Salvatore Pane

Tag: University of Indianapolis

Moving to Tumblr

tumblr_m4yu6vajdv1rq7ucuo1_500

It’s been a long time coming, but I’m finally moving all my blogging to Tumblr like it’s 2011. You can find me here, and I hope if you’ve read any of my ramblings from 2010-onward, you’ll stay with me. The truth is I’ve had significantly less time to blog ever since taking a job at UIndy as an Assistant Professor. Any free writing time I do have is usually spent on my novel, and it’s been difficult to muster up the energy to write the kind of posts I used to do when I was a graduate student or even when I was adjuncting. Instead, my time on the web has been diverted into livetweeting Knicks games and reposting pictures of cashmere socks or Short Circuit 2 gifs, and that’s something more in line with the Tumblr set.

However, I’m definitely going to keep this site as a kind of repository for links to published work, upcoming readings, and general bio information. I’ve fixed all the links–guys, web journals change their URLs maybe every two years, and it’s hard to keep up with–and switched to a static front page. More than anything, I just want to thank all of you who have read any of this at any point. When I started blogging in January 2010, I knew so little of the indie lit scene. I didn’t know about the myriad of venues available to us outside of the big, traditional journals, and I can’t tell you how life-affirming it’s been to meet so many young and like-minded writers from all across the country. I never thought when I started this site that it would eventually lead to making all sorts of real life friends who produce work I love and admire. The last four years have really been wonderful, and if you’ve been any part of that whatsoever, I want to thank you. You are all the John Starks of my heart.

The Electrostatic Showcase at the Wheeler + Vouched X UIndy w/Aubrey Hirsch, Eugene Cross, and David Blomenberg

wheeler-arts

The Electrostatic Showcase at the Wheeler, Wednesday, April 23rd, 6-10pm, Wheeler Arts Center, Fountain Square

We would love to see you attend the Electrostatic Showcase on Wednesday, April 23rd from 6-10pm at the Wheeler Arts Center in Fountain Square. The Electrostatic Showcase is an opportunity for students from the University of Indianapolis to present their work to the community-at-large and to interact with professionals in the field. For the second showcase, the university and local communities are invited to take part in the following educational and arts-related activities. Shuttles will be provided for students starting at 4:30 in Parking Lot 16, the circular guest lot with the bell tower (by Ransburg and Schwitzer). Food and drink will be provided.

Student Creative Writing Readings, 6-7pm, Theatre Space

Ten students from UIndy’s Introduction to Creative Writing course will participate in mixed-genre readings of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

Bettering Indianapolis Presentation, 7-8, Theatre Space

Six students from a UIndy Advanced Composition course will present projects based around the theme of Bettering Indianapolis. Presentations will be modeled off of the TED conference in Silicon Valley, and each one will focus on how we can improve our local community now and in the future.

Literature Into Film, 7-8pm, Community Classroom

Students from UIndy’s Contemporary Literature and Culture class will present on adapting works of literature into film.

Etchings Launch, 8-9pm, Theatre Space

The latest issue of Etchings will be launched at the Electrostatic Showcase. Free copies, designed by UIndy students, will be handed out, and selections of student work published from the magazine will be read and presented to the crowd.

Vouched x UIndy Presents: Aubrey Hirsch, Eugene Cross, and David Blomenberg 9-10pm, Theatre Space

Vouched, a national literary organization with roots in Indianapolis, will present fiction and poetry readings from national writers Aubrey Hirsch, Eugene Cross, and David Blomenberg. Aubrey Hirsch’s stories, essays and poems have appeared in American Short Fiction, Third Coast, Hobart, PANK, and other venues. Her short story collection, Why We Never Talk About Sugar is available now, and she teaches at the University of Pittsburgh. Eugene Cross is the author of the short story collection Fires of Our Own Choosing. His work was listed among the 2010 Best American Short Stories’ 100 Distinguished Stories, and he currently teaches at the Columbia College of Chicago. David Blomenberg has taught at Purdue and DePauw University. Recently the poetry editor for Sycamore Review, he writes poetry and non-fiction, which has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Salzburg Review, Artifice, Confrontation, Willows Wept, and other journals.

The UIndy Publishing Internship Network (PLUS: A Call For More Presses/Journals)

uindy-schwitzer-student-center-with-flowers

I’m so excited to announce that the UIndy English department will be teaming up with a large group of presses and journals over the next few years to offer our students onsite and offsite internships with organizations based in Los Angeles and Manhattan and hopefully everywhere else in between. This builds heavily off the work of Prof. Kevin McKelvey, and over the upcoming summer and fall, we’re placing our students into internships with Boss Fight Books, Braddock Avenue Books, and a host of other magazines and presses we shouldn’t announce just quite yet. I’m hoping to extend and build connections with other presses and journals over the coming months, and if you’re interested in having either an onsite or offsite intern in the fall, spring, or summer, please do not hesitate to contact me at panes@uindy.edu. This is an amazing opportunity for our students to get hands on learning in the publishing industry, but it’s also a good chance for them to show exactly how much they can do for you.

UIndy Young Writers Workshop

IMAG0417

GUYS! I’m co-leading the UIndy Young Writers Workshop with Kevin McKelvey again this summer. The camp runs from June 22nd through the 27th, and it’s aimed at high school juniors and seniors. We had an incredibly successful launch last year, and we’re looking forward to an even better camp this year. Please spread the word, and if you know any parents or high school age kids, send it directly to them.

All the application information is online.

Enter UIndy’s First Ever Chapbook Contest

foc-2

Etchings Press Chapbook Contest

Etchings Press, a student-run publisher at University of Indianapolis, invites submissions for its first annual chapbook contest. In this inaugural year, UIndy students will consider chapbook submissions in poetry, fiction and nonfiction. All submitted work should be in a single genre of 15 to 30 pages. Collaborative works (two or more authors) are eligible, but not mixed-genre works. The winner in each category will receive a $100 honorarium and 15 copies of the published chapbook.

UIndy graduate and undergraduate students will read the submitted manuscripts and choose a winner in each genre. The students will then edit, design, publish and promote the chapbooks. A limited press run of each chapbook will be printed. In future years, the genres or categories will change based on criteria developed by students.

Eligibility

This spring, students are interested in editing and publishing books from authors in our region. The students are using the 370 miles between Flannery O’Connor’s Milledgeville, Georgia, and William Faulkner’s Oxford, Mississippi, as the relative mileage for a regional literature. Using UIndy’s campus on the southside of Indianapolis as a starting point, that distance makes a circle which includes all of Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia, most of Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Missouri, and parts of Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New York, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Arkansas, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, and even Ontario. To see if you’re eligible for submission, please see the circle on the map.

Contest details

  1. Please submit chapbook manuscripts in poetry, fiction and nonfiction using the Submittable content submissions manager for Etchings. You will be prompted to create a free user account that will allow you to submit your manuscript and monitor its status.
  2. Please submit manuscripts as a single file and include a title page (without name) and a table of contents. We ask that your name be removed from the manuscript for blind reading.
  3. Manuscripts should be 15 to 30 pages in length (up to 7,500 words in fiction and nonfiction).
  4. Collaborative works (two or more authors) are eligible. Mixed-genre works are not eligible at this time.
  5. For fiction and nonfiction, a single piece or multiple pieces can be considered (multiple flash pieces, thematically connected pieces, etc.).
  6. The manuscripts or authors must have a connection to the geographic area shown on the map.
  7. Undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Indianapolis will read all entries and choose a winner in each genre to publish. Students will then edit, design, publish and promote each winning book.
  8. Winners will be notified in March 2014. Chapbooks will be released and available for sale in May 2014.
  9. The reading fee is $10 (payable via submittable.com)
  10. The deadline is February 10, 2014.
  11. Alumni and current students of University of Indianapolis and former students of its faculty are not eligible.

