2003. ISBN: 9780141439471.
Patrick. Perfume: The Story of a
Murderer. Knopf Doubleday,
2001. ISBN: 9780375725845.
Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore
Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore
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An intermediate level
course that uses popular culture to expose recent trends of violence in crime
novels, film, television, internet media and video games. 3:0:3
My goal is to
encourage critical thinking and analysis in regards to topics that are very
rarely analyzed or perceived as academic material. Thus, I hope to encourage discussion and analysis of modern media
forms so we can all participate in making meaning of the culture and art that
surrounds us very closely. As we all
have different interests in regards to popular culture, I hope that each
student will bring individual specialties, subjects, and projects to the
teaching of this course.
Learning Outcomes: Core Learning Outcomes
Description of the Core Assessment Instrument This Core Assessment will be a paper that covers 100% of the Core Learning Outcomes. The Core Assessment in this course will be a major critical paper of no fewer than 5 pages, which will include research and appropriate documentation. The project will be completed in the final quarter of the term. The paper must address a significant contemporary issue of a global nature relevant to the course, the student’s major, and the Liberal Education program. The paper should synthesize multiple disciplinary perspectives and propose critical and creative responses. Individual instructors will specify assignment details.
Link to Class RubricClass Assessment: The
core assessment for LE 300 is a project or paper accompanied by a presentation.
The project must address a significant contemporary issue of a global nature
relevant to the course, the student’s major, and the Liberal Education
program. The project/paper should
synthesize multiple disciplinary perspectives and propose critical and creative
Essay/Presentation: 200 pts.
Student Teaching and
Presentations: 200 pts.
Participation: 200 pts.
Reader Response Essays: 200 pts.
Late Submission of Course Materials: All
assignments are due on the day indicated in the syllabus. Unless
arrangements are made in advance with the instructor, late work will
automatically receive a reduction of one full grade for each class day it is
late. Active participation is essential
in this course. Active participation occurs when the student responds to
posted coursework and discussion questions in a manner that reflects the weekly
Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Your mental and
physical presence are both necessary for participation. While in class, please turn your cell phones
off during filmic presentations, as a courtesy to me and your fellow students.
LE300—Serial Killers as Heroes in Popular Culture
Essays—Four (1-2 page) responses
to the course material will be written on the material and topics presented in
class. The works should be persuasive
and present your own ideas and perspective on the material being discussed.
Teaching and Presentations—Each
student will teach and present one of the specific topics for this course. The presentation will involve leading
student discussion of the material, a presentation of persuasive argumentation
regarding one of the topics, and the introduction of a student provided set of
research and reading topics. I will
offer a pre-approved list of possible topics and reading materials at the start
of class, but I encourage each student to submit additional material for
student teaching and presentations for instructor approval.
Participation—You will receive just
as many points in this class for active participation and attendance as you
will for your final research project. The equality is not accidental, as the main mode of learning in this
course is student teaching and discussion. If you are absent from class, you will lose attendance points and the
possibility of participating in learning for that day.
Week One—Modes of
Identification, Mar 14th and Mar 16th
Silence of the
Lambs (1991)—Good Serial Killers
vs. Bad Serial Killers
How does the film
force audience identification with a “good” serial killer? How does the film define justifiable
violence vs. murder?
Violence? Mar 21st and Mar 23rd
Mr. Brooks (2007)—Serial Killers as Normal People of
Dexter (2005)—Serial Killers as Heroes
While many serial
killer protagonists are presented as anti-heroes, Dexter is something different
entirely. What defines his
heroism? How does the TV series or
novel shift our identification to that of a cold-blooded killer? What are the effects of such a shift within
the real world?
Killers as Symbol and Icon, Apr 4th and Apr 6th
Killers (1994) Serial Killers in
While these serial
killers are not presented as heroes—what effect does the media have once the
killings begin? How does the media
create the pair of killers as icons? Differences between iconic and heroic? Differences between reality of the murders and the media portrayal of
Violence, Apr 11th and Apr 13th
Killers as Artists and High Art
Suskind’s work is
considered by many to be a work of high art, rather than popular culture—what
is the difference between a literary serial killer and the popular culture
forms? High art vs. low art?
Violence, cont. Apr 18th and Apr 20th
the Bridge Between Literature and Popular Culture
What are the
differences between the novel/text and the popular culture incarnations of
Violence, Apr 25th and Apr 27th
Dead Until Dark
(novel) – Supernatural Serial Killers and Romantic Deaths
True Blood, (TV)
what are the effects of a romantic craze that revolves around attraction to
paranormal serial killers? How does the
current trend in vampire fiction and media play into fantasies of violence or
Assassin’s Creed (video game)—Becoming the Serial Killer
While many media
forms assert a passive acceptance or identification, does participating in the
ritualistic killings change our perspective? Once we become an assassin (serial killer) does it alter our association
Final Essay Exam
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 students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty (www.park.edu/current or http://www.park.edu/faculty/).from Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92
Plagiarism: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. from Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92-93
Attendance Policy:Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.
Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96
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 .
Last Updated:2/15/2011 3:18:46 PM