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UA Course Catalog Prerequisites:
No prereqs found
Course Description and Credit Hours
This Writing course will look at the roles and implications of myths and rituals in the American South, using the UA campus as its own case study and talking about how notions of “the past” come to be invented in different ways for different social purposes through memorials and monuments. Because the course carries the Core “W” designation, an important component of the seminar is the culminating term paper, which we will take through the writing process throughout the semester. This includes brainstorming, drafting, peer editing, and revising. Writing proficiency is required for a passing grade in this course. A student who does not write with the skill normally required of an upper-division student will not earn a passing grade, no matter how well the student performs in other areas of the course.
This Writing course will look at the roles and implications of myths and rituals in the American South, using the UA campus as its own case study and talking about how notions of “the past” come to be invented in different ways for different social purposes through narrative practice—specifically, memorials and monuments. While some readings will focus on specific religious groups and practices that find their homes in the region, we will emphasize analytical classifications and contestations of “the South” as an identifiable geographical and cultural space. Because the course carries the Core “W” designation, an important component of the seminar is the culminating term paper, which we will take through the writing process throughout the semester. This includes brainstorming, drafting, peer editing, and revising.
Required Texts from UA Supply Store:
- MCPHERSON / RECONSTRUCTING DIXIE (Optional)
- BONE, MARTYN / CREATING AND CONSUMING THE AMERICAN SOUTH (Required)
Student Learning Outcomes
Students in REL 415 will
1) Identify broad critical trends and debates within Southern Studies.
2) Contextualize the relationship between “religion” and the American South.
3) Develop professional and analytical writing skills in relation to research, grammar, style, and clarity.
4) Work collaboratively to improve writing and hone editing skills.
5) Draft critical prose at various stages of the writing process and revise drafts based on peer (and professorial) review
6) Conduct archival and scholarly research.
Other Course Materials
UA Box: All course readings beyond the required books will be in a shared Box folder.
Outline of Topics
*These readings are subject to change based on the directions that our discussions take...
*listen to the podcast S-Town at your convenience but no later than September 5
24 (R) Introduction to course
Myth-Making: Sign, Symbol, South
29 (T) David A. Graham, “Durham’s Confederate Statue Comes Down”
31 (R) Southern Poverty Law Center, “Whose Heritage: Public Symbols of the Confederacy”
*discuss steps of writing process and general writing guidelines
5 (T) Race-Cognizant Monument Tour of UA Campus
7 (R) Tara McPherson, “‘Both Kinds of Arms’: The Civil War in the Present”
12 (T) Craig Martin, “How Society Works: Habitus” from A Critical Introduction to the Study of
14 (R) Grace Elizabeth Hale, “Granite Stopped Time: Stone Mountain Memorial and the
Representation of White Southern Identity”
Story-Telling: Historicizing the South
19 (T) Tara McPherson, Introduction to Reconstructing Dixie
21 (R) Visit to Hoole Special Collections
26 (T) Paul Harvey, “‘A Servant of Servants Shall He Be’: The Cnostruction of Race in American
28 (R) Cobb, Introduction to Away Down South
3 (T) Archival Project Presentations
5 (R) Archival Project Presentations
*Archival Assignment Due
10 (T) Connor Towne O’Neill, “Residents of So-called ‘Shit Town’ Are Conflicted over S-Town”
12 (R) Aaron Bady, “Airbrushing Shittown”
17 (T) Still Processing episode on S-Town, Get Out, and Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial
*Final Paper Proposal Due
19 (R) S-Town roundtable (make our own podcast?)
Self-Identifying: Representing the South
24 (T) Michael A. Eliott, “Our Memorials, Ourselves” (from American Quarterly)
26 (R) No class: mid-semester study break
31 (T) blog post: “Five Historic Sites with Fresh Perspectives on Interpreting Slavery and Freedom”
Regina N. Bradley, “Slavery in the Hip-Hop Imagination”
*Final Paper Outline & Reading List DueNovember
2 (R) Micki McElya, “Commemorating the Color Line: The National Mammy Monument
Controversy of the 1920s”
Atlantic piece on the Mammy monument
7 (T) Scott Romine, “God and the MoonPie: Consumption, Disenchantment, and the Reliably
9 (R) Case Study: Beyoncé’s Lemonade
Writing: Theorizing “the South”
14 (T) Leigh Anne Duck, Introduction to The Nation’s Region: Southern Modernism, Segregation, and
16 (R) Peer-review exercise due to editor, collaborative web workshop pt. 1
21 (T) Peer-review exercise due to author, collaborative web workshop pt. 2
23 (R) No class: Thanksgiving
28 (T) Sorority recruitment video discussion
AL.com op-ed on UA video
Buzzfeed bit on UA video
Daily Beast op-ed on UA video
Washington Post op-ed on performing Southern belle
30 (R) Jezebel piece: “How to fix a Racist Frat”
5 (T) Paper Discussion
7 (R) Whitman in Alabama project
Final essay due
Exams and Assignments
Critical Archival Assignment:
This writing assignment will be a 5-7 page critical essay related to an archival piece of data about UA that you find in some research at Gorgas Library (http://www.lib.ua.edu/libraries/gorgas/) or the Hoole Special Collections (http://www.lib.ua.edu/libraries/hoole/). I will hand out general writing guidelines early in the semester that you will use in the course for its duration. I will also hand out specific guidelines for this assignment when we discuss it in class. Those guidelines will include the possible themes/questions from which you will choose your own direction.
