Class Meeting Times: Th 5:00-7:40 (497 Millett)
Instructor: Dr. Crystal B. Lake (
Office Hours: make an appointment (available T/Th 1:00-3:00 in 447 Millett Hall)
Twitter: @theinspirelab
Instagram: the.inspire.lab

Course Description: This course is an examination of the aims and approaches of scholarly study of literature and the tools and methods of literary research. Emphasizing the problems of collecting, evaluating, and reporting the findings of scholarly study, this course offers you an opportunity to read Frankenstein in depth and to develop a variety of projects that reflect current trends and conventions of advanced research and professional writing.

The goals of this class are:

  • to introduce you to the key terms and methods of advanced literary study
  • to help you identify and explain important recent critical developments in Literary Studies
  • to encourage you to critically consider questions about research, writing, and professionalism in graduate school
  • to provide you with practical skills for conducting research, writing scholarly prose, and developing your professional identity

Required Texts (please purchase the specific editions listed):

Course Requirements: 

  • Participation & weekly assignments: 20%
  • Critical Essay (2,500-3,000 words; not including works cited): grade deferred to revision (see below)
  • Critical Essay revised into conference paper, with abstract (2,750-3,250 words; not including works cited): 40%
  • Book Review (1,250-1500 words): 15%
  • Funding Proposal (1,250-1,500 words; not including works cited): 15%
  • Personal website/CV/optional social media presence: 10%

Course Policies:

Attendance: Because this is a graduate seminar, it is crucial that you attend every class session. You may miss one class session without penalty; after the first absence, however, your grade will be lowered according to the percentage of the class you have completed by attending. For example, if you miss three total classes (out of our 13 scheduled class sessions), you have attended 77% of the class, and you can expect to see 23% deduction from your final grade that takes into account the number of classes you have missed. Therefore, if you earn a grade of 92% (A), your final grade will be lowered to 70.8% (C). Your participation/weekly assignments grade will also suffer; weekly assignments cannot be submitted after their due date. If you have an emergency that will keep you from attending class, please let me know as soon as possible. I can’t promise that I will accommodate you, but I may be able to help you get in touch with Student Services; they’ll help you to complete this and the other courses that will have been affected by your emergency. Please note, however, I will do this only in the most dire of circumstances (a death in your immediate family, a major illness requiring hospitalization, etc).

Class Ethos: This course emulates professional climates in order to prepare you for work outside of the college classroom. Please approach your relationship with your professor, your peers, and your readings and assignments as if you were in a professional setting. You might imagine, for example, that class sessions are like business meetings where we meet to establish facts and best practices, brainstorm ideas, conduct critical conversations, learn to navigate rules and procedures, and strategize about fulfilling project goals. You should come to class sessions prepared, then, to offer productive comments on assigned readings, respond to your professor and peer’s ideas with thoughtfulness and respect, and ask questions that are meaningful. You should avoid inviting speculation about your work ethic that will inevitably arise if you seem distracted by electronic devices like cell phones and laptops, if you seem unprepared, if your personal life consistently interferes with your work, if you cannot stay on task during small-ground activities, and if you are unable to meet deadlines. Likewise, you should undertake work for the course – ranging from assigned readings to in-class activities to written assignments – as if you were conducting that work in a professional environment where your performance will be evaluated and decisions about promotions and projects will be based on the competencies and professionalism you demonstrate.

Email: I try to respond to emails in a timely manner, but it may take me up to 48 hours to respond to your email, and you should plan accordingly. Before you email me, however, please take a moment to see if your question(s) might be answered by reviewing the syllabus and other course materials, or by doing a Google search for your question. I do not accept assignments via email. Additionally, I ask that you please do not email me regarding your attendance – except in the case of an emergency that will require me to help you get in touch with Student Services. In other words, you do not need to alert me to any and every absence, and you should contact a classmate to find out what you may have missed. Sometimes, emails from students do end up in my spam folder. If you required a response and did not receive one in 48 hours, be sure to ask if I’ve received your email in class so that we can make sure the lines of communication between us are open. It is a good idea to conduct your email correspondence with me and your other instructors in a professional manner; use a conventional, formal letter address (Dear Dr. or Professor….) and make sure that you include your full name so that I know who you are. Finally, you are responsible for keeping track of your attendance and your grades in the course; I do not tally or calculate these until the end of the semester.

Turning in Work: Work is due at the time and day as stated on the syllabus. Technological difficulties such as a broken printer, a failed hard drive, or a disrupted internet connection are not acceptable excuses for late work. Likewise, I cannot make exceptions to my late work policy if you’ve forgotten crucial class materials. I recommend that you complete your work before the deadline so that a catastrophic loss of data or an untimely illness does not result in a total loss. I also recommend that you download and install Dropbox ( as a way to protect your work for the course. Late work will receive a grade of 0 in order to mirror professional climates: missing a deadline for a job application, project report, or appointment will mean that you cannot take advantage of those opportunities and that you have compromised your professional reputation. I only make exceptions to this policy for documented emergencies (a death in your immediate family, a serious illness requiring hospitalization). Unless otherwise specified, I do not accept work via email. All work must be printed, stapled, and handed in in hard copy.

Academic Integrity: Here is WSU’s academic integrity policy. Assignments submitted by students that violate this policy will automatically be reported and assigned a grade of 0.

Students with Disabilities: If you anticipate needing accommodation for a disability in this course, please register with the Office of Disability Services and plan to meet with me during the first week of classes to talk about how we can work together to ensure your success in the course.