Assignment Sequence

Assignment Sequence:

Everyone in the class—including auditors—will complete a minimum of five blog posts on the class site.

Three of these posts will be responses to the course readings, following the “Template for Blog Responses to Secondary Texts” below.

One will be an exploration of a primary children’s or YA text following the “Template for Blog Responses to Primary Texts.”

The final blog post will present your own research/ specific interests.

Everyone is welcome to post on the blog as often as they want—it will be an excellent way to build community and share common interests.

In addition to your blogging, you should choose one of the following assignments to complete:

  1. Producing an annotated bibliography of approximately 40 sources (books, book chapters and articles) [Doctoral students might see this as the formation of an oral exam list]. This should be related to the course concerns, broadly speaking. You will have read all of these works by the end of the semester, so start right away.
  1. Producing a proto-prospectus for a dissertation—if your dissertation will be related to Children’s and YA literature (or childhood studies) in some way.
  1. Writing a 20-page paper or draft of a scholarly article.
  1. Writing a dissertation chapter or MALS thesis chapter

By September 5th, please send me a brief email with the following information:

  1. Which assignment sequence you choose to follow.
  2. The number of credits you are taking the class for (if you are taking the class for 2 or 3 credits rather than 4 credits, we will adjust the workload accordingly).
  3. A page or two about your scholarly interests.

Over the months of September and October, I hope to meet with each of you individually to help you pursue your individual interests and to offer you reading suggestions.

I will be asking you all to create a folder in Dropbox, so that I can add materials that will be of use to you—and so that your fellow students can add materials as well.

Template for Blog Responses to Secondary Texts

Our seminar will be devoted to a consideration of theories and methodologies used in Children’s/ YA literary criticism. Three of your five required blog posts will engage with a secondary reading from our class (article, book chapter or full book). While you can blog very freely about your reactions to the text, and the thoughts it inspires, your response should also include the following:

  1. What is the main argument of the work?
  1. Do you have a sense of what it contributes to the field? Do you find this work to be urgent and of significance? What kinds of doors does it open for future work? Does it inspire you as a scholar, i.e. will you build on this work in your own writing and research?
  1. What theory does the author incorporate? What kinds of primary texts do they discuss? What scholarly conversations does he or she build on?
  1. How does the author limit the scope of his or her investigation?   NB: It is very easy to write a response that says: “This critic did not write the book (or article) I would have written.” But it is not terribly fair. No one book, article or chapter can cover everything—and sometimes the limitations a critic puts on an investigation function as a kind of strength, creating admirable focus. That being said . . . what sorts of ideas, perspectives and works do you wish the author had included to strength the project on its own terms?

 Template for Blog Responses to Primary Texts

You will sign up to post on a given week. You will write a brief blog post discussing a primary text in relation to that week’s readings…or discuss a primary texts that one of the theorists/ critics includes, offering your own insights into that primary text.


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