You will make formal presentations to the class on your research topic. Guidelines will be distributed and discussed in advance.
Final Paper Proposal:
This abstract will outline your project and detail your direction. These will be approved before you begin writing.
Final Paper Outline and Reading List:
The outline will be a substantive one that articulates the points to be made in the final paper. The reading list does not have to be exhaustive but does need to demonstrate quality academic research and offer a developed sense of your research and writing trajectory.
Peer Edit Exercise:
At a strategic phase of your paper construction, you will edit someone’s work and have yours edited. I will give you guidelines, etc., as that draws closer. It will be an out-of-class venture, as I want you to be thorough and spend a good amount of time with the paper(s) and your own comments so as to be as helpful to your colleagues as possible.
Your final paper will serve as the on-going and culminating project for the course. It will also serve in place of a final exam. Your work on the paper will progress throughout the semester, with time spent on each of the stages of the writing process. It should be approximately 10-15 pages.
Statement on Writing:
As stated in the course description and as is probably clear by the kinds of assignments outlined above, writing proficiency is required for a passing grade in this course. A student who does not write with the skill normally required of an upper division student in Religious Studies will not be given a passing grade, no matter how well the student performs other course requirements. Papers will be evaluated according to the standards of excellence established in the first-year sequence of composition classes at the University of Alabama. You are encouraged to discuss writing issues with me during my office hours and by appointment. Additional recommended resources include the University's Writing Center and the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th Edition
This course has a total of 1000 possible points, broken down as follows:
Discussion Questions/Participation 5% (50 points)
Critical Archival Assignment 30% (300 points)
Presentation 15% (150 points)
Seminar Paper/Writing Process 50% (500 points)
Final Paper Proposal 50 points
Final Paper Outline and Reading List 100 points
Peer Edit 100 points
Final Paper 250 points
Final grades will be based on the following ranges: 970-1000=A+; 920-969=A; 900-919=A-; 870-899=B+; 820-869=B; 800-819=B-; 770-799=C+; 720-769=C; 700-719=C-; 600-699=D; 0-599 = F
Policy on Missed Exams and Coursework
Make-up Work Policy:
As a general rule, you are not able to make up work in this course. If exceptional circumstances arise that keep you from finishing and turning in an assignment by the time of its due date, you must let me know in advance, and I will determine whether or not I will take the work at a later date/time.
Attendance and Participation: Each student is expected to attend every class meeting, to be on time, to have read completely and with care all assignments, and to engage actively and intelligently in our discussions. After two absences, the student’s final grade will be reduced by one letter for each additional absence. In other words, if your grade average was A at the end of the semester but you had four absences, your final grade for the course would be C. If the absences are beyond your control due to health or family reasons, let me know as soon as possible. You remain responsible for anything that you miss in class, including announcements. Your positive participation in the class is also vital. I expect everyone to do the readings and to speak up during classes. Be prepared to ask questions about the readings and class material and/or contribute your own ideas.
Notification of Changes
The instructor will make every effort to follow the guidelines of this syllabus as listed; however, the instructor reserves the right to amend this document as the need arises. In such instances, the instructor will notify students in class and/or via email and will endeavor to provide reasonable time for students to adjust to any changes.
Statement on Academic Misconduct
Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to the official Academic Misconduct Policy provided in the Online Catalog.
Statement On Disability Accommodations
Contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) as detailed in the Online Catalog.
Severe Weather Protocol
Please see the latest Severe Weather Guidelines in the Online Catalog.
Pregnant Student Accommodations
Title IX protects against discrimination related to pregnancy or parental status. If you are pregnant and will need accommodations for this class, please review the University’s FAQs on the UAct website.
Under the Guidelines for Religious Holiday Observances, students should notify the instructor in writing or via email during the first two weeks of the semester of their intention to be absent from class for religious observance. The instructor will work to provide reasonable opportunity to complete academic responsibilities as long as that does not interfere with the academic integrity of the course. See full guidelines at Religious Holiday Observances Guidelines.
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