Week 2 Th 9/8: Discussion email due by 8pm W 9/14

In graduate seminars, it’s conventional to participate in online discussions about assigned readings before a class session. These online discussions do several things: they allow us to show that we’re doing the reading well ahead of the deadline, they capture a sense of the spirit of intense conversation that characterizes advanced work in a discipline, and they offer a glimpse into the kinds of topics we’re all interested in discussing when we do meet in person, including especially questions we all have and productive disagreements that are likely to arise.

Please prepare, therefore, an email to the entire class. Aim to write a substantial paragraph or two (about 500 words). You have two options for this email:

  1. You can be brave and get out in front of the pack and send your email early, starting a conversation.
  2. You can respond to another classmate’s email.

Regardless of which path you choose, your email should arrive in my and your classmates’ inboxes by 8pm the Wednesday before class. This gives all of us a chance to read your emails on Wednesday evening and prepare our responses ahead of Thursday’s discussion.

Your email should be thoughtful and well written (you can start with “Dear all,”); it’s more casual than a formal response paper but not quite so casual as a regular email to your bestie. Your email should demonstrate that you’ve completed and comprehended the reading. Placing at least two of the assigned texts in conversation with one another is almost always a good idea, considering where they might disagree and where they appear to agree, or what both seem to be failing to take into account. You might also have a critical question or problem that you’d like to think through with the help of the assigned texts.

Please do not attach a document to your email. If you’d like to cut and paste into the body of your email, that’s fine. But don’t make us go the extra step of opening an extra thing. And make sure that you “reply all,” so that we all get your email, even if you’re mostly responding to one other person’s points. And if you’re writing later in the week, it’s a good idea for your work to show that you’ve read the other emails that have come in. Avoid reinventing wheels.

Week 3 Th 9/15: Finding sources / Bibliography due in hard copy at the beginning of class.

All of the sources for this week are available through our library’s databases or electronic journal subscriptions. Based on just the info I’ve provided you in the course schedule, find these articles, read them, and create MLA style bibliographic entries for each of them.

Then, based on the bibliographies of the articles assigned for this session, create 6 additional MLA style bibliographic entries that represent the 6 most important secondary sources for recent critical work on Frankenstein. Hint: if more than one article cites a source, it’s probably a pretty important source. (Total number of bibliographic entries due: 9.)

Week 4 Th 9/22: No weekly assignment for this week, but you should be working on next week’s assignments, which are substantial.

Week 5 Th 9/29: Scavenger hunt & document with sources discovered due in hard copy at beginning of class session

Using WSU Library’s website, read the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (the DNB) entry for Mary Shelley in addition to the assigned readings.* The DNB is a standard resource, which means that most libraries subscribe to it, and researchers who work on things British and Anglophone in a variety of disciplines use is as the starting point for finding out reliable, basic biographical information as well as the standard critical resources that are considered starting points for a research project that involve historical individuals.

At the end of every DNB entry is a bibliography. Using this bibliography as your starting point, you’ll need to identify some of the standard sources scholars use when they’re doing research on Mary Shelley and her work. You should create a bibliography, arranged in MLA style that includes the following information:

  1. A standard book-length biography of Mary Shelley
  2. A published collection of Mary Shelley’s letters, journals, or other manuscripts not published in her lifetime
  3. An edition of Shelley’s collected works
  4. Another work or novel by Mary Shelley, cited using MLA style based on/referring to the first edition (rather than an edited, later edition).

For 2 and 3, you’ll need to know information such as who the editor(s) is/are; what press publishes them, and sometimes – the number of volumes involved. For each number, you should also run a search in our library catalogue to see if we have the book(s) in our stacks. If we do, include the call number at the end of your bibliographical entry. If we do not, simply include OhioLINK/ILL at the end as a way of reminding yourself that if you want this source, you’ll have to order it. You may have to make use of not only our own library catalogue, but Google and worldcat.org.

Based on your searching in the WSU Library catalogue for these works, you’ll encounter LC Subject headings in each catalogue entry (denoted as simply Subject). When you click on one of these, you’ll be taken into the Library’s listing of subject headings affiliated with Shelley.

At the end of your bibliography, then, identify five specific LC Subject Headings that are specifically about Mary Shelley or Frankenstein.

*Please note: our license for the DNB only allows one user to access the database at a time. Plan accordingly. You can save the DNB entry as a PDF and use it any time; this frees up the database for access for another user.

Week 6 Th 10/6: Notes for class discussion due in hard copy at beginning of class session

Based on your reading of sample seminar papers, please prepare notes and remarks that address: 1) what you think are the crucial elements of a seminar paper, 2) what makes for a successful seminar paper, and 3) where seminar papers can go wrong.

Week 7 Th 10/13: No weekly assignment this week

Week 8 Th 10/20: 3 questions about graduate study due in hard copy at the beginning of class session

In addition to reading Semenza, look around the internet for blog posts and articles (especially in venues like the Chronicle of Higher Education) for information about the ins and outs of graduate study. You should also search for the job wiki and peruse conversations there as well as job listings to get a sense of how the wider profession works. Based on this work, prepare 3 questions you have about graduate study that you would like to discuss in class. Plan to attend at least one Encountering Shakespeare presentation to get a feel for what a conference presentation is like.

Week 9 Th 10/27: Notes for class discussion due in hard copy at the beginning of class session

Read the abstracts provided by our visiting faculty and do some basic fact-finding about the faculty who wrote them. Find out their area of specialization and the research interests their professional activities reveal. Read about academic conferences and how to write proposals. Based on all this work, prepare 3 questions to ask during our session with other faculty members – these questions should be relatively balanced between the ins and outs of conference proposals and conferences, the profession, and faculty’s research interests/activities.

Week 10 Th 11/3: Send an email to the entire class that includes the bibliographic entry for the book you plan to review by W 11/2 8pm. This will help us avoid duplications. (If necessary, you should also request your book through OhioLINK or ILL this week.)

Week 11 Th 11/10: Discussion email due by W 11/8 8pm

Based on the work you’ve done so far for your book review and based on the suggested “looking around” in various journals (listed on the course schedule page), return to the email discussion format we used at the beginning of the semester and use that email discussion format to identify what you think are clear “trends” in scholarship on Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, and/or eighteenth-century/Romantic British literature, history, and/or culture. Consider assessing the benefits and limitations of this trend, paying particular attention to what it emphasizes or what it neglects to consider and thinking about how it indicates broader shifts in the discipline of literary studies. The purpose of this assignment is to get you to move beyond just summarizing the book you plan to review –  to think about how that book sits in a larger field and body of work.

Week 12 Th 11/17: No weekly assignment this week

Week 13 Th/24: No weekly assignment this week

Week 14 12/1: Notes for class discussion due in hard copy at beginning of class session

Based on the assigned reading, prepare 3 questions you’d like to discuss in our class session on CVs, websites, and social media.

Week 15 Th 12/8: Materials for workshop

Please come prepared with a print copy of your CV and ready to launch the url for your personal website.