If you have any questions, please contact Kevin McKelvey.

Advanced Fiction Workshop Fall 2013

Advanced Fiction Workshop
ENGL 472-50X (12032)
MW 4:00-5:20pm

University of Indianapolis
Assistant Professor Salvatore Pane
E-mail: panes@uindy.edu
Credits: 3.0

 

Syllabus
Welcome to Advanced Fiction Workshop

By this point in your creative writing career, you know a few things. You can generate a scene out of nothingness. You can build a setting and populate it with characters who are more than just one-dimensional cardboard cutouts. You can write dialogue. You’ve written more than your share of stories, and hopefully, your writing routine reflects that. Hopefully, you’re working on your craft well before the night before a story is due. Hopefully, you’re even writing fiction even when there are no deadlines or class assignments.

But what is fiction? On a primitive level, we know the answer. But what can fiction do? Can it be more than a simple A to B to C narrative with a traditional rising action and climax, or are there new ways forward we haven’t even imagined yet? And if we are going to live in the world of traditional narrative, how can we do so to the very best of our abilities?

In Advanced Fiction Workshop, you will take the next step toward becoming an active literary citizen in a broadband world. That means not only are you expected to produce and revise a great deal of writing—both creative and critical—but you will be required to learn about and participate in the many writing communities within Indianapolis and nationally via public readings, book reviews, and social media.

Each student will submit 30-44 pages of literary fiction for workshop. You can write traditional short stories or multiple pieces of flash fiction or potentially even novel chapters, but remember, you have to demonstrate the fundamental principles of literary fiction in all of your workshop pieces. I want to see structure, character, development. I want nuance and complexity. I don’t want filler pieces meant to get you closer to the page requirement.

Substantial revisions will be required. Substantial revision does not mean fixing grammar. Substantial revision usually means a complete rewrite and perhaps multiple rewrites. Students must also post 500-750 word critiques for every student workshop. Similarly, you will read a large amount of published fiction. Students will post 500-750 word ACE Takeaway Posts for every published piece of fiction we read.

Reading so much literary fiction will allow you to build a library of published stories in your head. Students are expected to use their knowledge of writers like ZZ Packer or Jorge Luis Borges or Richard Yates to comment about peer work up for discussion. Students will make parallels and use the published work to inform their critiques of peer work. The majority of the course will be spent workshopping. The goal of the course is for you to not only become a better writer, but to become an active literary citizen who can participate in the ongoing dialogue concerning fiction.

 

By the end of the course successful students will:

 

Use basic elements of craft (image, voice, character, setting, etc.) to create 30-44 pages of thoughtful literary fiction.

Employ critical-reading skills while analyzing, for specific issues of craft, a wide range of published and peer fiction.

Substantially revise their work by utilizing critical feedback generated by class discussion and written critiques.

Contribute thoughtful and complex commentary to discussions of published and peer fiction.

 

Workshop

 

You will be prepared for every workshop class by doing the following:

1.) Write comments in the margins of stories up for discussion. You MUST use the comments feature in Microsoft Word. All comments will be transparent to the entire class. I want you to upload your marked up versions of workshopped stories to Ace under the student-in-question’s forum. Failure to do so will negatively impact your grade. Also, DO NOT FORGET TO BRING A PRINT OUT OF THE STORY IN QUESTION TO CLASS. This is mandatory. If you don’t, I will mark you absent.

2.) Write a 500-750 word critique for each peer written story we read this semester. You must critique the story based on its own intentions. For example, if the writer is attempting to write in the realist mode of Ray Carver, do not suggest adding a mysterious underground school ala Patrick Somerville just because you don’t like realism. On the flip side, don’t knock an experimental story because you prefer realism. Judge the work the writer wrote, not the work you want to write. Try and help them see how they could better serve their material and unique world vision. In your responses, first describe what you think the writer is attempting to do and what the story is about— this should be the shortest section. Then discuss the piece’s strengths. Finish with prescription, a section where you point out very specific things that still need work within the story. Go beyond grammar. Character, plot, prose, all the building blocks of writing are on the table. You must use the description, strength, prescription model.

3.) Post your critique and margin comments to Ace by 12am the night before workshop. All critiques will be visible to all members of the class, and I encourage you to read what your peers are saying about every story. Name your thread on Ace after your favorite line of the story in question. If you don’t turn in these materials BY MIDNIGHT, you will lose points.

 

Example of a good critique:

 

[TITLE OF STORY REMOVED] is primarily about a squeamish young man who dates an over-sized, sailor mouthed woman he meets in a bar. She is emotionally unavailable and taunts the boyfriend–who she nicknames Christopher Robbins–quite a bit, but in many instances Robbins interprets these gestures as tenderness and grows to love his female companion. He can’t leave well enough alone, however, and decides that he has to figure out her past–which he believes is connected to the sea. He takes her to a small boat off a dock in New York City and when pushed, Mary lies to him prompting CR to trick her into falling into the ocean. Then he sails away but remembers he can’t.

The principal strength of the story is the prose. It is quite beautiful in places and has a really sweet lyrical tendency despite the crazy subject matter and frequent cursing. The sentences move. Also, the character of Mary is quite strong. She’s an enigma to CR, and she’s an enigma to the reader. I don’t want her backstory, and I don’t think the writer should be talked into giving it to us. Mary is a puzzle inserted into fiction. She doesn’t need to be solved.

Christopher Robbins does not fare as well. I’m going to echo [NAME REMOVED]’s sentiments. We don’t know CR well enough and that makes some of the story fall relatively flat. When CR gives up his previous life to follow Mary everywhere it doesn’t have much impact because we have no idea what he’s giving up. Is he some little rich kid–he implies otherwise when Mary accuses him of having Harvard hands? Is he right out of college? Does he have some office job? Does he live in Hoboken and eat canned soup? We need the details of his life before-Mary to understand how his life post-Mary is so different and strange, and at times, wonderful.

Secondly, the story makes a big leap in logic when CR definitively decides that his girlfriend’s past is tied up with the sea. We need more concrete hints from Mary to buy into this. And why does he want to know about her past so much in the first place? Is he inherently an inquisitive person? Does he need to solve everything he comes across? Up until this point in the story, CR seemed so utterly passive. Why the change in demeanor? Also, the boat plot at the end seems a little half-baked. He thinks something terrible happened to his girlfriend at sea, so his solution is to tell her he has a surprise for her, then he brings her to a boat. That’s kind of crazy and out-of-character. It almost makes it seem like he’s getting back at her for all the little pot shots she’s taken but I don’t think that’s your intention. The final image of CR sailing away from Mary is a compelling ending, but it does not (yet) feel earned.

 

Distribution of Manuscripts

 

For your workshop, you must submit 15-22 pages of literary fiction the Wednesday before your stories are due by 3pm. I will release the workshop schedule after the first week of class when the student roster is locked. Please feel free to include any combination of short stories. For example, a single 17 page story is absolutely fine, as are 17 one page stories. The breakdown is up to you as long as you don’t dip below or above the 15-22 page limit.

