Syllabus for ENG/FST 350D: Satiric Film

Instructor:
Rich Erlich, 373 Bachelor, 529-7189 (any time), e-mail: erlichrd@muohio.edu 
Texts:
Author/ED.                                Title                                     Publisher                            My Short Form {Film}
Erlich, Richard D.  Course Packet Oxford Copy Shop Packet
Vonnegut, Kurt, Jr. Slaughterhouse-Five Dell Sh-5 {SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE}
Heinlein, Robert A. Starship Troopers Berkley Pub

SrTr  {STARSHIP TROOPERS}

Huxley, Aldous Brave New World Harper Perennial BNW {GATTACA}
Orwell, George Nineteen Eighty-Four New American Library 1984  {1984, BRAZIL}
Palahniuk, Chuck Fight Club Henry Hold {FIGHT CLUB}
Recommended (Not Ordered)
Le Guin, Ursula K.		 The Lathe of Heaven	      Avon Rpt.		              LoH  {THE LATHE OF HEAVEN}
Caution:
In a discussion of Jonathon Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Northrop Frye summarizes Gulliver's presentation of "man as a 
venomous rodent, [...] the mind of man as a bear-pit, and the body of man as a compound of filth and ferocity"--and
women, too; Yahoos all.  Frye goes on, "But Swift is simply following where his genius leads him, and genius seems to
have led practically ever great satirist to become what the world calls obscene" (Anatomy of Criticism, 1957: 235).
	We will be dealing with materials that "the world"--though not currently the law in Ohio or the USA--"calls obscene,"
Also misanthropic, occasionally sexist, and often politically incorrect, hurtful, and indecent.
	First day of the course, I'll give you a sample as nasty as it will get (and give you permission, in this case, to avert 
your eyes): a "Singin' in the Rain" medley with the song from SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952), a Simpson's parody, and then the 
Rape/Crippling scene in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971).  If dealing with such cinema will be a problem for you, please drop the 
course.  If dropping is a real problem due to lack of courses, talk to me about (a) alternative work within the Satiric Film course 
and (b) political action to attack the MU problem of too few courses for too many requirements.
	LANGUAGE:  I observe an absolute taboo against pronouncing the name of God.  Aside from that, I try to proceed 
ethically not offending people inadvertently or unnecessarily.  So, if I offend you, let's talk.
Usual Drill (or "Default Mode"):
	Monday Afternoons:  Brief announcements, handling of questions; any shorts or excerpts; feature attraction.
		Notes: (1)I'll never ask  you to remain in class just to fill out the time. (2)The shorts and clips may be the most 
		difficult to see on your own, so please try to arrive punctually. (3)If you need to leave the screening early --or 
		leave and return--please sit near a door; leave and enter quietly; and see the parts you missed on your own.  
		(4)Cell phones: Please be courteous; unless there's an emergency, turn them off.
	Tuesdays:  Usually: you should bring to class a 4X6 white response card with your name on it, the date, and your response
	to an QUESTIONS for the week; if the discussion questions I supply don't interest you, try a question in the study guide(s).
	We will convene as a class for announcements and class questions; then Erlich may lecture and/or show film clips.  Unless 
	there's a Group presentation or something else, you'll break up into your groups and work for 10-30 minutes trying to come 
	up with a group response (on a yellow Group Response Card) based on the individual cards.  Please include on the yellow 
	cards "ENG/FST 350d" + your Group Name or Number + the date + the last names of the people who attended and worked 
	on the card(s).  Then I'll collect the cards, and, as time allows, we'll reconvene as a class, and I'll try to start discussion 
	from the cards.  I'll also keep the cards for the term, as partial documentation for assigning participation grades.
	Thursdays:  Usually:  Discussion (based on cards) and/or group presentations.  
		Note:  I've provided more opportunities for card exercises than it's likely we'll get to.  I'd like you to fill out the 
		white cards whether we get to them or not.  If we don't get to them--or if we do, for that matter--and you like 
		what you have to say and want to share it, you can post the content of the card to the ListServ.
 
