Dr. Katherine D. Harris
English 201 (Fall 2007)

Reflective Essay

Due Date: Dec. 18 (NEW DUE DATE)
(or emailed to me prior to the deadline)

Page Length: 1000-2000 words

This essay assignment places your experience as a researcher in a theoretical context. At the same time, it asks you to articulate those experiences and that theoretical context reflectively. Reflection involves active learning. Therefore, your reflection will have a dual focus: it should reveal you looking back on your previous work and forward to the scholarly work that lays before you.

That backward look should be interpretive and analytical, assessing where you were successful and where you still need to develop. That forward look should consider how you will build on these past experiences to create yourself as a literary professional in the future. Reflection helps you create knowledge (where have I been? How did I get here?) and helps you anticipate how you will integrate that created knowledge into your future training (where do I need to go? how do I plan on getting there?)

Your essay should provide a coherent, well-organized, clearly structured discussion - one whose writing quality can be assessed by the Department Grading Policy. Your essay should not simply offer a list of answers to questions. Instead, reorganize or recombine the areas/questions below as your essay requires. Make sure not to overlook areas or to give disproportionate attention to a single area or set of areas.

Planning and drafting

Consider each aspect of the course and the skills that you developed there.

  • What "currents" have shaped our discussion and your experience?
  • What themes or leitmotifs have shaped the course overall?


  1. What is Bibliography?
    How do books differ from texts? What is the work of the Bibliographer or textual critic? What implications does this broader understanding of textual studies have on your scholarly work?
  2. Research Dilemmas
    How do discussions of research methods fit into textual criticism as a whole? What is an authoritative source? What skills are essential for effective research? How do you manage the potential conflict between limited time for research and the need for authoritative sources?
  3. Book as material object
    How does materiality inform critical discussion of texts? What can we learn from the material object that might be obscured or lost if materiality is ignored or effaced (for example, by digitizing texts)? What are important elements of the book? How does knowing how to 'read' those elements inform scholarly work? Why is it valuable to be able to assess a book's material form?
  4. Project management.
    What strategies does one use to balance the requirements of concurrent projects? Which strategies did you find most useful? Least useful? How will you incorporate considerations of project management in the future?


NOTE/TIP: In essence, consider all of your blogs and your reading posts to constitute your first draft of this assignment. There's no need to re-read class readings; instead, rely on your reflections from both of these forums. 


Papers are due on December 18th. You may also email the paper to me prior to the deadline. Papers should include a works cited page and incorporate parenthetical citations. Submit on paper as well FTP to our course folder.  We will discuss these reflections in class at our final meeting.

Revised 11/20/07