1. Oral presentations:
These are weekly short (10-15 minute) discussions of a current theoretical approach to Shakespeare. Each week you will work with one other student to discuss the current approach.
I have provided some readings, and you can find additional articles (optional, not required). The readings may be bibliographical essays showing approaches to the topic, or they may be examples of an approach applied to a specific play or plays.
Your goal: Help your classmates to understand this approach, the play you read this week, and how one might apply it to the play you read for that week. (In most cases, half the class won't have read your play, so the more specific you can be about the play, the better).
What should you do? Read the play and the article you're assigned (with a partner) each week. Try to explain the approach and how it works using examples and ordinary language. The best presentations will involve the the audience (lead them in an analysis of a passage, give a handout with a chart, explain an approach and then apply it, etc.)
How will I grade you? I'm looking for presentations that are clear and engaging, that help your classmates understand the play and the approach, and are not bogged down with too much jargon.
2. Imagery/Rhetoric Sheets. You should do a short imagery/rhetoric sheet (IRS?) for each play; it's due online by class time. The goal of these is to make sure you read the plays closely and gain facility with the language. (Note: you don't have to do the allusion section after week one).
3. Conference abstract/ paper:
We will attempt to write papers for the Graduate Research Conference. We need to submit an abstract online (by February 5 at midnight). Whether or not the proposal is accepted, we will then write a conference-length paper (8-9 pages plus notes) by March 21. (If it is accepted, you will present it at the conference on March 21.) Here's their show on writing and presenting a paper: http://fpamediaserver.wcu.edu/~webservices/gradschool/AbstractWritingAndPresenting.flv.
Your goal: Apply a theoretical approach to a play in an original, useful way. You can use one of the approaches we cover in Essential Shakespeare, one of the approaches we learn from student presentations, or another approach if you prefer. Note that, because close reading has long been out of fashion but has recently attracted renewed attention, you should be prepared to explain briefly why your approach is useful and new if you pick a "close reading" approach.
Note that your paper should concentrate on your analysis of textual passages; you should use quotations from critics and scholars sparingly in the body of your paper (you can put them in footnotes).
4. Final exam. Instead of the traditional exam, you can write any of the following:
- Bibliographical essay about a issue relevant to Shakespeare's plays (for example boy actors, apprenticeship, animals, diet, fashion, a political event or issue -- war in Ireland, union of England and Scotland, obcenity act of 1607 -- props, proverb lore, suicide, performance, pollution and ecology, etc.)
- A second conference-length paper on another play
- A reworking of the first conference paper into a full-length (16-20 page) research paper