If your story is late, your grade for that story will drop by an entire letter. If you are more than a day late, you will get an F, no exceptions. Once you upload your manuscript, you CANNOT EDIT IT FOR ANY REASON. If you do, we will skip your workshop and you will take an F. You are responsible for printing out your peers’ stories for discussion on workshop days. Reduced grades will count toward the final grade. Also, please include page numbers.

 

Notes About Workshop

 

When you are being workshopped, it is very important that you are quiet, take notes, and do not respond to anything verbally. To reiterate, you are not allowed to talk when being workshopped unless I specifically ask you something, and that will be very rare. You are not there to defend your story. Your story must stand on its own.

Please proofread your work. If a story is excessively sloppy, I will not workshop it. Do not depend on your classmates to fix your grammar.

 

ACE Takeaway Posts

 

Before we discuss a story you must post a 500-750 word Takeaway Post on ACE under the appropriately titled forum. Posts must be uploaded by midnight the day before we discuss the work. If your post is late, you will lose points. Post your responses on the appropriate Ace forum. There’s a forum designated by name for every professional piece of writing.

Let me be very clear on this. This is not a forum for you to explain whether or not you like the piece in question. I don’t care. What I’m looking for is what you can take away for your own writing. Every piece of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction has something to teach us as writers, something we can take for our own writing. Whether you like or dislike a piece of outside writing is beside the point in this class. If you simply talk about why you love or hate a specific piece of writing, you will take an F on the Takeaway Post in question.

In addition to what you took away from the published piece as a writer, I want you to provide three questions for the class related to craft. I don’t want you asking plot questions or questions about why a story is so bad or so good, but questions meant to stimulate discussions of craft related to the story. Your three questions will count toward your word count.

Below is a truncated example of a good Takeaway Post:

 

Don Lee’s “The Price of Eggs in China” provides a great example of keeping characters consistent. They’re unique characters, I think, but they’re always consistent.

Dean is a devoted, committed boyfriend. No matter how Caroline treats him, he wants to be with Caroline. He wants to help her when she’s sick, even though she’s broken up with him. He wants to help her with the problem with Marcella.

Caroline is consistently just kind of mean and crazy. She seems to have no filter on what she says…as made obvious when she says “This is what it’s come down to, this is how far I’ve sunk. I’m about to fuck a Nipponese fire hydrant with the verbal capacity of tap water,” and again when she responds with “yikes” to Dean’s declaration of love.

One of the good things to learn from this story, though, is that we see a mean character who is not evil, only evil, all we see is evil. I know that’s something I had a problem with in my last workshop story–that the character was just mean, and rude, and no one could understand why the main character was friends with her. In this story, you see Caroline’s vulnerable side. You see her vulnerable side when she starts getting sicker due to a stalker who is leaving her death threats. Though this sympathy is kind of taken away when it’s suggested she might have sent herself the death threats, you still see the vulnerable side. The side that is not completely mean/evil. She also transforms at the end when she becomes a mother, and although we do not see her in that role, it is described in the narration. I think this was a really good story to help show a way to fix the problem that a lot of us are having with writing a completely “evil,” one-sided character.

1) How is “The Price of Eggs in China” different from what we typically think of as mystery fiction?

2) How is it similar to what we typically think of as mystery fiction?

3) How does “The Price of Eggs in China” manage to achieve a satisfying ending without revealing the truth behind the mystery?

 

Genre Fiction

 

All of our discussions in this class will center on literary fiction. If you’re here to work on your vampire zombie spaceship novel, this class is not a good outlet for that kind of work. I’m expecting you to produce character driven literary fiction that drives toward emotional complexities. I don’t want to see battle scenes between elves and warlocks, young adult work, etc.. Your stories can be wacky, your stories can be strange (look to George Saunders or any other published fiction we read in this course for examples), but this class will never focus on straight genre fiction, and you will be expected to write literary fiction.

 

Novels

 

Primarily, we will be focusing on short fiction in this course. However, for your second workshop, you may choose to submit a novel chapter if you provide me with a four page outline of your entire novel in addition to a 15-22 page opening BEFORE uploading your work to ACE.
Conferences

 

After your workshops, I will schedule a mandatory conference with you during my office hours to discuss your work and provide feedback. Please remember: my door is always open, and I want to help you become a better writer.

 

Twitter

 

Over the last decade, social media hasbecome one of the best sources for writers to stay up-to-date on the latest books, literary journals, presses, reading series, and writers. This semester, you will be asked to enter into that world. You will be required to sign up for Twitter—however, feel free to keep your tweets protected if you’re so inclined—and each week you will follow five new literary journals, presses, reading series, or writers. Every Friday by 5pm, you will post which five accounts you’ve followed on the Twitter forum on Ace. Please feel free to follow accounts other students have found. Pay attention to whom and what other writers and journals tweet about. They’ll often discuss new writers and journals for you to discover.

 

Book Reviews

 

Over the course of the semester, you will be required to write two 500-1000 word book reviews chosen from the list of books I’ll recommend to you during your individual conferences. These are the only books you’ll be required to obtain over the course of the semester. We will talk about this more in depth as this semester goes on.

 

Outside Events

 

Students will be required to attend five readings outside of our class. You must attend the Roxane Gay Kellogg Writers series event in addition to two student hosted readings—more about that soon—along with two readings of your choice. To become an active literary citizen, you must actually engage with writers in our community. That means going to readings. Below are some options available to you, but I’ll approve other readings if you know of them. In addition to attending the readings, you must write a 100 word review of each event and post them to Ace. Keep in mind, readings are huge opportunities. Don’t treat these as burdens. I encourage you to go to all of the readings happening this fall.

Kellogg Writers Series (http://www.uindy.edu/arts/kellogg-writers-series)
Vouched (http://vouchedbooks.com/)
Word Lab (http://www.meetup.com/IndyWordLab/)
Indy Reads (http://indyreadsbooks.org/)
Service Center (https://www.facebook.com/servicecenterindy)
Butler University’s Delbrook Visiting Writers Series (http://www.butler.edu/mfa-creative-writing/delbrook-series/)
Hosted Reading

Once this semester, you will be required to team up with another student from our class to host a reading similar to the five you will attend on your own. At said reading, you will bring together a UIndy student writer of your choice—not yourself—with a local, established writer. Below, I’ve provided a list of venues in addition to a list of local writers who might be interested in headlining such an event. Please check out the venues beforehand and the work of the writers in question. Find someone you’re interested in, and when you do, contact me with your idea for the venue, headlining writer, and student writer. From there, I will put you in contact with the necessary people. You will be asked to promote said event via social media or other methods you’re comfortable with. You will also need to introduce both readers to the crowd at the event. Once an event is approved, those writers will be taken off the board of available readers.

 

Possible Venues:

 

Indy Reads (Mass Ave)
Indiana Writers Center (Broad Ripple)
The Wheeler Arts Community (Fountain Square)
The Service Center (Lafayette Road)
University of Indianapolis Schwitzer Building
University of Indianapolis Good Hall

 

Possible Writers:

[REMOVED]

 

Public Reading

 

At the end of the course, all students will be required to give a public reading of their work. This will take place during class time and other students and faculty will be invited to the reading. The reading will be livestreamed on the internet at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/uindy-lit.

