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English 4100: Shakespeare
Spring 2021,
Section 01 (CRN 22578)

Independent Study
3 credit hours

Dr. Chip Rogers

Office: Arts and Letters (SOAL) 219
: (478) 471-5739
Office hours: Monday 1:00-3:00, Tuesday & Thursday 8:30-10:00
   and by appointment


As described in the MGA Catalog, English 4100 is "study of selected Shakespearean tragedies, comedies, and history plays illustrating representative themes and literary techniques of the dramatist, as well as his links to contemporary issues of the day." 

We will focus on three particular concerns: 1) the uncanny continuing relevance of Shakespeare—i.e. universality of themes and dramatic representation of fundamental aspects of humanity; 2) Shakespeare's unrivaled verbal virtuosity—the power, efficiency, and aesthetics of Shakespearean verse and prose; and 3) critical and scholarly perspectives on Shakespeare throughout the ages.
In short, we shall explore what that makes Shakespeare so uncommonly special and so widely revered by so many of the greatest thinkers and writers of the past four centuries—what makes such eminent recent scholars as Harold Bloom believe that "The more one reads and ponders the plays of Shakespeare, the more one realizes that the accurate stance toward them is one of awe. . . . Bardolatry, the worship of Shakespeare, ought to be even more a secular religion than it already is" (Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human xvii).

Prerequisite: at least a "C" in ENGL 3010

Texts and Materials

The Complete Works of Shakespeare. Ed. David Bevington. Any edition.
"Handouts" from the instructor's web site at www.chipspage.com.

Course Components

Discussion: Face-to-face meetings for discussion of the readings with very little lecture.

Critical response essays: typed informal writings of at least 300 words responding to the readings before we meet to discuss them. I will post critical response questions on the web before each reading assignment is due.  

Corrections: For the first two critical responses you submit and the seminar paper, after your work is graded you will submit corrected versions with all changes highlighted. See corrections instructions

Exams: We will have two major tests. Exams will be timed and open book. Both the midterm and the final will consist of two parts: 1) "short answers," or brief paragraph-length commentary on the significance of specific passages, and 2) essays making connections in theme or technique between different works. There will be one essay on the midterm and two on the final. You will have some choice in the short answer and essay portions of each exam: you might, for instance, select 5 of 7 short answer items and 1 of 3 essay options.

Seminar paper: An essay of 10-12 typed pages (3000 word minimum), you will explore in some depth a subject of your own choosing (topic subject to my approval). The paper must be carefully formatted and have sources documented according to MLA guidelines. You will incorporate some research into the essay—i.e. you will be required to cite four or more secondary sources of quality scholarship or criticism in addition to the primary work(s) you discuss. You will submit a brief topic sentence outline for approval before the paper is due.

Final grade breakdown

 Critical responses
 Corrections 7%
 Midterm exam
 Seminar paper
 Final exam


Attendance: This course is an independent study, but we will still meet in person most weeks of the term. It is the student's responsibility to notify the professor before missing any scheduled meetings. A pattern of attendance problems may result in letter-grade penalties applied to the overall grade.

Late work: Late work is penalized one letter grade for each calendar day an assignment is late. Work turned in more than three days late will receive no higher grade than F, and I accept no work more than two weeks late.

Plagiarism: Except for assignments expressly calling for collaborative effort, all written work must be your own. Any unacknowledged borrowing from the writings of others will be considered plagiarism, a serious breach of academic integrity. I will submit cases of plagiarism or other academic dishonesty for review by the Student Conduct Officer. The penalty for plagiarism in this class is an "F" for the entire course, not just the assignment in question. 

Note that the Department of English's more specific definition of plagiarism is operative in this class:

1. It is plagiarism to copy another’s words directly and present them as your own without quotation marks and direct indication of whose words you are copying.  All significant phrases, clauses, and passages copied from another source require quotation marks and proper acknowledgment, down to the page number(s) of printed texts.

2. It is plagiarism to paraphrase another writer’s work by altering some words but communicating the same essential point(s) made by the original author without proper acknowledgment.  Though quotation marks are not needed with paraphrasing, you must still acknowledge the original source directly.

3. Plagiarism includes presenting someone else’s ideas or factual discoveries as your own.  If you follow another person’s general outline or approach to a topic, presenting another’s original thinking or specific conclusions as your own, you must cite the source even if your work is in your own words entirely.  When you present another’s statistics, definitions, or statements of fact in your own work, you must also cite the source.

4. Plagiarism includes allowing someone else to prepare work that you present as your own.

5. Plagiarism applies in other media besides traditional written texts, including, but not limited to, oral presentations, graphs, charts, diagrams, artwork, video and audio compositions, and other electronic media such as web pages, PowerPoint presentations, and postings to online discussions.

For more on plagiarism, follow the "On Plagiarism" link on my website.  

Withdrawal Policies: Students are encouraged to read the withdrawal policy found at https://www.mga.edu/registrar/registration/drop-add.php before dropping/withdrawing from the class. Students may withdraw from the course and earn a grade of “W” up to and including the “Last Day to Withdraw” date: Wednesday, 10 March 2021 for Full Session. After “The Last Day to Withdraw” date, students who withdraw will receive a grade of “WF.” A WF is calculated in the GPA as an “F.” Instructors may assign “W” grades for students with excessive absences (beyond the number of absences permitted by the instructor’s stated attendance policy). Students may withdraw from a maximum of five courses throughout their enrollment at Middle Georgia State. Beyond the five-course limit, withdrawals result in “F” grades.

University Policy: Students are responsible for reading, understanding, and adhering to all Middle Georgia State University student policies, including those linked on the Syllabus Policy page: https://www.mga.edu/faculty-affairs/syllabus-policy.php.

MGA Policy on Disability Accommodations: Students seeking ADA accommodations must contact Middle Georgia State University Office of Accessibility Services in Macon at (478) 471-2985 or in Cochran at (478) 934- 3023. https://www.mga.edu/accessibility-services/.

HB 280 Campus Carry Legislation: https://www.mga.edu/police/campus-carry.php.

Delayed Opening or Closing of the University: If the University is closed due to unforeseen circumstances, students are expected to maintain contact with the university (Knight’s Alert or https://www.mga.edu/police/alert/index.php) and with their instructor and to continue their coursework as directed.

Plagiarism Prevention Tool Notification: a plagiarism prevention service is used in evaluation of written work submitted for this course. As directed by the instructor, students are expected to submit or have their assignments submitted through the service in order to meet requirements for this course. The papers may be retained by the service for the sole purpose of checking for plagiarized content in future student submissions.

Addenda to the syllabus:
bulletEnglish 2000-4000 Grades and Grading Criteria

bulletEnglish 4100.01 schedule of readings and assignments