English 149, T/R 3-4:15pm (Spring 2008)
MacQuarrie Hall 223 & IS 134 (Computer Lab)

Dr. Katherine D. Harris
Office: FO 220
Office Hours: T/R 2-3 & 4:30-5:30
Phone: 408.924.4475
Email: dr.katherine.harris@gmail.com

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Course Policies & Information
Updated 2/11/08


Printable Version (pdf)

Course Description:
The Romantic-era was perhaps one of the most intellectually and technologically productive eras in all of England: The Industrial Revolution forced citizens to abandon agrarian life and embrace an urban existence that was full of prostitutes, raw sewage, cholera and scientific experimentation. Literature during this time, 1785-1837, reflects the anxiety caused by this shift, but it also reflects an excitement about England’s potentially terrifying future. In Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, our hero(es) embody all of these aspects of British life. For this reason, the course will center around the themes prevalent in Frankenstein but with a slight twist. In "TechnoRomanticism," we'll create our own modern, annotated version of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (complete with film references and any online links, e.g., YouTube, etc.). We'll read into the Romantic period through this 1818 text and then read Shelley's second novel, The Last Man, a very futuristic view of the nineteenth century. The course requires that we use Google Docs to create this annotated edition. No fears about technology, though – several tutorials and unending help will be offered. In the end, we will also be part of the "techno" in TechnoRomanticism.

Pre-requisites: Upper-division standing.

Course Learning Objectives
  • To promote awareness of the Romantic-era’s engagement in historical and cultural processes;
  • To examine the creative and textual production, dissemination and reception of Romantic-era literature;
  • To understand the relations between culture, history, and texts, including ideological and political aspects of the representation, economic processes of textual production, dissemination and reception, and cross-fertilization of textual representations by those of other arts: architecture, sculpture, music, film, painting, dance, and theatre.
  • To encourage close reading and understanding of Romantic-era literature.
  • To recognize and appreciate the importance of major literary genres, subgenres, and periods in the Romantic-era.
  • To respond imaginatively to the content and style of texts.
Required Texts (on reserve in King Library):
Feldman, Paula, ed. The Keepsake for 1829. Toronto: Broadview, 2006. (ISBN 1551115859)
Mellor, Anne and Richard E. Matlak. British Literature 1780-1830. Wadsworth/Cengage Learning, 2006. (ISBN 1413022537)
Radcliffe, Ann. The Veiled Picture; or, The Mysteries of Gorgono. 1802. Ed. by Jack G. Voller. Valancourt Books, 2006. (ISBN 0977784185)
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. 2nd ed. Ed. Susan J. Wolfson. New York: Longman, 2007. (ISBN 0321399536)
—. Last Man. Ed. Morton D. Paley. Oxford UP, 1998. (ISBN 0192838652)
Walpole, Horace. The Castle of Otranto. Ed. Laura Mandell. Longman, 2007. (ISBN 0321398920)

Google Account (more on this later)
Recommended Texts:
A Research Guide for Undergraduates in English & American Literature. MLA, 2006 (ISBN: 0873529243)
Hacker, Diana. A Writer’s Reference (or other writing handbook)
Harmon, William and C. Hugh Holman. A Handbook to Literature. 10th ed. Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2005. (ISBN 0131344420)


Grade Distribution
10% Class Discussion & Participation
25% Reading Responses & Reflective Blogs
25% Digital Project Essays (9 total)
15% Oral Presentation on
The Last Man
25% Final Project, Rationale & Presentation

Graduate students see additional requirements for projects
Class Discussion & Participation
This course traces the various political, social and cultural upheavals of the Romantic-era as reflected in  literature, politics and culture 1780-1837. Since our readings are organized under the principle of "radial reading" and our investigation of technology and Romanticism will build with each class meeting, your participation in every discussion is imperative. Please come to class prepared with the day’s readings and armed with interesting questions. We are meeting in a SMART room where we have access to a DVD/Video player as well as computer links and WiFi. Media experimentation is welcome, encouraged even. If you find something relevant to our readings, please bring it in. This type of engagement will only enhance your participation grade. For further tips on performing well in class, see below.