 

Final Portfolios

 

You will receive preliminary grades for both of your workshop pieces that are not factored into your final grades and instead are meant as guideposts to where you work is before it is substantially revised over the course of the semester. At the end of the course, you will be expected to turn in a polished portfolio of your substantially revised workshop pieces that uses the feedback provided by me in addition to comments from your peers. An unwillingness to revise will result in automatic failure.

 

Grading Breakdown

 

Final Portfolio 50%
In-Class/Ace Participation 35%
Literary Citizenship (Readings, Book Reviews) 15%

 

Technology

 

Turn off all cell phones, laptops, tablets, and whatever else is invented before this semester ends BEFORE class begins. If, at any point during class, you look at any of this technology, you will be marked absent. I will not disrupt class. You will just be automatically marked absent. Don’t check your phones if you want to pass this class. Don’t look at the readings on phones and laptops. Print them out.

 

Attendance

 

If you miss class five times, you will fail. There will be no make up assignments. The ONLY excuses I will accept are doctor’s excuses or some kind of family emergency.

You should always be on time for class. If you are late, you will not get credit for attending an entire class.

If you are unprepared for discussion or workshop, I cannot give you credit for attendance that day.

 

Note

 

The syllabus is subject to change. I will only push assignments and readings back however. No assignment will ever be due earlier than it’s listed here.

 

Special Assistance

 

If you have a disability that may have some impact on your work in this class and for which you may require accommodations, please inform me immediately so that your learning needs may be appropriately met. Students with a disability must register with the Services for Students with Disabilities office (SSD) in Schwitzer Center 206 (317-788-6153 / http://www.uindy.edu/ssd) for disability verification and for determination of reasonable academic accommodations. You are responsible for initiating arrangements for accommodations for tests and other assignments in collaboration with the SSD and the faculty.

 

Plagiarism

 

Intellectual theft, like any other kind of theft, is a crime, and is especially dangerous on a college campus. Plagiarism is defined as any use of another person’s thoughts or words as your own. I don’t expect to see plagiarism in this class, and if I do each case will be dealt with on an individual basis, but the MINIMUM penalty will be failure for the assignment in question. Failing the entire course is not out of the question. If you are doing research and are unsure how to incorporate someone else’s work into your own in a valid manner, please ask—I’ll be more than happy to help you out so that there’s no danger of confusion.

 

Week One
August 26
Syllabus and Introductions
AD Jameson “Seven Movie Reviews”
Writing Goals
Prompt

August 28
Anton Chekhov “The Lady with the Pet Dog”
Sam Martone “Last Tour”
Social Media Overview
Prompt

Week Two
September 4
Dennis Johnson “Emergency”
Amber Sparks “You Will Be The Living Equation”
Prompt

Week Three
September 9
Rick Moody “The Apocalyptic Commentary of Bob Paisner”
Hosted Reading Overview
Prompt

September 11
Alice Munro “The Progress of Love”
Karissa Chen “The Emperor’s Malady”
Prompt

Week Four
September 16
Workshop 1
Workshop 2

September 18
Workshop 3
Mike Meginnis “Navigators”

Week Five
September 23
Workshop 4
Workshop 5

September 25
Workshop 6
Revision Overview

Week Six
September 30
Workshop 7
Workshop 8

October 2
Workshop 9
Book Review Overview

Week Seven
October 7
ZZ Packer “Dayward”
SKYPE WITH WRITER

October 9
Mini-Revisions

Week Eight
October 16
Donald Barthelme “Robert Kennedy Saved From Drowning”
SKYPE WITH WRITER

Week Nine
October 21
Cathy Day “Jennie Dixianna”
Jorge Luis Borges “The Garden of Forking Paths”
Prompt

October 23
John Cheever “The Swimmer”
Richard Yates “The Best of Everything”
Prompt

Week 10
October 28
Workshop 1
Workshop 2

October 30
Workshop 3
Roberto Bolano “Last Evenings on Earth”

Week 11
November 4
Workshop 4
Workshop 5

November 6
Workshop 6
Wells Tower “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned”

Week 12
November 11
Workshop 7
Workshop 8

November 13

Prompt

Week 13
November 18
TBA

November 20
Mini-Revisions

Week 14
November 25
Writer Visit

Week 15
December 2
Writer Visit

December 4
Public Reading

The Kellogg Writers Series 2013-2014 Season

Some of you may know that at UIndy I’m the co-director of our Kellogg Writers Series. This year, we have a tremendous lineup that’s free and open to the public, and I hope to see many of you there.

Patricia Clark
Monday, September 23, 2013
7:30 p.m.
Esch Hall Studio Theater
Patricia Clark is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Sunday Rising. Other titles are: She Walks Into the Sea; My Father on a Bicycle; and North of Wondering. Her work has been featured on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, also appearing in The Atlantic, Gettysburg Review, and elsewhere. She is also the author of a chapbook, Given the Trees, in the Voices from the American Land series, and co-author of an anthology of women writers, Worlds in Our Words. She is Poet-in-Residence and Professor in the Department of Writing at Grand Valley State University.

Roxane Gay
Thursday, November 21, 2013
7:30 p.m.
UIndy Hall C
Schwitzer Center
Roxane Gay’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, NOOON, The New York Times Book Review, The Rumpus, Salon, The Wall Street Journal, and many others. Her novel, An Untamed State, will be published by Grove Atlantic and her essay collection, Bad Feminist, will be published by Harper Perennial, both in 2014.

Jim McGarrah
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
7:30 p.m.
Trustees Dining Room
Schwitzer Center
Jim McGarrah has three books of poetry, Running the Voodoo Down, which won a book award from Elixir Press in 2003, When the Stars Go Dark, part of Main Street Rag’s Select Poetry Series in 2009, and Breakfast at Denny’s from Ink Brush Press, 2013. He has publised two nonfiction books: A Temporary Sort of Peace, a memoir of the Vietnam War, and The End of an Era, a nonfiction account of life in the American counter-culture during the 1960s and 1970s. His poems and essays have appeared most recently in Bayou Magazine, Chamber 4, Cincinnati Review, Elixir Magazine, and North American Review. Along with Tom Watson, he edited Home Again: Essays and Memoirs from Indiana.

Jennifer Percy
Thursday, April 3, 2014
7:30 p.m.
UIndy Hall C
Schwitzer Center
Pushcart prize winner Jennifer Percy is the author of Demon Camp: A Soldier’s Exorcism (Scribner). A graduate of the Iowa Writers’
Workshop, Percy also received an MFA from the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program as an Iowa Arts Fellow. She is the
recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, a Truman Capote Fellowship and the David Relin Prize for Fiction. She has significant journal publications including the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine and the Oxford American. She has also been featured on National Public Radio and BBC”s World News.

UIndy Is Proud To Announce The Etchings Press Whirling Prize

Etchings Press, a student-run publisher at University of Indianapolis, announces the Whirling Prize for a recently published book of poetry, fiction or nonfiction. Each year, the category or genre will rotate. For this inaugural year, two $500 prizes will be awarded in poetry and in prose. Graduate and undergraduate students will read the submitted books and choose a winner in poetry and a winner in prose. The winners will be invited to campus in Spring or Fall 2014 to participate in the Kellogg’s Writer Series.

