ENGL 4365: 001

Tim Morris

Children's Literature Fall 2000

10:00-10:50 AM Mon / Wed / Fri 206 Preston Hall

office hours: by appointment only

office phone: metro 817-272-2692

office mailbox 203 Carlisle Hall

mailing address Box 19035, UTA 76019

to the schedule of readings and assignments

course prerequisites: 1301, 1302, and six hours of 2000-level English

required textbooks: Beverly Cleary, Ramona the Pest; Bruce Brooks, What Hearts; Karen Hesse, The Music of Dolphins. These texts are widely available at any bookstore, and especially in public libraries; there's no need to buy them. You will also be required to read, and to write on, Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden, a book that's so common there's no point in ordering it as part of the required book list. You must also write on the 1960 TV production of Peter Pan starring Mary Martin, which is widely available at video stores and libraries for rental or borrowing. In addition, you will be responsible for five (5) papers on texts of your own choice: a picture book, a chapter book, a Newbery Medal winner, a children's film, and an intermediate or YA series novel. (By "series novel" I mean one of a deliberately packaged mass-market series. So, Harry Potter or The Chronicles of Narnia are not "series novels" in this sense; Animorphs and American Girls are.) Again, you will be able to find texts for these assignments at a public library.

syllabus: This syllabus may be updated as the semester goes on. I will hand out updated versions that indicate readings and discussion plans. However, every writing assignment and every component of your grade is here at the beginning. Please refer to the date and time of printing (at the bottom of each page) to see when the version you are holding was printed. For continuous updates look on line at http://www.uta.edu/english/tim/courses/4365f00/

course description: This course offers a cultural-critical approach to children's literature.

course objectives: Students who successfully complete this course will have read some classics of children's literature, will have a basic understanding of the canon of 20th-century American children's literature, and will have some introductory understanding of the theoretical problems of studying children's literature and culture.

attendance is mandatory; roll will be taken. You may miss six (6) classes for "free." Each missed class over the limit costs you one grade point (see below).

drop policy: UTA instructors may not drop students for any reason. You may drop with a W until the first drop deadline (Friday 6 October). After that date, you may drop with a W only if you have a passing average on all assignments due on or before your drop date; otherwise, you will have to drop with an F. You may not drop at all after Friday 17 November.

assignments: Ten three-page papers. Papers must be typed, must use MLA style, and must cite all sources used in their preparation. Late papers will not be accepted. They will earn zero points. There will also be an essay final exam.

grading: Grading is on a point system. Acceptable papers that make coherent critical arguments about the assigned text will earn one point. Don't merely summarize the text. Papers that are handwritten, late, irrelevant to the topic, fail to cite sources, fail to use MLA style, or are written in prose that falls below an acceptable college English standard will earn no points. If you earn 9 or 10 short-paper points, you'll go into the final with a C; 8 will mean a D; 7 a (provisional) E and 6 an F. (If you earn only 5 or fewer short-paper points, you cannot pass the course.)

If you make a B on the final, your course grade will be one letter higher than your short-paper grade. If you make an A on the final, your course grade will be two letters higher than your short-paper grade. C or below on the final means that your short-paper grade will be your course grade. The final cannot lower your grade below your short-paper grade.

I think that a B is a good grade for an undergraduate course, and that a C grade is quite acceptable. 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 "reasonable accommodation" 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.

library: Noel Anderson is the Librarian for the English Department. He can be reached at 817 272 3000, ext. 4984, and by email at anderson@library.uta.edu You will find online databases for English among the Arts & Humanities databases at http://www.uta.edu/library/mavinfo/arts.html

schedule of assignments and readings

Mon 28 Aug: syllabus, procedures

Wed 30 Aug: introductions

Fri 1 Sept: no class meeting

Mon 4 Sept: Labor Day Holiday

Wed 6 Sept: lecture: children's literature and cultural-critical approaches

Fri 8 Sept: each Friday from 8 Sept till 20 Oct inclusive will be a "film Friday." We'll screen excerpts from children's films--or from films for adults that portray children--and discuss ideas, techniques, and "cultural work" in these films.