A student’s participation is assessed by his/her contribution throughout the semester. Use the following as guidelines for this portion of your final grade:

  • To earn a "C," do the minimum: at every meeting, read and prepare assigned readings so you are never at a loss if you are asked a question, but speak only when called upon, do "ordinary," plain-vanilla presentations and responses. This is the "bottom line" for getting a "C" in this part of the course.
  • To earn a "B," at every meeting, prepare assigned readings thoroughly, initiate discussions about them by asking good questions or suggesting ways to interpret readings, do presentations that reveal that you have done good additional work that you can make both interesting and meaningful to our discussions, and participate actively in those discussions.
  • For an "A," take it up another level entirely: at every meeting, prepare readings thoroughly, find and talk about connections among them and among other aspects of culture (then and now), take a real leadership role in class discussions, including working actively to get others involved in the talk, make your presentations and responses "sparkle" by bringing to them something really special in terms of your own contributions, interests, skills, and abilities to think in broad even interdisciplinary terms. Most of all, remember that an "A" indicates the very best grade a person can get; that should tell you what sort of work you need to do to earn the grade of "A."
  • If you miss class, contact a classmate for notes, reading assignments and handouts – or check our Course Website. (Please do not email me to ask "Did I miss anything important?")


    Reading Responses & Reflective Blogs
    Over the semester, you will produce various types of weekly response: some prepared outside of class and others prepared in class. For Reading Responses, you will produce a 1-2 page response (a minimum of 300 words) to the assigned reading for that week. These will be used to stimulate your thoughts on the texts and to serve as ideas for your essays. Because these Reading Responses pertain to that week’s readings and are not useful after the discussion has been completed, late Reading Responses will not be accepted. For the first few Reading Responses, bring a printed copy to class. After we have set up our online Google Docs space, you will post your Reading Responses to the appropriate Group Forum by 3pm.

    Every two weeks, we will work on our Digital Projects in a computer lab. At the conclusion of that Digital Session, you will write a 300-word blog entry that will act as a journal of your experiences. Questions will direct this writing.

    Digital Project Essays & A Word About Google
    Because this course is premised on producing a (Post) Postmodern edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, each student will be responsible for annotating 2-3 chapters of the 1818 text. Traditional editing of this type requires much collaboration, editing and researching. We’ll do all of this; however, we’ll perform this in a digital environment. We will spend multiple days in a computer lab working on this Digital Project and learning Google Docs, our online platform. Each Digital Session is preceded by discussion days as well as nine mini-essays/assignments spread throughout the semester: Literary Historical Research Essay; Delicious Links Essay; Explication of a Poem; Analysis of a Minor Character; Investigating Mary Shelley’s Manuscripts, Journals & Letters; Review of Reviews; Adaptations; Keepsake Authors Mystery; and Peer Review. See the Assignments section for an overview of all assignments and access to the instructions for each assignment.

    Essay lengths range from 300 to 1000 words and will receive up to 11 points each. After submitting the essay for comments, you will integrate the assignment into your Digital Project. My comments are intended to help you revise the mini-essays for the final submission.

    Google Groups (updated 2/11/08): Due to unforeseen problems with Google Groups, we will use this online environment only for its Discussion Forum.  All other documents, handouts and information is available through this website. We will, however, continue to use Google Docs:  Google Docs contains programs that are similar to Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and FrontPage, but with less bugs. In addition, this atmosphere resides completely on Google’s server – this means that you can access our course documents from anywhere. Registering for and using Google Groups/Docs requires very little technical expertise; in fact, if you already have an email address, then you are qualified to use these Google tools. We will go through all of this during our first Digital Session on February 7th.


    Oral Presentation on The Last Man
    For this Presentation, each student will research the production, illustrations, reviews, etc. of The Last Man and present those findings on an assigned day (15 mins). A brief piece of writing (300 words) will be submitted to mark your presentation. Each Presentation will be graded on its effectiveness and clarity. There are no make-ups for missed oral presentations. Detailed instructions will be provided at a later date.
    See the Assignments section for an overview of all assignments and access to the instructions for each assignment.
    Final Project, Rationale & Presentation
    At the Final Exam meeting day, you will present your Final Project to the class. The Rationale will synthesize not only your scholarly adventures but also the theoretical and critical reasonings associated with your Digital Project. Your Reading Responses and Reflective Blog entries can help you with this Rationale. You must present in order to receive a grade for this project. Detailed instructions will be provided at a later date. See the Assignments section for an overview of all assignments and access to the instructions for each assignment.
    Graduate Students Only
    Graduate students will perform all of the same assignments as undergraduates. In addition, each graduate student is responsible for presenting on a text from the Related Texts column and moderating a discussion (20 minutes). In your Final Project, the Rationale will be appropriate to graduate-level work (10-15 pages) with research into secondary criticism. Your Proposal for this Final Project Rationale/Essay is due April 1. Plan to meet with me at least twice throughout the semester to discuss your progress. Further details will be discussed later.

