Regular attendanceis expected and frequent absences (2 or more) will affect your final grade. In addition to attendance, a final project will be a major part of your grade (deadline to be announced). There will be no exams; however, in lieu of exams you will be expected to do brief writing assignments for most outside reading. Selection of the final project should be made no later than April 3 (a one page precis of proposal will be due no later than that date, which is a Wednesday; earlier submissions are encouraged). A conference to discuss this project should be arranged as early as possible. Other specific assignments will be discussed in class. Some films might be shown on a day and at a time TBA other than the usual class time.
Oral Presentations. The composition of this class includes several graduate students. Consequently, we shall expect each graduate student to make one or more oral presentations (accompanied by short papers) to be discussed in class. These reports should be approximately 15-20 minutes in length accompanied by a documented essay of 5 to 7 pages (follow the MLA Style Sheet.) PAPERS ARE DUE ON THE SAME DAY AS THE REPORTS. NO LATE WORK ACCEPTED. Each report should also be accompanied by a one to two page outline or abstract of essential information relevant to the topic, distributed to each class member. This will allow more freedom in oral presentations. In the Course Timetable, a blue square indicates a priority report topic. There are only nine possible reports, so it is important that these be assigned early. Undergraduates are encouraged to do a report for exttra credit if any remain.
Reading Period: We will most likely observe Reading Period.
Videos/Films: The observing of video documentaries often more informative than textual material because of the visuals and film clips used, will be a critical part of this course. Most are in the one-hour range, though a few are longer. The 11-12:20 time slot has been chosen to allow time for the completion of most of these videos.
Weekly writing assignments: You are asked to write brief responses to most outside reading (specific due dates [Jan. 30; Feb. 4, 11, 20, 27; March 6, 11, 20; April 8, 10, 17] and readings are indicated in the timetable). Note: on the due dates the readings to be covered in writing responses are listed so as to minimize confusion. For essays these should be no more than a page; for books, no less than two or three pages. These essays ARE NOT summaries of readings but your personal reaction/take/critique of them. In some cases it will make sense to write on several in one essay (there are some obvious overlaps and even apparent redundancies, though these have been avoided when possible). Some sample questions or approaches that might be taken are provided under the heading Topics for Writing Assignments. These responses should be well-written, thoughtful essays. There has been an attempt to spread out these written assignments so that the work load is not onerous.
Research Consultations: Rosemary L. Cullen, Head Special Collections Librarian at the John Hay Library, and Curator of the Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays and the Sheet Music Collection, is available Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM for research consultations about paper topics, writing assignments, or for general reference and research assistance throughout the semester. All students are very welcome to call (ext. 31514), e-mail, or just drop in!
Final project: See Project and Paper Suggestions for suggestions.
Note: Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey will play Providence this spring. If you've not seen a circus live, you should plan to attend.More on this at a later date. As other examples of modern entertainers in the classic mold come along, try to catch them (and to bring this info to the attention of the class).
Contact Don Wilmeth for information about office hours, or other questions related to this course.