Class Calendar (1133)


Tuesday, January 22, 2013
  • Introductions, syllabus review, activity: reading the room

Writing Instruction

Thursday, January 24, 2013
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
  • Meet at 30 Jones Hall, 11:15 am – 12:30 pm; computer lab, work on blogs
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
  • Discuss Distillation Assignment #1, Distillation Assignment #2 (in-class)
  • Quiz on Roland Barthes, “Death of the Author.”
  • Discuss MLA Style
Thursday, February 14, 2013
  • University of Minnesota Libraries fieldtrip; meet Jason Paul at in room S30C (sub-basement), Wilson Library, 11:15 am
  • Homework: Read chapters 1 & 2 of Saussure_Course in General Linguistics_Part 1 (pages 65-78) for Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Structure: Semiotics, Ideology, Hegemony, and Discourse

Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
  • Discuss Hebdige/Ideology/Hegemony/Representation
  • Homework: Read “Economics” for Thursday, February 28, 2013
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Thursday, March 7, 2013
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
  • Introduction to Genesis
  • Homework: read Genesis 6-9 with a critical eye to the Documentary Hypothesis (Use the chart in Collins, page 30 for help)
Thursday, March 14, 2013
  • Quiz on Genesis
  • Genesis, continued
  • Homework: post a 500-word essay to your blog addressing the following prompt:

“The Documentary Hypothesis proposes that the Hebrew Bible was written by multiple sources, each with their own political, ideological, and aesthetic positions (e.g. the “P” source  is associated with “the latest stage of Israelite religion, the stage of priestly religion” [Friedman]; the “D” source is associated with Josiah’s religious reforms in 621 B.C.E. [Collins]).

1. Analyze either Genesis 1:1-3:24 or Genesis 6-9 according to the Documentary Hypothesis.

2. Describe at least three characteristics of each source (“P” and “J”). How can we tell the differences? Address character traits, personalities, specific numbers, or narrative order, etc. Be specific in your descriptions and draw clear distinctions between the sources.

3. Include a paragraph on the social, religious, or cultural implications of the Documentary Hypothesis on your life, the life of your community, or the world-at-large.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013
  • Flarf poetry
  • Discussion: Flarf poetry and the Documentary Hypothesis
  • Homework: find, print and bring a news article about a current, hotbed cultural issue to class for discussion
Thursday, March 28, 2013
  • Class discussion: News Media Unit
  • Homework: find, print, annotate, and be prepared to hand in one article on each of the following subjects (2 articles total): 1) The Stuebenville Rape Case and 2) Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, Lean In.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
  • Class discussion: the Stuebenville Rape Case and Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, Lean In.
  • Homework: post a 500-word essay (due Tuesday, April 9, 2013) to your blog addressing the following prompt:

In-class analysis of the Stuebenville Rape Case identified that there is, in fact, a rape culture in America. We talked about the differences in how men and women are raised; that our public education programs do not directly teach us not to rape, how to define rape (as any unwanted sexual advance–not just violent intercourse), or what to do if we witness rape; and blaming the victim is a common practice in discussion about rape

Time for action. Write a 500-word essay to your blog post addressing how you would change rape culture in America. Address education, conditioning, distraction, double standards, regulation, career stereotypes, raising children, communication, self defense, etc.

Thursday, April 4, 2013
  • Watch Zeitgeist: The Movie
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
  • Finish watching Zeitgeist: The Movie
  • Homework: find, print, annotate/highlight, and be prepared to hand in one fact-checking article dealing with something reported in the film Zeiteist: The Movie.

The name of this course is Reading Culture: Theory and Practice. I am asking you to use the tools from our toolbox (Semiotics, representation, ideology, hegemony and Aristotle’s On Rhetoric) to begin to use your agency to think critically about the information you receive everyday. Whether or not you agree with the premise of the film, the information presented within it, or methods used to present that information, find something (using the internet) that supports or refutes at least one element of the film that stood out to you.

Be prepared to discuss your findings in class and to turn in your annotated/highlighted article.

Note: Zeitgeist: The Movie is available on Netflix and here.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Class cancelled

Tuesday, April 16, 2013
  • Discuss conspiracy theories
  • Homework: find, print, read and annotate/highlight an article on the topic of sexuality and gender. Be prepared to discuss your findings in class and to turn in your annotated/highlighted article.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
  • Discuss sexuality and gender
  • Homework: post a 500-word essay to your blog (due Tuesday, April 23 before class) addressing the following prompt:
“Live and Let Live”

In class we discussed the problem of who gets to make decisions for other people along with the need to come to terms with an understanding of human rights. Not surprisingly, the two often clash when culture is introduced to the equation. On the issue of gay marriage, for example, one way of thinking creates restrictions to individual expression, but change to those restrictions necessarily infringes on closely held beliefs. If our goal is to reach a state of utopia where people are free to make their own decisions, how do we come to terms with this opposition?

Post a 500-word essay to your blog addressing an issue of your choice related to the topic of sexuality and gender (e.g. gay marriage, transgender rights, etc.). Use the article you brought to class today or choose a new issue to address/one that we did not discuss in class. In the first part of your essay, investigate the religious, political, or social/cultural, etc., influences that inform the position represented by your article. See if you can determine who is making the decisions in the first place. If not, why not? Remember your Circuit of Culture handout, here.

In the second part of your essay, begin to work out a solution to how (at least) two opposing viewpoints can be reconciled. Think big. Think outside the box. Get creative here. You’ll have to understand who is making the decisions on both sides of the argument, what the motivations are for those decisions, and you must propose a solution that does not infringe on the rights of either side’s decision-making process.

Also, keep it realistic and respectful. Blatantly violent, disrespectful, or unrealistic solutions will not be accepted for credit. Remember what you all said together in our first in-class discussion: that you just want people to be a little more conscious and a little nicer to each other.

Good luck. Be creative. Remember that this writing assignment is pass/fail, so don’t stress yourself out trying to find an answer. This is a tough one. Have fun with it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2013
  • Discuss “Live and Let Live” writing assignment
  • Kierkegaard
  • Homework: begin reading Aimé Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism for Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Thursday, April 27, 2013
  • The Debate!
  • Homework: finish reading Aimé Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism for Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
  • Discuss Aimé Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism
Thursday, May 2, 2013
  • Discuss Aimé Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism
  • Begin watching Crips and Bloods: Made in America
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
  • Finish watching Crips and Bloods: Made in America
Thursday, May 9, 2013
  • Exam

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