Specific instructions for our various assignments will be uploaded here as they become available.  Below are the general instructions from the syllabus.

Essay 1 Prompts: ESSAY1PROMPTS

Special Collections Assignment: Special Collections Assignment 2015

Five blog posts. (c. 250 words). These are informal but intellectually substantial engagements with our reading for the day. They can take one of two forms: Summaries will use strategic citation and paraphrase to convey an overview of a given text’s argument as you understand it. This is an exercise in recapitulating what you’ve read. Provocations will work more critically. Here you might, for example, take a passage and perform a close reading of it, unlocking some particular complexity in the prose; you might compare one work with another; or you might pose questions about some knotty element in the reading – a contradiction, a dilemma– while taking time to thicken it with thoughtful reflections from other areas of the course. The key, for these, is to workshop an idea, test an argument. Protocols and schedules to be determined.

One critical essay. (3-5 pages, normal-looking font.) This is a short, sharp critical engagement with one or more texts covered in class: an academic paper in the standard form, denuded of excess verbiage, bold of argument, and shined, prosewise, to a glistening polish. It can make use of your own earlier blog posts. Prompts will be provided, but you are encouraged to break from them to compose your own questions and topics.

Special Collections Digital Curation Assignment. The guidelines for this assignment in historical reading and remediation are forthcoming, but in short you will use contemporary digital media technologies – video capture, Imovie, etc.—to curate an analog object from Georgetown’s special collections department: an old letter whose significance you will illuminate for us, an annotation in the margin of a 19th century novel, or an advertisement in the front matter of a Dickens novel. You will then explain the interest and importance of this historical discovery using new media technologies. This is an experimental assignment whose outcome is not given in advance: part of your task is to think about what the possibilities might be. I will hand out a detailed guide and grading rubric as the assignment approaches.

Video game reading assignment. (2 pages, single spaced.) As a follow-up to the Digital Curation Assignment, you will here use “old” methods of literary analysis to produce a close reading of a recent video game. Guidelines for this will be circulated as we proceed: the gist is that you’ll be asked to engage both critically and intimately with what may be the most influential media form of the contemporary moment.

Take-home mid-term and final exams. Open book, open notes, no Googling. The mid-term is just that: a temperature-taking of your work so far, assessing your capacity to engage imaginatively and substantively with the material to this point. The final is a cumulative, end-of-term assessment designed to allow you to make creative analytic connections from across the semester. These are less formal than the essay, more structured than the blog posts. Here as always, ideas matter most. You have 48 hours to complete them, choosing from among a set of essay questions.

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