“It is that something in the soul which says, Rage on, Whirl on, I tread master here and everywhere—Master of the spasms of the sky and of the shatter of the sea, Master of nature and passion and death, and of all terror and all pain.” – Walt Whitman

uindy-campus

Eligibility

This year, students are interested in reading and reviewing books from authors in our region. The students are using the 370 miles between Flannery O’Connor’s Milledgeville, Georgia, and William Faulkner’s Oxford, Mississippi, as the relative mileage for a regional literature. Using UIndy’s campus on the southside of Indianapolis as a starting point, that distance makes a circle which includes all of Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia, most of Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Missouri, and parts of Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New York, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Arkansas, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, and even Ontario. To see if you’re eligible for submission, please see the circle on the map.

Entry and judging details

All books in poetry, fiction or nonfiction published since January 2012 are eligible. (No chapbooks or novellas please. Poetry should be 48 or more pages.)
The books or authors must have a connection to the geographic area shown on the map.
Undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Indianapolis will read all entries and choose a winner to invite to campus.
A winner will be announced in December 2013.
The winner must agree to give a reading and a class talk at University of Indianapolis.
After the announcement, faculty at UIndy will work with the winner to bring him or her to campus the following spring or fall.
All entries will be housed in the English department for future student use.
The reading fee is $15 (payable to University of Indianapolis).
All entries must be postmarked by August 25, 2013.

Submission and reading fee

Please send one copy of your book and a reading fee of $15 (payable to University of Indianapolis) to:

UIndy English Department
c/o Etchings Press
1400 E. Hanna Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46227

Advanced Composition Fall 2013 Syllabus

?????????????????????????????

ENGL 220-01 Advanced Composition: Expository Writing
MWF 11:00-11:50am
ESCH Hall 264

University of Indianapolis
Assistant Professor Salvatore Pane
E-mail: panes@uindy.edu
Credits: 3.0

Affecting Change Through Writing

Syllabus

Welcome to Advanced Composition

By this point in your academic career, you know how to write an essay and how to contribute meaningfully in class. You’ve settled into your role as a student here at UIndy, but sometimes you find yourself wondering if there are any practical applications of the writing you do here at the university level. Is there any way to connect academic work to the outside world?

In Advanced Composition, that’s exactly what we’ll be doing. We’ll use discussion and essays not only to grapple with complex problems plaguing society on a local and national level, but we’ll use our findings to make real world changes right here in Indianapolis.

Course Description

This is a class in which we will write A LOT. We will write about the reading we do and write about the thinking we do and then write about the writing we do and just plain write. This description may sound exhausting or exciting, but either way, you can be sure that the course will be both challenging and rewarding. The essay assignments and short exercises in this course are designed to help you approach writing from a variety of contexts, using a variety of techniques. We are trying to look beyond pat formulas (such as the five-paragraph essay) while still understanding the writely conventions specific to each piece and how they can be useful. At times, the prompts might ask you to employ a particular strategy or style of a published essayist, but always with the aim of exploring your own range of writing and voices.

Workshopping and revision will be key components of our work in this class. We will put essays from inside and outside of class onto the table to find out what is working or not working for us as readers and writers. The object is to take what we learn from workshop and apply it to our own writing in future drafts and revisions. I encourage you to look at every assignment that you complete as a draft that can be improved rather than a finished product.

Critical engagement and close reading will also be integral to this course. In fact, I hope that they will both become daily practices. A big part of this class is learning to complicate your thinking, to notice the details of language and composition on a micro and macro level. Throughout the term, we will do close reading exercises focusing on various literary and rhetorical devices with the aim of nuancing our own analyses and writing. Producing work that is fresh and insightful depends upon being able to draw out insightful readings of other texts, of ourselves, and of the world. Advanced Composition will push you to ask not only the “how” of writing but also the “why” and the “so what.”

Turning in Your Writing

It’s important that you turn in your writing on time, as late work cannot become part of class discussion. Likewise, because the Essays and Exercises build upon one another, turning in late work means you miss out on comments that would help you with the upcoming assignment. Since you will regularly revise your work, make sure to keep electronic and paper copies. All papers must be written in Times New Roman 12 with one inch margins. Also, please title your work. Do not generically title your papers, “Essay 2” or “Essay on Education.” Papers turned in late will receive a full letter grade penalty. Papers turned in over 24 hours late will result in an automatic failure. These penalties will factor into your final grade.

Readings and Quizzes

All of the assigned readings are on Ace. It is your responsibility to print out the readings we will focus on in any given class session. Everything you will need is explained in the Course Sequence. You only have to read essays marked “Homework.” Otherwise, just print out the reading and bring it with you. If you do not bring print outs of the readings, I will mark you absent. Also, there will be occasional pop quizzes to make sure you’re reading the assigned homework. Quizzes will be one or two questions at most and will be impossible to pass if you haven’t read the material and impossible to fail if you have. Read the homework.

Grading

You will receive provisional grades on each of the essays you turn in, but you will have a chance to revise those essays throughout the semester. At your mid-term conference you will receive a provisional grade, which is in no way final and is not factored into your final grade. Rather, this mid-term assessment is intended to give you a sense of how your writing is being evaluated and of your progress in the course. You are always welcome to stop by during office hours to talk about your writing or your grade. You are encouraged to keep on reworking essays that you like throughout the semester.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Classroom participation will affect your grade. Lack of engagement or preparation will lower your grade. Regular comments and involvement with moving the ongoing conversation of the class forward will increase your grade.

Essays & evaluations 60%
Exercises and class participation 25%
Community Presentation 15%

Optional Revision

At the end of the course, you will have an opportunity to revise, cut, and expand your first two papers for a higher grade. This is completely voluntary, however, and we will discuss this in more detail as the semester progresses.

Course Objectives

1) A successful student will add thoughtful and complex commentary to every class discussion.

2) A successful student will hand in thoughtful and complex essays on time for each corresponding assignment.

3) A successful student will complete all of the exercises with great attention to deal.

4) A successful student will be able to analyze difficult texts and think about their place in the world in new and constructive ways.

5) A successful student will be able to make connections between seemingly disparate threads.

Presentations

At the end of the course, you will be asked to give an eight-to-ten minute presentation exploring your final paper at the Wheeler Arts Center in the vein of the TED conference lectures we’ll watch in class. We’ll go over this in more detail as the semester continues.

Technology

Turn off all cell phones, laptops, tablets, and whatever else is invented before this semester ends BEFORE class begins. If, at any point during class, you look at any of this technology, you will be marked absent. I will not disrupt class. You will just be automatically marked absent. Don’t check your phones if you want to pass this class. Don’t look at the readings on phones and laptops. Print them out.

Attendance

If you miss class five times, you will fail. The ONLY excuses I will accept are a doctor’s excuse or some kind of family emergency.

You should always be on time for class. If you are late, you will not get credit for attending an entire class. If you are absent, it’s up to you to contact me to find out what you must make up.

If you are unprepared for discussion or workshop, I cannot give you credit for attendance that day.

Note

The syllabus is subject to change. I will only push assignments and readings back however. No assignment will ever be due earlier than it’s listed here.

Special Assistance

If you have a disability that may have some impact on your work in this class and for which you may require accommodations, please inform me immediately so that your learning needs may be appropriately met. Students with a disability must register with the Services for Students with Disabilities office (SSD) in Schwitzer Center 206 (317-788-6153 / http://www.uindy.edu/ssd) for disability verification and for determination of reasonable academic accommodations. You are responsible for initiating arrangements for accommodations for tests and other assignments in collaboration with the SSD and the faculty.