    Course Policies
    Grading Policy
    The Department of English reaffirms its commitment to the differential grading scale as defined in the official SJSU Catalog ("The Grading System"). Grades issued must represent a full range of student performance: A = excellent; B = above average; C = average; D = below average; F = failure. Courses graded according to the A,B,C,NoCredit system shall follow the same pattern, except that NC, for NoCredit, shall replace D or F. In A,B,C,NoCredit courses NC shall also substitute for W (for Withdrawl) because neither NC nor W affects students’ grade point averages.

    In English Department courses, instructors will comment on and grade the quality of student writing as well as the quality of the ideas being conveyed. All student writing should be distinguished by correct grammar and punctuation, appropriate diction and syntax, and well-organized paragraphs.

    For your final grades, 100-90 is an A, 89-80 is a B, 79-70 is a C, 69-60 is a D, and below 60 is an F. Pluses and minuses are the middle of each range. In calculating the final grade, a set number will represent each letter grade; for example, B+ is 87.5, B is 85, and B- is 82.5.

    Late Policy
    Reading Responses and Reflective Blogs are not accepted late. If you cannot meet a Digital Project Essay deadline, you must contact me at least 48 hours prior to our class meeting to discuss the situation. If this is not done, for every day that an essay is late, you will be penalized 2 points. The weekend will count as one day. Unless you have prior permission or the assignment specifically requests it, absolutely no assignment will be accepted via email.

    SJSU Academic Integrity Policy
    Your own commitment to learning, as evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University, and the University’s Academic Integrity Policy require you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty are required to report all infractions to the office of Judicial Affairs. The policy on academic integrity can be found at http://www.sjsu.edu/senate/S04-12.htm . The SJSU rules against plagiarism are set forth in the SJSU Catalog, which defines plagiarism as the act of representing the work of another as one’s own (without giving appropriate credit) regardless of how that work was obtained, and submitting it to fulfill academic requirements. Plagiarism at SJSU includes, but is not limited to: (1) the act of incorporating the ideas, words, sentences, paragraphs, or parts thereof, or the specific substance of another’s work, without giving appropriate credit, and representing the product as one’s own work. It is the role and obligation of each student to know the rules that preserve academic integrity and abide by them at all times. This includes learning and following the particular rules associated with specific classes, exams, and/or course assignments. Ignorance of these rules is not a defense to the charge of violating the Academic Integrity Policy.


    Avoiding Plagiarism
    Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of somebody else’s words or ideas and is considered an instance of academic dishonesty that instructors must report. You commit plagiarism by buying, stealing, or borrowing a paper;
    • hiring someone to write a paper;
    • building on someone’s ideas without providing a citation;
    • or copying from another source or using a source too closely when paraphrasing.

    In other words, submit only your own work. To learn how to cite sources accurately and forthrightly, consult your handbook. If you have any questions about when or how to document a source, do not hesitate to ask me for clarification. Turning in plagiarized work will result in immediate failure in the assignment and possible failure in the course and dismissal from San José State University. See King Library’s definition, the University policy and a plagiarism tutorial: www.sjlibrary.org/services/literacy/info_comp/plagiarism.htm 

    Plagiarism checks will be performed by asking students to submit various written exercises or essays to Turnitin.com, a service which scans documents for all references to Web sources and other essays. The instructor reserves the right to revise the requirements and to notify students of such revision in a timely manner.

    Classroom Environment
    Respect your fellow students and I: Arrive on time (excessive tardiness will effect your participation grade) and do not partake in disruptive behavior. If you are late, wait for an appropriate moment to enter so you do not disturb the class. Turn off cell phones or put them on silent mode during the class period.
    Email is the best possible way to contact me (9am-5pm) and has the added bonus of recording our conversations. When emailing me, please consider it a formal communication: include the appropriate salutation, your name, your question/comment. Know that long conversations over email are not fruitful merely because of the limitations of technology. If you have an extended question or dilemma, please visit me during office hours. I will amass a class email list and will occasionally send out information regarding our meetings or the readings. Please provide an email address that you check daily.
    SJSU Writing Center
    Visit me during office hours for help with your writing. For even further help, go to the Writing Center located in Clark Hall, Suite 126. Hours: Monday-Thursday 9-7 and Friday 9-1; Call for appointments at 924-2308 or go online at www.sjsu.edu/writingcenter  Work with tutors in a one-on-one environment. Make appointments online at the above website.
    Campus Policy on Compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act
    If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 requires that students with disabilities register with DRC to establish a record of their disability. The DRC website is http://www.drc.sjsu.edu.




    Dr. Katherine D. Harris
    Last updated: 05/23/2008 11:28 AM
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