English 357: Contemporary Literature

Professor Joseph Conte

Spring 2008

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Jan 15:       Introduction:  Contemporary literature and transnational politics.

Jan 17:       The political novel.

Jan 22:       In the ruins of the future:  Don DeLillo’s Falling Man.

Jan 24:       DeLillo’s Falling Man.

Jan 29:       DeLillo’s Falling Man.

Jan 31:       DeLillo’s Falling Man.

Feb 5:        Transnational theocracy and the liberal state:  John Updike’s Terrorist.

Feb 7:        Updike’s Terrorist.

Feb 12:      Updike’s Terrorist

Feb 14:      Updike’s Terrorist

Feb 19:      The accidental tourist:  Michel Houellebecq’s Platform

Feb 21:      Houellebecq’s Platform

Feb 26:      Houellebecq’s Platform.

First essay due in class, 5-7 pages.

 Feb 28:      Houellebecq’s Platform.

 Mar 4:        “Politics in a literary work”:  Orhan Pamuk’s Snow.

 Mar 6:        Pamuk’s Snow. 

 Mar 11:      Spring Recess

 Mar 13:      Spring Recess

 Mar 18:      Pamuk’s Snow. 

 Mar 20:      Pamuk’s Snow. 

 Mar 25:      Universal human rights?:  J. M. Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello.

 Mar 27:      Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello.

 Second essay due in class, 5-7 pages.

Apr 1:        Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello.

Apr 3:        Oil diplomacy.  Stephen Gaghan, dir.  Syriana.  In-class screening.

Apr 8:        Syriana.  In-class screening.

Apr 10:      Syriana.  Discussion. 

Apr 15:      The weather underground.  Dana Spiotta’s Eat the Document.

Apr 17:      Spiotta’s Eat the Document.

Apr 22:      Spiotta’s Eat the Document

Apr 24:      Conclusions and evaluations.

                  Research paper due in class, 8-10 pages.

 

Required Texts:

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Coetzee, J. M.  Elizabeth Costello (2003)

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DeLillo, Don.  Falling Man (2007)

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Houellebecq, Michel.  Platform (2002)

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Pamuk, Orhan.  Snow (2004)

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Updike, John.  Terrorist (2006)

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Spiotta, Dana.  Eat the Document (2006)

 All texts for the course can be found at Talking Leaves Bookstore, 3158 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14214; (716) 837-8554. 

 

Course Requirements:

Attendance in class, reading assignments and participation in discussion for English 357 is mandatory; two intermediate length papers and a final research paper that will integrate non-fiction, cultural and literary critical sources.

Papers:   Neatly printed copies must be presented in class on the day indicated on the syllabus.  These copies should adhere to the following format:  a cover page with a title for your essay, your name, the course number and title, the date; typed, double-spaced with one-inch margins; all pages numbered; stapled.  The paper should be proofread for grammatical and typographical errors. 

Late policy:  Late assignments will be accepted only by prior arrangement with me.  Failure to seek approval before the due date will result in a penalty of one grade increment per class meeting. 

Plagiarism:  All secondary materials, either from print or online sources, must be properly attributed.  Plagiarism of a paper—either in whole or in part, especially including sources downloaded from the Internet—will result in an immediate failure for the assignment, or the course, at the instructor’s discretion.

Attendance:  Noted on a daily basis.  Absence from more than five classes during the course of the semester will result in a final grade deduction, up to and including failure for the course, at the instructor’s discretion.

Grading:  50% for the two papers; 40% for the final research paper; and 10% for attendance and participation in the class discussion list.


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Last revised on Tuesday, January 15, 2008.
Copyright 2008 Joseph M. Conte. All Rights Reserved.