Plagiarism

Intellectual theft, like any other kind of theft, is a crime, and is especially dangerous on a college campus. Plagiarism is defined as any use of another person’s thoughts or words as your own. I don’t expect to see plagiarism in this class, and if I do each case will be dealt with on an individual basis, but the MINIMUM penalty will be failure for the assignment in question. Failing the entire course is not out of the question. If you are doing research and are unsure how to incorporate someone else’s work into your own in a valid manner, please ask—I’ll be more than happy to help you out so that there’s no danger of confusion.

Course Sequence

Week One
August 26
Syllabus and Introductions
Catherine Rampell “Many With New College Degree Find Job Market Humbling”
In Class Writing

August 28
Farhad Manjoo “Is Facebook a Fad?”

August 30
Zoe Kleinman “Is the Internet Changing Language”

Week Two
September 4
Roger Ebert’s Twitter Feed
Watch Kellee Santiago “Are Video Games Art?”
HOMEWORK: Read Nicholas Carr “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”

September 6
Nicholas Carr “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”

Week Three
September 9
Discuss Essay 1
Jane Wakefield “3D Proves a Hit in the Classroom”

September 11
Examples of Essay 1

September 13
Maya Rupert “The NBA: Where Racism Happens?”

Week Four
September 16
In Class Workshop

September 18
In Class Workshop

September 20
2 Page Draft Peer Review

Week Five
September 23
Essay 1 Due
Peer Review

September 25
Watch Ken Robinson “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”

September 27
CLASS CANCELLED

Week Six
September 30
Jeff Selingo “Fixing College”

October 2
Student Conferences

October 4
Student Conferences

Week Seven
October 7
Revision Pamphlet
Discuss Optional Revisions 1 and 2

October 9
Ray Fisman “Clean Out Your Desks”

October 11
Ray Fisman Continued
Homework Read Richard Rodriguez “The Achievement of Desire”

Week Eight
October 16
Richard Rodriguez “The Achievement of Desire”

October 18
Scott Gerber “How Liberal Arts Colleges Are Failing America”
Homework Read Paulo Freire “The Banking Concept of Education”

Week Nine
October 21
Paulo Freire “The Banking Concept of Education”
Discuss Essay 2

October 23
Examples of Essay 2

October 25
In Class Workshop

Week 10
October 28
In Class Workshop

October 30
2 Page Peer Review

November 1
Watch Adelph Molinari “Let’s Bridge the Digital Divide!”
Discuss Final Project + Abstract

Week 11
November 4
Essay 2 Due
Peer Review

November 6
TBA

November 8
TBA

Week 12
November 11
TBA

November 13
In Class Workshop

November 15
In Class Workshop
Abstract Due

Week 13
November 18
Revision Workshops

November 20
Student Visit + Reading TBA

November 22
In Class Workshop

Week 14
November 25
2 Page Peer Review

Week 15
December 2
Volunteer Student Conferences

December 4
Volunteer Student Conferences

December 6
Presentations at the Wheeler Arts Center

Finals Week
December 9
Essay #3 Plus Optional Revisions Due

In-Class Writing

For this first writing assignment, we would like you to discuss authority in Catherine Rampell’s “Many With New College Degree Find Job Market Humbling.”

At some point in your response, we would like you to focus in on specifics. Which details capture your attention and why? As you describe what you read, consider what gives Rampell “authority.” Authority, on the page, is when readers believe what a writer writers. What makes you believe that Rampell knows what she’s talking about? Is it because she is a reporter? Is it because she uses a lot of facts? Or do you not believe her, and if so, why not?

While you may come to some interesting conclusions by the end of your response, you should not feel obligated to wrap things up neatly or to offer a definitive set of statements. In fact, rather than driving toward a pre-determined conclusion, we want to encourage you to surprise yourself, to discover new interpretive territory. Try writing without knowing quite where you will land. You may even find that as your understanding deepens, a whole new set of questions arises.

You will have the rest of class to complete your response.

Essay #1 (1300 words)
DUE MONDAY SEPTEMBER 23RD IN MY E-MAIL INBOX BY 11AM

“And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski. I’m not the only one.”

–Nicholas Carr
It’s difficult to argue that the proliferation of the internet and broadband technology haven’t affected our lives in a number of ways. Farhad Manjoo discusses the power social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter hold over our lives, while Zoe Kleinman shows us how the internet is rapidly reconfiguring the way we communicate offline and online. While Kelle Santiago and Roger Ebert spur endlessly about whether or not video games are art, Jane Wakefield visits schools around the UK who have already adopted 3D technology in middle school classrooms. And then, of course, there’s Nicholas Carr who has written an entire book aiming to prove that the internet has reshaped the way humans process information.

Technology can affect our educations, it can affect our communications and relationships, and it can even affect our minds. For this assignment, we want you to imagine the future. What effect is technology having on us and what are the pros and cons? In this essay, you will try and predict where technology is leading us as a people and what exactly makes you think that. If you believe text messaging will leave future generations unable to spell correctly, that’s fine, but you must show evidence of that in the here and now using sources. The bolded words above are vague enough for you to use your own interests. Do you think experimental German surgeries will allow athletes to play professionally well into their forties, and what are the pros and cons of that (look it up, Kobe Bryant did it, and now a host of other athletes are too)? Do you think the increased dependence on social media over physical relationships will lead to legions of depressed Americans? Will the ever-improving world of technology lead to a glorious new age like Kellee Santiago predicts, or will it leads us into doom like Nicholas Carr imagines? Maybe it’s something in between.

For this paper, you must use four critical sources. Two must come from either the Manjoo, Kleinman, Santiago, Carr, or Wakefield. Two must be critical sources you find on your own via UIndy’s academic databases. We will touch on this in class.

Essay #2 (1300 words)
DUE MONDAY NOVEMBER 4TH IN MY E-MAIL INBOX BY 11AM

“Education thus becomes an act of depositing, in which the students are the depositories and the teacher is the depositor. Instead of communicating, the teacher issues communiques and makes deposits which the students patiently receive, memorize, and repeat. This is the “banking” concept of education, in which the scope of action allowed to the students extends only as far as receiving, filing, and storing the deposits. They do, it is true, have the opportunity to become collectors or cataloguers of the things they store. But in the last analysis, it is men themselves who are filed away through the lack of creativity, transformation, and knowledge in this (at best) misguided system. For apart from inquiry, apart from the praxis, men cannot be truly human. Knowledge emerges only through invention and reinvention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry men pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other.”

—Paulo Friere in “The ‘Banking’ Concept of Education”

In some form or another, all of you have been affected by education. You all went to grade school, middle school, high school, and now, here you are, in the hallowed halls of higher education at UIndy. And yet, something is off. A class subtly yet perceptibly goes off the rails. You accrue more and more debt. The specter of graduation and finding a job looms large in the future. Is higher education exactly what you imagined?

Over the last few weeks, we’ve discussed various problems with higher education. Things aren’t perfect. There are problems nationally that don’t appear to be especially important to politicians or other people in power. Paulo Friere discusses the “banking” concept of education and how that pedagogy is destroying students’ minds. Richard Rodriguez explores the perils and pratfalls of memorization and how many schools are pumping out students who can remember important dates but can’t think critically. Fisman, Selingo, and Gerber write about the way educators and institutions have failed students, giving them degrees and sending them out into an economy with few opportunities for this young.

