Thoughts about the “papers”…

I have had some questions about the two major assignments for the class, so here is what I am looking for.  Most importantly, I would like you to leave the class with something useful to you in your life beyond December.  For the teachers in the group, I imagine a well-thought out unit plan that would last several weeks and use one or more of the course texts will probably be of use and serve as a final project.  For the academics, a final paper that could serve as a conference paper or the beginnings of an article will be useful  (I’m thinking 10-15 pages).  I am also open to hearing other ideas for a final project.

So, the first paper should be something that will help you get to your final project.  If you are going to do a unit plan, I would like the first paper to be a five-page rationale that explains why teaching postcolonial texts is important.  Imagine that you have to make a pitch to your principal or school board to make the case for a new unit (you don’t even need to know what your unit would look like yet).  Explain to them what postcolonial texts are and give a theoretical framework for this kind of study in a secondary classroom.

If you are thinking about writing an academic paper for your final project, pick several theoretical pieces to tangle with.  Summarize them.  Pull out their claims.  Respond to them.  Explain why you see them as useful.  What questions do they make you raise?

So for paper one, I won’t see much discussion of specific literary pieces.  (And if it serves you to write the final project using poco theory to read a text we didn’t read in class, I am ok with that as long as you let me know.  Jordan, I am looking at you).

If you have questions, let me know.  You are welcome to schedule time with me during my office hours.  But you can also contact me and we can Skype in the evening if you need some face time and cannot meet with me during the daytime.

I would love to know what you are thinking of doing.  Maybe you could leave me a paragraph comment to give me a sense of your direction?

When you are ready to turn in your first paper, email it to my Kutztown email.



  1. lotusgurl · · Reply

    Dr. C,

    I immediately thought of Kindred by Octavia Butler, which I’ve only read parts of. I enjoyed Rushdie’s “The Courter” so much that I’d really like to purchase and read Midnight’s Children. I’m currently reading a free sample on my Nook, a whopping 77-pp. sample! I asked Sean about it, and he told me it’s a long, complicated novel.

    I was just chatting with Jordan, and I realized that I rant so much about Disney (definitely a love/hate relationship going on there) and its blatantly racist stereotypes–nevermind the anti-semitic connections with which Disney’s reputation is infused. I’m considering doing a close reading of The Lion King and discussing the implications of such a film as it relates to postcolonialism and race relations today. Obviously, an array of topics can be discussed in relation to this movie–linguistics, hybridity, mimicry, etc.

    I think what’s interesting about this film (I certainly must rewatch it–it’s been years) is that these African animals (the colonized) are quite literally given a voice while the actual historically colonized Africans were not. And if memory serves, isn’t the villain’s coloring much darker than the rest of the animal kingdom? Come on.

    I’m confident that I can come up with a clear and solid thesis as I begin to explore these issues more.

    Thoughts? : )

    1. Love it. I imagine there is already some good scholarship out there on the idea you present. Funny you mention this idea–there’s a page called “African Animals” in a book Ev has. I refuse to read that to her. I call it “Animals you find in the desert.” My husband thinks I am a nut.

  2. I’m thinking along the lines of Rushdie, specifically The Enchantress of Florence. I really want to focus on gender and sexual hybridity. 🙂

  3. I am in the process of rewriting curriculum, so I am going to go with writing a rationale for the first paper and completing the unit plan for the second. Do I need daily lesson plans or is a unit overview appropriate for the second paper?

    I have two sources for the rationale already (thank you for the article!). Before this came up, I had asked a colleague who taught po-co at a community college for input into what goes into what will be a unit taught by three or four teachers (depending on senior enrollment). I want to focus on short stories and poetry as this is a unit we are adding to a fairly packed curriculum.

    Thoughts or advice on where I am heading? I loved The Courter and want to include that. I’m also thinking about Homi Bhaba’s article (we are required to include non-fiction texts). If anyone has any theory articles that they think high school seniors can handle, I would love to hear about them.

  4. We will read a Bessie Head story later in the semester. Her work is accessible. I think you could also look at the TED talk by Adichie and her short stories. Just keep your eyes out as the semester continues. For the second paper, I would like to see some lesson plans so I can get a sense of specific activities you would do with your students and how you would assess them.

  5. Thanks! I can do that. : )

  6. Dr. Clemens, Do you have specific requirements for the # of sources? Also, do we have a specific due date? The paper is on the syllabus for the week of October 8, so is it then due Sunday, October 14 at midnight like our blogs? (That would be great for me and allow me some much needed r and r time at Celtic Classic today as I got blind-sided by having to have my graduation portfolio in ASAP for the M.Ed.).

    1. You could use on source, i.e., one essay if that is all you need. I could write a hundred pages just on Said, I am guessing! Midnight Sunday, October 14, would be just fine with me.

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