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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Spring 2006

T C E603B • Composition and Reading in World Literature

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
32665 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
PAR 104

Course Description

"Larger universities must find ways to create a sense of place and to help students develop small communities within the larger whole." Carnegie's Reinventing Undergraduate Education: A Blueprint for America's Research Universities Even more important, however, is the first principle of the report: "learning is based on discovery guided by mentoring rather than on the transmission of information. I was one of two members of the College of Liberal Arts who participated in the creation of the Discovery Learning Center of the College of Natural Sciences. This principle was inspired on this campus primarily by the example of professors R. L. Moore in mathematics and R. N. Little in physics, who became famous for their inquiry-based teaching methods that transformed students from knowledge consumers to knowledge creators and interpreters. I was drawn to this approach because it resembled that of the best course I have had in my life, Freshman English at Amherst College. The emphasis in this course was very heavily placed on learning to think for oneself and has inspired me for almost fifty years now. There were no books in that course, however, and we never left the classroom. The Real World: Active learning, has been used in English courses to explore the inner world, but, like the natural sciences, we will start with the outer world. Hence for us "World Literature" will mean primarily literature of the world around you here on and near campus: the sense of the "world as your "sphere of action or thought; the 'realm within which one moves or lives (OED). And we will expand the sense of "literature as well: all of your world will be your text. We will approach it as semioticians, those who study all signs, linguistic and non-linguistic, including art, architecture, landscapes (geography), material culture (archaeology), etc. Hence, some class meetings will be devoted to drawing and writing about nature, buildings, and works of art on campus, at the Japanese garden at Zilker Park, and buildings downtown. We will write answers to basic questions such as: "what is this? "where did it come from? and "why is it here? Identifying objects around us as palimpsests, we will trace their layers of meaning through corridors of time back to various eras and places. For example, in the second semester, questioning fossils in Waller Creek will lead us back to the origins of life on earth and forward to the writings of Darwin and Tennyson and to the contemporary debate between evolution and creationism; the carved griffins on the mantle in the Littlefield House will lead us, via the internet, to medieval cathedrals and what Adams and Ruskin wrote about them.

About the Professor Jerome Bump was awarded the Jeanne Holloway Award for undergraduate teaching, the Richards Teaching Fellowship for work with computer-assisted learning, the Dad's Association Centennial Teaching Fellowship for instructing Freshmen, the Rhodes Centennial Teaching Fellowship for directing the Computer Writing and Research Laboratory (devoted primarily to lower division instruction), and chosen as a Mortar Board Preferred Professor. He is the author of Gerard Manley Hopkins and many essays and reviews. At the moment he is particularly interested in writing about nature and architecture, especially gargoyles. For more information about him, his teaching philosophy, or his courses see

Grading Policy

About 50% of the final grade will be determined by the multimedia web projects (15% for each first draft--150 points each, 10% for each revision--100 points each), 14% by the portfolio (140 points), 30% by informal writing (300 points), 6% by class participation (60 points). 900 points (out of 1,000) are required for an A-; 800 for a B-; 700 for a C-; 600 for a D-. However, more than 1000 points will be available so that students can emphasize formal over informal writing or vice versa, class participation more than the portfolio, etc. At the end of the course, students will receive exactly the grade recorded in the online gradebook, even if it is one point short of the next higher grade. Second semester multimedia webprojects will focus more explicitly on place. Informal writing consists primarily of self-reflection and reading journals. Class participation includes the art of listening as well as speaking in public. Students will develop in the first semester multimedia and web skills. Students should also be prepared to think for themselves. Discovery learning dictates that for projects there will be fewer instructions than what students may be used to from other courses. This can be frustrating for some, especially those who want a detailed formula that will guarantee them a good grade. Instead students will be encouraged to be creative and write about what is important to them, within limits. Initial comments on the projects will be made online by the other students in the class, with the instructor then focusing on polishing the final drafts for punctuation, word choice, etc. Rewriting and preparing almost perfect final drafts will be stressed. The first requirement for rewriting is time management. Hence procrastination will be heavily penalized.


In the second semester (unless the 603A students vote otherwise) reading the griffins, we will turn our attention to medieval and medievalist art, architecture, and literature, guided by some of the same authors as we read in the first semester and by Adams, Morris, the Rossettis, and others. The course will conclude with a focus on Gothic in Gawain and the Green Knight, Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, and Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. Students will do presentations on murals and paintings in the second semester.


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