For this essay, you will address a single problem within higher education. Be interested in your work. If you are bored with your topic, so will your readers. What links the above writers is that they have all chosen to write about deeply personal matters and use those feelings to write a coherent argument about education. You must critique the educational system. Nearly anything in college is fair game, everything from unfair distribution of scholarships to the job readiness of students to the massive amount of debt students absorb. Locate a problem you’ve experience and write about it. Connect it to other thinkers who’ve thought about similar concerns. Then, come up with a solution.

For this essay, we are requiring that you use four sources. The first will be either Freire or Rodriguez. The second will be either Selingo or Gerber. The final two will be from UIndy’s academic databases. Search out people who agree with your argument. Search out people who disagree with your. Like anything, the debate concerning education is an ongoing conversation. Your paper is not an island, but a mere dialogue in an endless series of conversations.

Essay #3 (3900 words)
DUE MONDAY DECEMBER 9TH IN MY E-MAIL INBOX BY 11AM

The world can be a pretty unjust place. Over the course of this semester we’ve talked about how the internet might melt our brains, the injustice of the American school system, and even the vast digital divide that excludes so many global citizens. We’ve seen videos and read articles of thinkers and average people trying to solve these problems, and yet, solutions are difficult to see. All the writers we’ve read would agree that although equality is a goal we should strive for, it’s an incredibly difficult goal to achieve.

For this essay, you will be asked to transform yourself in a positive force for change. Much like in your educational autobiography earlier this semester, we want you to choose a problem you care about that has to do with equality right here in Indianapolis. Like Adelph Molinari, you must select a real, physical problem—in his case, the lack of internet access in the third world—and try and sketch out a solution. This must be a real life problem with a real, tangible solution. However, you don’t have to be ambitious to the point where you set out to end world poverty. Think locally. What is a problem with equality you have witnessed in your own lives? Have would you solve it? First, explain why this is a problem that must be addressed. Remember how Molinari argues why his cause is so important. Then set forth your explanation, arguing why exactly this is a feasible way forward. Your problem and solution can relate back to education or technology or something completely unrelated.

Additionally, this paper is also meant to serve as a tangible blueprint to solve your problem. You will not only present your paper at the Wheeler Arts Center on First Friday—more about that to come—but you will send your paper to someone who might have the ability to enact said change. For example, you may send your paper to the mayor or a congressperson. You may send your paper to a local neighborhood group or soup kitchen. Be creative. Write about something you care about. In many ways, this is the culmination of everything we’ve discussed this semester. It’s time to take the thinking you’ve done and transform it into something concrete.

You will be required to use four critical sources. They must come from UIndy’s academic databases. Find sources that are related to your problem.

Superheroes or Supergods? Syllabus

This fall, I’m teaching a course entitled Superheroes or Supergods? I’m beyond excited to run the class and designing it was an absolute pleasure. It’s part of UIndy’s First Year Seminar series, in which interested freshmen regardless of major can take a course related to a specific interest area in order to fulfill a core requirement. I hope these kids want to talk about superheroes.

supes

FYS 110 01 Superheroes or Supergods?
MWF 9:00-9:50am
ESCH Hall 254

University of Indianapolis
Assistant Professor Salvatore Pane
E-mail: panes@uindy.edu
Credits: 3.0

 

Course Description

Superheroes or Supergods is a course that will interrogate the link between modern day superhero stories and the global fears that fuel them, not to mention their connection to ancient Icelandic myths and other religious tales. We’ll closely analyze graphic novels, critical essays, films, and myths stretching all the way back to the 11th century and culminating in the present day.

 

Welcome to Superheroes or Supergods

Over the last decade, superheroes have attained a level of mainstream success not seen since their origins in the 1930s. Some believe this is because film technology has finally caught up to the imagination of comic writers. Others believe that in an age of fear—of terrorism, economic meltdown, and even the death of the planet itself—people are subconsciously drawn to stories about god-like beings with the power to save us from ourselves.

In Superheroes or Supergods, we’ll discuss whether superhero comics are unconsciously raiding religious and pop culture iconography, or if, like the Vikings’ Norse gods, superheroes are a conscious reflection of our desire to be delivered out of a trying time by deities. Bolstered by a series of critical texts, we’ll discuss whether these are simple escapist power fantasies, a broader statement on the nature of faith in a post 9/11 world, or something even more complex.

 

Required Texts

Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God From Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human by Grant Morrison

All Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar and Dave Johnson

Kingdom Come by Alex Ross and Mark Waid

 

Course Objectives:

• To develop our skills as critical writers, readers and thinkers, and to understand the interdependence of these three skills

• To improve our writing skills in several genres, including the research essay

• To develop our appreciation for literature and the thoughtful discussion of texts and ideas through multiple theoretical perspectives.

• To discuss the ebb and flow of superhero popularity and why exactly we seem to rely on them in times of intense political turmoil

• To discuss the religious symbolism in superhero stories and whether or not that shared iconography is moving toward something resembling Norse mythology, i.e. is there a major difference between those gods and the pantheon of heroes in the Justice League

 

Our course meets the following UIndy Learning Goals:

• Critical Thinking – by challenging students to analyze texts through literary, religious, and other intellectual and theoretical perspectives. Through short writing assignments and four critical papers, this course requires students to think critically about their relationship to texts and the texts’ relationships to broader social movements and climates.

• Performance – by challenging students to add thoughtful and complex commentary to each class discussion. Through discussion and presentations, students will have to display acute understanding of texts and the various intellectual lenses with which they may be viewed and communicate their findings to others.

 

Turning in Your Writing

It’s important that you turn in your writing on time, as late work cannot become part of class discussion. Likewise, because the Essays and Exercises build upon one another, turning in late work means you miss out on comments that would help you with the upcoming assignment. Since you will regularly revise your work, make sure to keep electronic and paper copies. All papers must be written in Times New Roman 12 with one inch margins. Also, please title your work. Do not generically title your papers, “Essay 2” or “Essay on All Star Superman.” Papers turned in late will receive a full letter grade penalty. Papers turned in over 24 hours late will result in an automatic failure. These penalties will factor into your final grade.

 

Readings and Quizzes

It is your responsibility to read every assigned reading. These readings will come from the required texts or ACE. You must print out the readings we will focus on in any given class session. Everything you will need is explained in the Course Sequence. If you do not bring print outs of the readings, I will mark you absent. Also, there will be occasional pop quizzes to make sure you’re reading the assigned homework. Quizzes will be one or two questions at most and will be impossible to pass if you haven’t read the material and impossible to fail if you have. Read the homework.

 

Grading

You will receive provisional grades on each of the essays you turn in, but you will have a chance to revise those essays throughout the semester. At your mid-term conference you will receive a provisional grade, which is in no way final and is not factored into your final grade. Rather, this mid-term assessment is intended to give you a sense of how your writing is being evaluated and of your progress in the course. You are always welcome to stop by during office hours to talk about your writing or your grade. You are encouraged to keep on reworking essays that you like throughout the semester.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Classroom participation will affect your grade. Lack of engagement or preparation will lower your grade. Regular comments and involvement with moving the ongoing conversation of the class forward will increase your grade.

