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Old 06-11-2007, 03:02 PM   #1
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Reading selections for the first two courses I'll ever teach

I posted a few months ago that I was accepted into the English Master's Program at Rutgers-Camden and given an excellent assistantship. One of the benefits of my teaching assistantship is that I get to select my own theme and materials for my courses. For the section of 101 that I'm teaching, I had full reign. For the 102 section, it had to be something relevant in contemporary society. Also, there are fewer assigned primary sources in 102 because it is more researach-oriented. So here are my selections. The selections are obvious in places, but I'm really looking forward to a few of them. Especially since I've been encouraged to include films and graphic novels. All freshman writing students here have to read Joanne Harris' Chocolat as well.

English 101: Composition 1: Exploring the Holocaust through Academic Writing

Books -

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Night by Elie Wiesel
I am My Own Wife by Doug Wright
Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi
The Cunning of History by Richard L. Rubenstein

Films -

Schindler's List (1993)
Cabaret (1972)

There will also be a few short stories and poems, undecided as of yet.

English 102: Research in Writing: Underground Movements Against Nation States in Fiction and Literature

Man's Fate by Andre Malreaux
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd

Films -
Michael Collins (1996) (I may also have them read some of Yeats' early nationalist poetry and drama to tie in)


I'm really excited about this stuff, particularly 102. I think I'm going to have them use their assignments to connect the ideas in these stories to what's going on today. Get them to think about the ideas and motivations rather than political rhetoric.
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Old 06-11-2007, 03:13 PM   #2
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Sounds cool.

I would not be able to take your 101 section. I would have nightmares.
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Old 06-11-2007, 03:30 PM   #3
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Wow, I like that your 101 has a theme/focus! I hated my required intro/survey/101 courses b/c they always seem too broad (not the Prof's fault).

Have you ever read "The Cap" by Roman Frister?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cap-Price-Li.../dp/0753810964
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Old 06-11-2007, 03:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Liesje
Wow, I like that your 101 has a theme/focus! I hated my required intro/survey/101 courses b/c they always seem too broad (not the Prof's fault).

Have you ever read "The Cap" by Roman Frister?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cap-Price-Li.../dp/0753810964
It looks really interesting, but I think I'm pushing the amount of required reading for a freshman comp class as it is.
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Old 06-11-2007, 04:15 PM   #5
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I read it early on in high school (I was an avid reader, but still a mistake, it's definitely a college-level/adult book, not b/c of explicit content, but the way he writes...kids wouldn't appreciate it. I should re-read it). I've read quite a lot of books on the Holocaust, but The Cap is different from ALL of them. The way he rights about his experiences, it's like you can tell he was almost numb, like he just accepted it as reality and that was that. He describes things and then is on writing about something else and the reader is like "wait, did that really just happen?" b/c it's pretty horrific at times. I dunno, I'm not a lit person so I can't really explain it, but I'd recommend it to anyone who reads a lot of Holocaust books. It's a good contrast, The Cap vs. Night, something like that. It's way different, an amazing perspective that I haven't really found anywhere else.

Also, I thought The Grey Zone was also a good Holocaust movie. And by good I mean it was gut-wrenching. It is about the Sonderkommando uprising in Auschwitz-Birkenau crematorium and also a gas chamber survivor (I believe that is also a true story, but they kind of lump them both together, so it's not entirely accurate).

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0252480/plotsummary
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Old 06-11-2007, 05:12 PM   #6
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I'd take these courses

If you're reading V for Vendetta, should you also watch the movie?

Or watch Braveheart? Even Return of the Jedi?
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Old 06-11-2007, 05:30 PM   #7
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Consider showing the documentary Paper Clips in your 101 class. It's less than an hour and a half, and it's a simple but amazingly powerful movie.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0380615/
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Old 06-11-2007, 07:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by LemonMacPhisto
I'd take these courses

If you're reading V for Vendetta, should you also watch the movie?

Or watch Braveheart? Even Return of the Jedi?

I like V for Vendetta movie, but I don't want them using it as a crutch. The book is much more pointed, but at the same time has a stirring ambiguity that gets lost in the film.

Braveheart is a thought

At the very least, I'm going to put together a list of further materials for them to consider for papers.
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Old 06-11-2007, 07:37 PM   #9
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Very cool.

I had a class similar to 101 once - we also read Maus and Man's Search for Meaning, both of which are fantastic.
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Old 06-13-2007, 01:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
Very cool.

I had a class similar to 101 once - we also read Maus and Man's Search for Meaning, both of which are fantastic.
Maus is amazing ... a very interesting approach to telling the Holocaust story.
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Old 06-13-2007, 04:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoIsMyMuse
Consider showing the documentary Paper Clips in your 101 class. It's less than an hour and a half, and it's a simple but amazingly powerful movie.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0380615/


I bawl every time I see that documentary. It's very moving and it's excellent beginner material for any Holocaust studies class.
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Old 06-13-2007, 04:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by UnforgettableLemon



I like V for Vendetta movie, but I don't want them using it as a crutch. The book is much more pointed, but at the same time has a stirring ambiguity that gets lost in the film.

Braveheart is a thought

At the very least, I'm going to put together a list of further materials for them to consider for papers.
You have a point with the V movie. I need to read the comics, btw.

Further materials
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Old 06-13-2007, 07:03 PM   #13
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I'll just say congratulations on the opportunity to teach. As a MA student, I taught an introductory European history course, which proved to be an invaluable experience- hopefully you will find the same.
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Old 06-14-2007, 04:23 PM   #14
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I'm currently trying to figure out how the hell to write a syllabus. It's not fun.
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Old 06-14-2007, 04:56 PM   #15
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Pfffff...I probably won't start mine until August

Make sure you have clearly explained, firm policies, especially about attendance, whether or not you'll accept late work, whether you'll accept work by email (I'd say not to do either of those). Have a very clear statement about plagiarism, as well as a break down of how each assignment, in-class work, journals, and participation will factor into the semester grade.

Feel free to PM me if you have questions. I've been teaching these kinds of classes for six years.
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