EN 490: Senior Thesis

TR 2:00-3:20, CAS 108


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Office: 301 KJS Library
Office Hours: MWF 9:00-10:50 and by appointment
Phone: 635-2378
E-mail: adoughty@lssu.edu
Web Address: http://www.lssu.edu/faculty/adoughty

Required Texts: (listed in the order that we will read them)
Jim Powell. Postmodernism for Beginners
Beckett, Samuel. Endgame.
Neruda, Pablo. The Heights of Machu Picchu. (0374506485)
Carter, Angela. The Bloody Chamber.
Vizenor, Gerald. The Heirs of Columbus.
Knopp, Lisa. Field of Vision.

Course Description:
Catalog Description: Senior thesis is a sustained exploration of a literary, composition, or language topic. Students will undertake an independent research project and develop it into a major paper. Prerequisites: English major and senior standing.

Translation: The purpose of this course is to offer you the opportunity to do an in-depth, semester-long research project about a topic that interests you. Your goal is to expand your research and analysis skills by producing a final thesis that contains both a review of literature and a unique examination of your chosen topic.

Course Requirements:
Attendance and Class Participation: This is a senior-level English class, so I shouldn't have to dwell on attendance and participation. I expect both from everyone, and if you need to miss class, you know what to do about it—get notes from a classmate.

The Thesis: Your grade for this course will be based entirely on your thesis and the components for the thesis that I collect throughout the semester. Here are the basic elements for this project:

·         Your Topic: The focus of the literature for this course is Postmodern texts. That being said, your thesis does not need to be about this topic. Ideally you will work with Postmodernism in your thesis in some manner, but you are not required to. There are numerous ways in which you could work with the Postmodern, from choosing a work or author who is considered Postmodern to writing about a text from a postmodern perspective. You are not required to work with literature in its traditional sense (i.e. fiction, poetry, or drama) or at all. Your topic can be focused on literature, composition, and/or language. The topic possibilities are practically endless, so keep your mind open. If you're not sure if what you want to do is acceptable, come see me, and we'll talk it over.

·         The Prospectus: Due 2 October in class. This brief paper is an overview of your topic and sources that are available for your research. Though you will not have read (or probably received) all of your sources at this point, you will have done a good amount of your preliminary research and have some ideas about the questions you want to address in your research. See separate handout for more information about the prospectus.

·         Bibliography of Primary and Critical Research: Due 21 October in class. This bibliography will list all of the materials you have collected (or anticipate collecting) for your thesis. In addition to the bibliography, I want you to write an examination of the materials you've read to that point. Talk about what different authors have to say about your topic and your reactions to their points of view. I do not expect you to have read everything on your list at this point, but you should have made significant inroads into the reading.

·         Detailed Outline or Rough Draft: Due 11 November in my office. Make an appointment to meet with me in a conference before Thanksgiving Break when you hand it in. At this point in the semester, you should be well on your way to figuring out how you want to present your materials and what you want to say, so I want a very rough, preliminary outline or draft (whichever you're more comfortable doing). We will discuss the outline or draft when you come to see me.

·         Rough Draft: Due 25 November in class (with enough copies for the entire class). We will exchange drafts and assign dates for peer critique of the theses. When you distribute your draft, you will have the chance to ask the class to pay attention to specific areas that concern you about the draft (and it would be a good idea to include a sheet (as a cover or end sheet) that lists your questions or concerns about the draft). On the 2nd, 4th, 9th and 11th of December, we will do peer revision of the drafts, and you will be responsible for leading the discussion on your draft (in other words, you'll get out of the exercise what you put into it).

·         The Final Thesis: Due by 5 in my office on Monday, 15 December. When you drop off your thesis, sign up for a conference to defend it. You will submit 2 copies of your final thesis, spiral bound (both Office Max and Staples will bind documents). One copy will be for the department's records; the other I will return to you when we meet during finals week. During our meeting, I will expect you to defend your thesis—to answer questions I have about it and to discuss sections that I bring up.

·         Specifications: The final thesis should be between 30 and 40 pages long and include both a review of literature and your examination of the topic. Each part of the project needs to be in MLA format.

·         Open Presentation: During finals week, we will have a public meeting at which you will present your thesis to those in attendance. You will not read the entire thesis, but you will present the main elements (a highlights tour, if you will) to the audience. For those of you planning graduate school, these presentations will be excellent practice for conferences.

·         Electronic Version: Because we will be creating a collection of theses, you must also submit an electronic version of the thesis to me, either on disc or via e-mail. Make sure that your file is saved in either Microsoft Word (.doc) or Rich Text Format (.rtf). In addition, you need to write me an introduction to the thesis/yourself to be included in the thesis collection. This introduction should be between 250 and 500 words in length. The electronic version must be submitted by Thursday, 18 December, which will give you some time to correct errors discovered in your conference.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the passing off of another's work (whether quoted, paraphrased or summarized) as your own without proper documentation and can result in serious repercussions, including expulsion from the university. Do your own work.

Disability Services and Accommodations for Students: In compliance with Lake Superior State University policy and equal access laws, disability-related accommodations or services are available. Students who desire such services are to meet with the professor in a timely manner, preferably the first week of class, to discuss their disability-related needs. Students will not receive services until they register with the Resource Center for Students with Disabilities (RCSD). Proper registration will enable the RCSD to verify the disability and determine reasonable academic accommodations. RCSD is located in South Hall Office 206. The telephone number is (906) 635-2454.