Midterm and Final 60%
Class Participation and Exercises 30%
Presentation 10%

 

Optional Revision

At the end of the course, you will have an opportunity to revise, cut, and expand your midterm paper for a higher grade. This is completely voluntary, however, and we will discuss this in more detail as the semester progresses.

 

Presentations

During the first week you will sign up for one of five presentation groups, each with its own topic. Your group will be responsible for leading one class over the course of the semester. You will be asked to give an overview/history of your assigned topic. Lead us into territory that you most care about. Feel free to be creative. Use technology, come prepared with a game, discussion questions, or whatever you feel is necessary to best serve the material being presented. We’ll talk about this more as we get further into the semester.

 

Technology

Turn off all cell phones, laptops, tablets, and whatever else is invented before this semester ends BEFORE class begins. If, at any point during class, you look at any of this technology, you will be marked absent. I will not disrupt class. You will just be automatically marked absent. Don’t check your phones if you want to pass this class. Don’t look at the readings on phones and laptops. Print them out.

 

Attendance

If you miss class five times, you will fail. The ONLY excuses I will accept are a doctor’s excuse or some kind of family emergency.

You should always be on time for class. If you are late, you will not get credit for attending an entire class. If you are absent, it’s up to you to contact me to find out what you must make up.

If you are unprepared for discussion or workshop, I cannot give you credit for attendance that day.

 

Note

The syllabus is subject to change. I will only push assignments and readings back however. No assignment will ever be due earlier than it’s listed here.

 

Special Assistance

If you have a disability that may have some impact on your work in this class and for which you may require accommodations, please inform me immediately so that your learning needs may be appropriately met. Students with a disability must register with the Services for Students with Disabilities office (SSD) in Schwitzer Center 206 (317-788-6153 / http://www.uindy.edu/ssd) for disability verification and for determination of reasonable academic accommodations. You are responsible for initiating arrangements for accommodations for tests and other assignments in collaboration with the SSD and the faculty.

 

Plagiarism

Intellectual theft, like any other kind of theft, is a crime, and is especially dangerous on a college campus. Plagiarism is defined as any use of another person’s thoughts or words as your own. I don’t expect to see plagiarism in this class, and if I do each case will be dealt with on an individual basis, but the MINIMUM penalty will be failure for the assignment in question. Failing the entire course is not out of the question. If you are doing research and are unsure how to incorporate someone else’s work into your own in a valid manner, please ask—I’ll be more than happy to help you out so that there’s no danger of confusion.

 

Course Sequence

Week One
August 26
Syllabus and Introductions
Action Comics #1

August 28
All-Star Superman Chapters 1-3

August 30
All-Star Superman Chapters 4-6

 

Week Two
September 4
All-Star Superman Chapters 7-9

September 6
All Star Superman Chapters 10-12

 

Week Three
September 9
Icelandic Myth Lecture

September 11
“The Sun God and the Dark Knight” in Supergods Presentation 1

September 13
“Batman Crucified: Religion and Modern Superhero Comic Books” by Bruce David Forbes
Discuss Midterm + Research

 

Week Four
September 16
“Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? Examination of the American Monomyth and the Comic Book Superhero” by Jeffrey Lang and Patrick Trimble Presentation 2

September 18
Watch Thor

September 20
Watch Thor

 

Week Five
September 23
Watch Thor
Abstract Due

September 25
Superman: Red Son Chapters 1-2

September 27
Superman: Red Son Chapters 3-5

 

Week Six
September 30
In Class Writing

October 2
In Class Writing

October 4
2 Page Draft Workshop

 

Week Seven
October 7
Watch Grant Morrison: Talking with Gods
Midterm Due

October 9
Watch Grant Morrison: Talking with Gods

October 11
“Superman on the Couch” and “Star, Legend, Superhero, Supergod?” in Supergods
Presentation 3

 

Week Eight
October 16
Student Conferences

October 18
Student Conferences

 

Week Nine
October 21
Student Conferences

October 23
Kingdom Come Chapters 1-2

October 25
Kingdom Come Chapters 3-4

 

Week 10
October 28
Watchmen Chapters 1-2

October 30
Watchmen Chapters 3-4

November 1
Watchmen Chapters 5-6

 

Week 11
November 4
Watchmen Chapters 7-9
Discuss Final

November 6
Watchmen Chapters 10-12

November 8
“Fearful Symmetry” in Supergods Presentation 4

 

Week 12
November 11
Watch Avengers

November 13
Watch Avengers

November 15
Abstract Due
Watch Avengers

 

Week 13
November 18
“Nu Marvel 9/11” in Supergods Presentation 5

November 20
In Class Writing

November 22
In Class Writing

 

Week 14
November 25
2 Page Draft Workshop

 

Week 15
December 2
Volunteer Student Conferences

December 4
Volunteer Student Conferences

December 6
Final Due

 

Midterm (2000 words) Due October 7th, 9am

Already this semester, we’ve seen examples of superhero stories that use religious iconography. In All-Star Superman, Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly give us a Superman who dies for our sins and rises from the dead. In Thor, we are introduced to literal gods engaged in a struggle that bleeds over into our world. And yet, we wonder. Is this religious iconography purposeful, or is it a side effect of most superhero stories boiling down into quasi-simplistic good vs. evil tales?

For your midterm, you will choose a side. Do superhero stories raid religious iconography from a wealth of sources indiscriminately with no broader intent? Or, do you agree with this quote from Bruce David Forbes: “The supersaviors in pop culture function as replacements for the Christ figure, whose credibility was eroded by scientific rationalism. But their superhuman abilities reflect a hope of divine, redemptive powers that science has never eradicated from the popular mind (p. xii).” Are superheroes meant to be representations of new gods? Or are they simply good vs. evil stories with no deeper meaning? Pick a side and prove it by analyzing your sources.

To aid your argument, you will use a total of five sources. You must address and organically integrate All-Star Superman, Thor, “Batman Crucified: Religion and Modern Superhero Comic Books”, “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? Examination of the American Monomyth and the Comic Book Superhero”, and one additional ACADEMIC SOURCE you will find on your own—we will discuss how to do this more in class. Remember, do not write your paper and then go back and add quotes from your sources. Your paper should always address your sources in relation to your argument in every single paragraph.

 

Final (3000 words) Due December 6th, 9am

Grant Morrison, along with many others, has made the case that modern superhero stories are merely reflections of American political fears. Watchmen envisions a world where the only way to prevent the Cold War from turning nuclear is a fabricated alien attack. Red Son imagines a Superman who lands in Russia and subsequently tips the scales of the Cold War into Communism’s favor. Kingdom Come focuses on military prisons not unlike Russian gulags or our own Guantanamo Bay. And of course, Avengers culminates with a sci-fi battle that eerily recalls images from 9/11.

But there are doubters, people who believe that superhero stories are merely adventure tales with no connection to politics or global events. For your final, you will choose a side. Are modern superhero yarns designed to reflect American political fears? Or are superhero stories simplistic tales with no deeper meaning? Pick a side and prove it by analyzing your sources.

To aid your argument, you will use a total of six sources. Three must come from Red Son, Kingdom Come, Watchmen, and Avengers. One must be a single assigned chapter of your choosing from Supergods. And two must be academic sources you will find on your own—we will discuss how to do this more in class. Remember, do not write your paper and then go back and add quotes from your sources. Your paper should always address your sources in relation to your argument in every single paragraph.