to the schedule of readings and assignments
course prerequisites: ENGL 1301, 1302, and six hours of 2000-level English.
Required Textbooks: Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden; Louise Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy; Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows; Bette Bao Lord, In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson; Anna Sewell, Black Beauty. All of these texts are at the UTA Bookstore and should also be available in any public library. The texts by Burnett, Grahame and Sewell are in the public domain and are available in many different editions. You will also be required to watch the 1960 video production of Peter Pan with Mary Martin, which is in most video stores for sale or rent, though not at the UTA Bookstore. I'll also show this video in class. There are three other required books, to be determined individually for each student.
course description: Part-seminar, part-lecture, this course is an examination of classics and not-so-classics in children's literature from current theoretical perspectives in cultural studies. For our purposes "children's" means anything from board books to young-adult novels, but we will focus on texts from the ChildrenÅs Literature Association canon of "Touchstones." In addition, we will do several weeks of true seminar meetings, where each student will read, write on, and present papers about different texts drawn from the Newbery Medal winners, juvenile series fiction, and picture books.
course objectives: Students who successfully complete this course will have a knowledge of selected highlights of the childrenÅs literature canon and of cultural-studies approaches to those texts. Students will be able to write critical essays from an informed perspective about texts in childrenÅs literature, a skill that should help them to prepare and analyze texts for use in their own classrooms.
attendance is mandatory; roll will be taken. You may miss two meetings without penalty, further missed classes can lower your grade; see below.
drop policy: drop before final drop date (17 April) guarantees W for the course; drop after that is against university rules. UTA instructors may not drop students for any reason.
assignments: Nine four-page papers, due on the Thursdays indicated in the schedule below.
grading: Your grade in this course will be determined by a cumulative point system. 9 points means an A for the course, 8 means a B, 7 means a C, and 6 means a D; less than 6 points means failure.
You earn points by making 1 grades on papers. Each of the nine 4-page papers will earn a grade of either 1 or 0. No paper will earn a 1 if it is late, or handwritten, or if it is irrelevant to the topic, or if it doesn't make sense; or if it simply summarizes the reading. Such papers will fail to earn 1s; however, papers that make a clear critical argument will earn the 1 grade.
You lose points by missing class. Your first two absences are free; each subsequent absence costs a grade point. Except for religious holidays and absences officially excused by the University, no absence will be excused. If work, illness, or tragedy prevents you from coming to class and contributing, youÅve simply had the misfortune to have your semester affected negatively by bad things or personal commitments. The seminar nature of our discussion meetings means that the course "happens" not just in the readings and papers but also in active speaking and listening in class, hence these stringent attendance requirements. I also require attendance at all lecture meetings because the material delivered in lecture is an integral background for writing the seminar papers.
I consider this next point important enough to make on the syllabus: I think that a B is a good grade for an undergraduate course. It will be difficult to complete all the course components successfully; I think that the grade of A should indicate excellence rather than mere completion of the course.
academic dishonesty policy: It is the philosophy of The University of Texas at Arlington that academic dishonesty is a completely unacceptable mode of conduct and will not be tolerated in any form. All persons involved in academic dishonesty will be disciplined in accordance with University regulations and procedures. Discipline may include suspension or expulsion from the University.
"Scholastic dishonesty includes but is not limited to cheating, plagiarism, collusion, the submission for credit of any work or materials that are attributable in whole or in part to another person, any act designed to give unfair advantage to a student or the attempt to commit such acts." [Regents' Rules and Regulations, Part One, Chapter Vi, Section 3, Subsection 3.2, Subdivision 3.22]
disability policy: The University of Texas at Arlington is on record as being committed to both the spirit and letter of federal equal opportunity legislation; reference Public Law 93112--The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended. With the passage of new federal legislation entitled Americans with Disabilities Act - (ADA), pursuant to section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, there is renewed focus on providing this population with the same opportunities enjoyed by all citizens.
As a faculty member, I am required by law to provide Ñreasonable accommodationÉ to students with disabilities, so as not to discriminate on the basis of that disability. Student responsibility primarily rests with informing faculty at the beginning of the semester and in providing authorized documentation through designated administrative channels.
schedule of assignments and readings
Tues 20 Jan: syllabus, introductions
Thurs 22 Jan: lecture: animal stories for children
Tues 27 Jan: lecture: history and theory of childrenÅs literature
Thurs 29 Jan: Paper #1 due: Black Beauty. lecture: Peter Pan and its cultural work
Tues 3 Feb: seminar discussion: Black Beauty.
Thurs 5 Feb: seminar discussion: Black Beauty.
Tues 10 Feb: screening of video: Peter Pan (1960 version with Mary Martin)
Thurs 12 Feb: Paper #2 due: Peter Pan. lecture: the impossibility of The Secret Garden
Tues 17 Feb: seminar discussion: Peter Pan
Thurs 19 Feb: Paper #3 due: The Secret Garden lecture: The Wind in the Willows and fantasy animal tales
Tues 24 Feb: seminar discussion: The Secret Garden
Thurs 26 Feb: Paper #4 due: The Wind in the Willows. lecture: language and multiculturalism in childrenÅs literature
Tues 3 March: seminar discussion: The Wind in the Willows.
Thurs 5 March: Paper #5 due: Harriet the Spy. Lecture: baseball stories
Tues 10 March: seminar discussion: Harriet the Spy.
Thurs 12 March: NO CLASS MEETING
Tues 24 March: lecture: The Hardy Boys
Thurs 26 March: Paper #6 due: In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. lecture: series fiction, genre fiction and the culture industry.
Tues 31 March: no class meeting
Thurs 2 Apr: seminar discussion: In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson.
Tues 7 Apr: lecture: Goosebumps
Thurs 9 Apr: Paper #7 due: on a Newbery Medal Winner. Each student will write on a different Newbery Medal winner from the list of 70+ winners to date. lecture: picture books.
Tues 14 Apr: discuss Newberys.
Thurs 16 Apr: discuss Newberys.
Fri 17 Apr: last date to drop
Tues 21 Apr: lecture: boys as men and men as boys in 90s film
Thurs 23 Apr: Paper #8 due: series fiction. Each student will write on a different series novel, from a list to be decided collaboratively in class. lecture: Dr Seuss
Tues 28 Apr: seminar discussion: series fiction
Thurs 30 Apr: paper #9 due: picture books. Each student will write on a different picture book from a list to be decided collaboratively in class. No lecture; course evaluations.
Tues 5 May: discuss picture books. LAST CLASS MEETING