CES115 – AMERICAN FILM AS LITERATURE Syllabus
SPIKE LEE: AN AMERICAN DIRECTOR
(5610 / FALL 2016)
Instructor: Fernando Pérez
Office location: R230D
Office Hours: Tuesdays 9am to 11:30am ; Thursdays 9am to 11:30am ; *and by appt.
Introduces the critical study of the motion picture as an expressive medium comparable to literary art. Students review the history and cultural traditions of American film, with focus on the feature-length film as a novelistic form. Students analyze film adaptations of American literary texts. Also includes documentaries and other genres.
After completing this class, students should be able to:
- Demonstrate an understanding of their own previously-held perspectives on the theme and explain how those perspectives may have changed.
- Demonstrate an understanding of trends in American thought and attitude regarding the theme.
- Discuss, orally or in writing, the theme showing the interrelation of historical events, literary works and social changes.
- Demonstrate the ability to synthesize information from various sources/media and communicate that insight effectively.
How Outcomes will be met:
- Attendance is key: showing up and on time will affect the nature of the class experience for yourself and others. It will ultimately affect your grade if it becomes habitual and isn’t discussed with me prior. (See Attendance policy in Grading)
- Professionalism: all assignments must be turned in on time and be thoughtful and complete.
- Respect: Listening to one another is important and difficult sometimes. Everyone has the right in this class to feel comfortable enough to make mistakes. It is up to all of us to keep the classroom safe.
- Participation: this course and your final grade require heavy participation and conversation. I expect you to be prepared for each class, and to contribute. Consider also “Me Then Three” which asks you to also exhibit self-awareness. “Me Then Three” means observing the space that you take up in class both physically and verbally—it requires you to allow for others (3 people) to speak before you contribute again.
College Grading Policy is located on page 10 of the Course Catalog: Grading Policy
ATTENDANCE: Unless students have accommodations regarding attendance that have been approved through the Disability Resource Center, they should not be absent more than 20% of the total class time scheduled. When absences go beyond 20%, instructors’ policies may result in one of the following: · Students may earn a grade of "F" for the course. · Students may earn a lower final grade.
PARTICIPATION: It is not enough to come and simply be a body in class. This course requires heavy participation and you will be evaluated on your attempts to present and work through ideas with others. Many of the issues discussed will be controversial and do not have one correct response or answer. Don’t be discouraged if a classmate or even the professor raises another questions or idea that may point out the flaws of your own argument, this is all part of the process. The more we question ourselves the more we can understand.
CLASS DIALOGUES: · Be prepared. · Articulate the concepts and principles of the issue(s) in question · Refer to the text when needed during the dialogue · Ask for clarification when confused · Stick to the point under discussion. You can make notes about ideas you want to bring up later. · Speak clearly and loud enough for everyone to hear · Listen carefully and respectfully · Engage your classmates in the dialogue, not just the teacher.
Remember, class dialogues are not a test of memory and you are not simply “learning a subject.” Here your goal should be to broaden your understanding of social issues we all face.
Want to check on your success in this class? Here’s a cheat-sheet of things to consider during class dialogues: Did I… · Come to class? · Prepare? · Speak clearly and loudly? · Cite reasons and evidence for my statements? · Listen respectfully? · Stay on point? · Talk to my classmates and not just the professor? · Paraphrase accurately? · Ask questions to clear up confusion? · Support my classmates? · Avoid hostile exchanges? · Raise questions in a civil manner?
LATE WORK: Consult your instructor regarding any late work. In general, late work may be a) downgraded as severely as the instructor chooses, b) given no credit, but still be required for passing the course, or c) not accepted at all.
It is the student's responsibility, not the instructor's, to initiate communication about progress or concerns with the course. Instructors are under no obligation to inform students that work is overdue, to nag students to complete assignments, or to call students who fail to attend class. Similarly, students need to keep themselves informed about syllabus changes that may have been made in class. We suggest finding a partner the first week of classes and keeping each other up to date if one is absent.
PROJECTS AND PAPERS: Each student will write 1, 3-5 page analytical essay. Each student will also write 1, 1-2 page reflection paper to the readings, films, and discussions every week. Each student will complete the class final.
- Attendance / Participation 25%
- Course Work / Reaction Papers 25%
- Analytical Paper 25%
- Final Paper 25%
Books and Materials Required: None.
Suggested, but not required:
- The Spike Lee Reader, Massood
- Black Film/White Money, Rhines
- How to Analyze the Films of Spike Lee, Reynolds
*These are not available at the BC Bookstore but are on reserve in the library.
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Classroom Learning Atmosphere
VALUES CONFLICTS: Essential to a liberal arts education is an open-minded tolerance for ideas and modes of expression that might conflict with one’s personal values. By being exposed to such ideas or expressions, students are not expected to endorse or adopt them but rather to understand that they are part of the free flow of information upon which higher education depends. TO THIS END, you may find that class requirements may include engaging certain materials, such as books, films, and art work, which may, in whole or in part, offend you. These materials are equivalent to required texts and are essential to the course content. If you decline to engage the required material by not reading, viewing, or performing material you consider offensive, you will still be required to meet class requirements in order to earn credit. This may require responding to the content of the material, and you may not be able to fully participate in required class discussions, exams, or assignments. Consult the syllabus and discuss such issues with the instructor.
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Information about Bellevue College's copyright guidelines can be found at: College Copyright Policy This link provides a good, short summary of how to avoid plagiarism: Avoiding Plagiarism
This 22-minute video also provides a good overview of how to avoid trouble when using sources: From the college home page select SERVICES, then LIBRARY MEDIA CENTER, then DATABASES, then FILMS ON DEMAND. At their site, search by title for PLAGIARISM 2.0: ETHICS IN THE DIGITAL AGE.
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