Mon 11 Sept: paper #1 due: Cleary, Ramona the Pest. Lecture: animal stories for children

Wed 13 Sept: discussion of paper #1

Mon 18 Sept: paper #2 due: Hesse, The Music of Dolphins. Lecture: sport stories for children

Wed 20 Sept: discussion of paper #2

Mon 25 Sept: paper #3 due: Brooks, What Hearts. Lecture: Frances Hodgson Burnett

Wed 27 Sept: discussion of paper #3

Mon 2 Oct: paper #4 due: Burnett, The Secret Garden. Lecture: J.M. Barrie

Wed 4 Oct: discussion of paper #4

Mon 9 Oct, Wed 11 Oct: screening, Peter Pan

Mon 16 Oct: paper #5 due: Peter Pan. This paper need not discuss just the 1960 Mary Martin Peter Pan, though that one will be our central text. There is no definitive version of Peter Pan, and your paper #5 should be about any version(s) or variation(s) you find of interest. Lecture: picture books.

Wed 18 Oct: discussion of paper #5.

Mon 23 Oct: paper #6 due: picture books. For #6, choose any picture book and write a critical essay on it--of the same type that you've written for the longer prose texts in papers 1 through 5. Be sure to include an MLA citation of the book you discuss, as well as all other books you cite in the paper. Lecture: chapter books.

Wed 23, Fri 27 Oct: picture-book seminar

Mon 30 Oct: paper #7 due: chapter books. For #7, choose any chapter book and write a critical essay on it--of the same type that you've written for the texts in papers 1 through 6. Be sure to include an MLA citation of the book you discuss, as well as all other books you cite in the paper. A "chapter book" is a prose story (obviously, divided into chapters), usually illustrated (but not telling its main story through the pictures, as a picture book does), and aimed at a readership in the lower elementary grades (1st-3rd). Lecture: series novels.

Wed 1 Nov, Fri 3 Nov: chapter-book seminar

Mon 6 Nov: paper #8 due: series novels. For #8, choose any series novel and write a critical essay on it--of the same type that you've written for the texts in papers 1 through 7. Be sure to include an MLA citation of the book you discuss, as well as all other books you cite in the paper. For our purposes, the novel for #8 should come from a popular series, intermediate through Young Adult. Try to find a series that is heavily "packaged" by the publisher, that has merchandising or TV/movie tie-ins, that comes out in paperback monthly or bimonthly. "Highbrow" series novels like the Narnia, Little House, or Harry Potter sequences are not appropriate. No lecture.

Wed 8 Nov, Fri 10 Nov: series book seminar

Mon 13 Nov: paper #9 due: Newbery Medalist. For #9, each student will choose a different Newbery Medal winner. The list of Newbery Medalists is on-line at http://www.ala.org/alsc/nquick.html. We'll coordinate the project so that each student has a different book to report on. Write a critical essay on the book--of the same type that you've written for the texts in papers 1 through 8. Be sure to include an MLA citation of the book you discuss, as well as all other books you cite in the paper. Newbery medalists tend to be substantial and complicated texts, so for this paper alone, a few paragraphs of plot summary will be useful for the rest of the class. No lecture.

Wed 15 Nov, Fri 17 Nov, Mon 20 Nov: Newbery seminar

Wed 22 Nov, Fri 24 Nov: no class meeting

Mon 27 Nov: paper #10 due: films. For #10, choose any children's film (except versions of Peter Pan or The Secret Garden) and write a critical essay on it--of the same type that you've written for the texts in papers 1 through 9. Be sure to include an MLA citation of the film you discuss, as well as all other books and films you cite in the paper. No lecture.

Wed 29 Nov, Fri 1 Dec: film seminar, course evaluations

Mon. December 11, 8-10:30: Final Exam, in regular classroom. This will be an essay final. The question will ask you to consider, synthetically, the nature of children's literature as a medium for ideas and cultural attitudes. You will need to refer specifically to texts we've covered in the course of the semester.

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