M A I N * L I N K S


SUNY Fredonia
College of Arts and Sciences
ENGL 216: Science Fiction
Spring 2012
Section 1: TTh 12:30-1:50, Fenton 179
Office: Fenton 265; M 10-11, TTh 11-12:30, 2-3:30, W 10-12, and by appointment; 673-3856
E-mail: simon@fredonia.edu, brucesimon18@yahoo.com
Web Page: www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/
ANGEL Space: https://fredonia.sln.suny.edu/default.asp


Critical Essays, Spring 2012

This page takes on two important questions about the critical essays you will write this semester in this course: what and what for; it also includes specific assignment sheets for each unit. My goal is to make this page as useful to you as possible, so let me know if it can be improved. If anything is badly worded, unclear, or missing, please contact me with constructive criticisms and suggestions. Ditto for any questions you may have about any of the options listed below or on the assignment sheets. Thanks.

What

Your critical essays are to be thesis-driven, analytical, and persuasive four-to-six-page papers. They should not be simply personal responses to what you have read, or simply statements of your opinions or assertions of your views, but should instead be organized to convince your readers to accept arguments you have developed in response to specific questions. In short, for each critical essay you turn in, you are being asked to generate an original, creative argument that supports your own perspective on the text or texts you've chosen to write on and is persuasive to your intended audience(s).

What For

Over the course of the semester you'll be doing a good deal of informal writing--ranging from the free writing on specific topics in class to your online participation on our ANGEL discussion forum and perhaps even to posting on our course blog. You'll be getting good practice at noticing things about texts and asking questions of them; we'll be focusing a lot in class on making connections between texts and identifying tensions within and between them, interpreting significant passages and patterns, and considering various answers to questions that you all have posed as well as I. What this assignment gives you the chance to do is develop a sustained argument on a specific topic at least twice. Each critical essay allows you to focus in on a particular topic or question that most interests you (this involves reviewing your notes and memories of the readings, as well as discussion forum contributions), to delve more deeply into specific readings (this involves choosing the readings that best allow you to address the topic or question you have chosen and focusing on those parts that seem most relevant to the topic), and to develop and support a sustained argument about the relation between the readings and the topic or question (this involves both critically analyzing the texts you have chosen to focus on and crafting a valid, persuasive argument). Doing these things will not only improve your skills in active, critical reading and analytical, persuasive writing, but it will also prepare you for the research-based final project.

The other major purpose of the critical essay is for me to indicate clearly what I see as the major questions or issues raised by each of the units in the course. These should provide you with something of a framework for understanding and reviewing each unit as a whole. Hence, it is highly recommended that you consider carefully each of the options given before settling on one on which to focus your critical essay. It's easy to miss the forest for the trees, especially when there were so many different "trees" we were analyzing each day, so seeing the range of questions I think are most important to consider when looking back on each unit can give you a new, better perspective on what we've read, as well as lay out possible directions for the final research project.

Assignment Sheets

As you know, even though you are required to write two critical essays over the course of the semester, you have the chance to write as many as you want and have your lowest grade(s) dropped.

Critical Essay I: The Bad Old Century

Due: late night Monday, 27 February 2012 (or early morning the next day), in the CE dropbox in the Lessons area of the course ANGEL space.

Format: 4-6 pages, double spaced, with reasonable fonts, font sizes, and margins (be warned that barely getting on to the fourth sheet of paper does not a four-page paper make!); title that indicates main argument of paper; heading that includes your name, the course name or number, and the date; format, bibliography, and citations in MLA style (the basic template is Author. "Title of Poem, or Essay, or Story." Title of Book from which It Comes. Editor of Book (if any), ed. Place of Publication: Publisher, Date of Publication. Page Numbers.); proper quotation format in body of paper: "..." (Orwell 18). for quotations within a paragraph; blockquote format for quotations five lines or longer.

Criteria for Evaluation: Your grade for this critical essay will be determined by the coherence and validity of your paper's arguments, the effectiveness of their structures in conveying your ideas and convincing your audience, and the quality of their prose (including grammar, syntax, and punctuation).

Audience: In general, think of your immediate audience as those who have taken and are taking this class; hence, you can assume that your readers have read the texts you're writing on and you don't have to include the kind of background that someone not taking this course would need.

Draft Policy: I would be happy to offer brief comments on your drafts, so long as you get me them over email by 24 February or meet with me earlier that week.

Rewrite Policy: I will accept revisions of one of your critical essays and replace the old grade with the new one earned; it is up to you whether you wish to do this for this critical essay.

Options: Here are your options for the first critical essay:

Critical Essay II: The Bad New Century

Due: late night Friday, 23 March 2012 (or early morning Saturday), in the CE dropbox in the Lessons area of the course ANGEL space.

Format, Criteria for Evaluation, Audience: Same as for Critical Essay I.

Draft Policy: I would be happy to offer brief comments on your drafts, so long as you get me them over email by 20 March or meet with me by the 21st.

Rewrite Policy: I will accept revisions of one of your critical essays and replace the old grade with the new one earned; it is up to you whether you wish to do this for this critical essay.

Options: Here are your options for the second critical essay:

Critical Essay III: The Corporate Century?

Due: late night Friday, 20 April 2012 (or early morning Saturday), in the CE dropbox in the Lessons area of the course ANGEL space.

Format, Criteria for Evaluation, Audience: Same as for Critical Essays I and II.

Draft Policy: I would be happy to offer brief comments on your drafts, so long as you get me them over email by 16 April or meet with me by the 18th.

Rewrite Policy: I will accept revisions of one of your critical essays and replace the old grade with the new one earned; it is up to you whether you wish to do this for this critical essay.

Options: Here are your options for the third critical essay:

Critical Essay IV: The Asian Century?

Due: late night Friday, 4 May 2012 (or early morning Saturday), in the CE dropbox in the Lessons area of the course ANGEL space.

Format, Criteria for Evaluation, Audience: Same as for Critical Essays I, II, and III.

Draft Policy: I would be happy to offer brief comments on your drafts, so long as you get me them over email by 2 May or meet with me by the 4th.

Rewrite Policy: I will accept revisions of one of your critical essays and replace the old grade with the new one earned; it is up to you whether you wish to do this for this critical essay.

Options: Here are your options for the fourth critical essay:




M A I N * L I N K S



ENGL 216: Science Fiction, Spring 2012
Created: 2/15/12 2:45 pm
Last modified: 4/24/12 10:56 am
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