Course ListServ: <ENG350DA>
 
I intend to just put on the ListServe everyone in the class.  If you want to subscribe on your own, on an internet browser go to 
<http://listserv.muohio.edu/archives/> and follow the instructions there.  See below on ListServ participation.
 
PREREQUISITES:  There is no prerequisite except College Composition (or current enrollment in College Composition).  The syllabus is 
	constructed to allow different emphases for Groups and individual students for a class of some 40 to 45 students.
 
BASIC JARGON
Comedy, Tragedy, Romance, Satire:  I use these terms technically (Packet 9); defining the "Satire" part is central to our course.
S.F.= Science Fiction
SF:  S.F. + related works (utopias, some Fantasy, some Horror).
SciFi: SF without pretensions, or a pejorative for SF.
Mundane Art:  in Samuel R. Delaney's usage, art that is not SF or fantasy.
Utopia:  "Good place" + "no place" / Eutopia:  Good place / Dystopia: Bad place / Antiutopia: work attacking utopian thinking.
 
Other Terms:  See "Toward Defining 'Satire'" in the Packet (11-17); We can see a short, Basic Film Terms; see also in Packet "Terminology:  Theatre, Film, 
	TV" (5-8).
 
GRADED COURSE WORK:
 
Quiz:  In class Thur. of Week 5, covering films and readings so far in our course.
   							   025 points
Written Work 1:  A "half-hour exam," to be written in exam booklets in class, Thur. of Week 8.  Open-book, open notes, no outside 
	assistance.  Based on our work so far in the course, Is there a genre, "Satiric Film?"  If not, why not?  If so, how do we 
	recognize the genre?  You must deal with at least one of the Packet readings and at least with MAKING MR. RIGHT and 
	two other of our *'ed "main feature" films.
							   050 points
Written Work 2:  A 1000- to 2000-word out-of-class essay, due Thur. of Week 11.  
		Option 1:  Second pass at "Satiric Film" issue:  Based on our work so far in the course, but dealing with at least 
	two films from Part II, is there a genre, "Satiric Film?"  If not, why not?  If so, how so we recognize the genre?
		Option 2:  R.A. Heinlein's novel Starship Troopers is satire only as eutopia; P. Verhoeven's STARSHIP TROOPERS 
	film may be strongly satiric.  If Thomas Wymer et al. are correct about K. Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, the work is 
	satiric; the film may be a more powerful antiwar statement--but maybe not satiric.  Either starting from or limiting your 
	argument to these works, generate a thesis on the theme of war in satire; argue that thesis.
		Option 3:  If you have a B+ or higher average on the Quiz and WW1 (66 or higher), you may negotiate a topic 
	with me, submitted before 8 p.m. the Monday before it is due.
							   075 points
Written Work 3:  Final Exam.  In-class, take-home, or combination.  If all or partly take-home, take-home portion due in class, Thurs. 
	the week before finals (if you want comments), or when the Final Exam is due (To Be Announced).  The final will stress 
	Part III of the course:  Topics in Satire:  Eutopia, Antiutopia, Dystopia.
							   100 points
			Students who get an "A" average on the Quiz and WW1 and WW2 may suggest a project to replace WW3.
Group Project:  Within limits, to be negotiated, but which (1) must produce something of use to film classes; (2) must produce 
	something in writing; and (3) should be presented as scheduled.  See first class meeting in Schedule for a list of groups/topics.  
	If the Group does something substantial in writing (e.g. a study guide) the presentation should be very brief.
							   050 points
Participation:  At least three posting on the course ListServ, as recorded in the list archives, prior to 10 p.m Monday before Thanks-
	giving; 3 or more:  10 points; 2 or fewer:  0 points; participation in producing Group cards for the card exercises, as reported 
	to the instructor by your Group Leader:  0-20 points; participation in class discussion as recorded by Group Leaders and 
	judged for quality by instructor:  0-20 points.
							   050 points
 
Quiz											025
WW 1											050	
WW 2											075
WW 3											100
Group Project										050
Participation										050
TOTAL:											350 points

 

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