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Course Syllabus

Course: ENGL 2300

Division: Humanities
Department: English & Philosophy
Title: Introduction to Shakespeare

Semester Approved: Fall 2015
Five-Year Review Semester: Fall 2020
End Semester: Fall 2021

Catalog Description: Shakespeare remains one of the most popular playwrights in the English Language. Who is he?  Why is he considered so important?  What meaning did his works have in his own time?  Are they applicable to today's culture?  This course will examine these questions by examining a sampling of Shakespeare's plays and poetry from a variety of critical perspectives.

General Education Requirements: Humanities (HU)
Semesters Offered: TBA
Credit/Time Requirement: Credit: 3; Lecture: 3; Lab: 0

Justification: An introduction to Shakespeare is standard at most colleges and universities.; This course will transfer as General Education, elective , or major credit.; It fulfills General Education credit within the Humanities category (HU) and major requirements for English majors.The Humanities are a group of academic disciplines that study the many ways by which humans have attempted to understand themselves and their world.; At Snow College, the Humanities focus on cultural traditions that are expressed largely through text or which have a strong textual component: languages, literature, and philosophy.; The methods by which the Humanities study culture are at once analytical and interpretative, objective and subjective, historical and aesthetic.

General Education Outcomes:
1: A student who completes the GE curriculum will have a fundamental knowledge of human cultures and the natural world, with particular emphasis on American institutions, the social and behavioral sciences, the physical and life sciences, the humanities, the fine arts and personal wellness.  An important goal of this course is to foster an appreciation of literature in general. After completing this course, students are prepared to recognize and enjoy literary works for intellectual as well as visceral reasons. Students read and discuss a selection of significant and representative works by Shakespeare encompassing his various dramatic genres and poetic forms to understand his dramatic and poetic development. Quizzes, writing assignments, examinations, special projects, and class discussions will ask students to consider readings in a variety of contexts.

2: A student who completes the GE curriculum can read, retrieve, evaluate, interpret, and deliver information using a variety of traditional and electronic media. Students read a variety of primary Shakespearean texts and are quizzed on content. Discussion questions, writing prompts, and writing assignments are designed to elicit constructive and critical responses (e.g. "What values or beliefs are transmitted through this piece of literature?" "What is Shakespeare trying to communicate through this piece of literature and what strategies does he employ to accomplish that goal?")

3: A student who completes the GE curriculum can speak and write effectively and respectfully as a member of the global community, and work effectively as a member of a team. Students write on a regular basis demonstrating the validity of various theses in diverse writing assignments. Writing assignments are designed around the collaborative model and incorporate all elements of the writing process. Written assignments will be returned with suggestions for improving the student's writing skills.

6: A student who completes the GE curriculum can reason analytically, critically, and creatively about nature, culture, facts, values, ethics, and civic policy. Students are asked to critically evaluate rhetorical choices Shakespeare makes in order to understand and interpret the literature. Students are also asked to understand the development of ideas, movements, and genres in the works of Shakespeare as reflected through representative texts. Students will demonstrate their ability to read and think critically about literature, understand its context, and interpret meaning through essay exams, papers, and class discussion.

Student Learning Outcomes:
Ask and explore a variety of philosophical and theoretical questions about human thought and experience.
Though the study of a representative selection of Shakespeare's plays and poetry, students will examine a variety of philosophical questions about human thought and experience (i.e. good vs. evil, honor, the function of war, nation, and social inequities like race, gender, class, and sexuality). Class discussions, essays, and exams will allow students to demonstrate they are capable of articulating and comprehending ways that British writers and thinkers (particularly Shakespeare) address various issues related to their experiences both specifically and more generally. 

Understand how knowledge is created through the study of language systems, literature, and/or philosophy.
Through the practice of close reading, students will understand how knowledge is created within the field of literature, particularly in Shakespeare studies. Students will be able to understand how such things as history, audience, authorial choices in relation to the text, and personal biases impact the reading of a text. Students will be asked to demonstrate their ability to read closely on exams and in written assignments. 

Understand cultural traditions within an historical context and make connections with the present.
Students will understand cultural development in England during Shakespeare's lifetime as presented through literature. They will also be able to discuss and write about representative works of Shakespeare in historical context and be able to demonstrate connections with contemporary culture through class discussions, quizzes, written assignments, and exams. 

Critically read and respond to primary texts (original, uninterpreted) from a Humanities' perspective.
Students will be able to read, interpret, analyze, and respond to a representative selection of primary Shakespearen texts. Reading strategies, journaling, discussion, and exams will allow students to demonstrate an ability to read critically in order to understand, explain, and evaluate literary texts. 

Write effectively within the Humanities discipline to analyze and form critical and aesthetic judgments.
Students will be able to write interpretive/analytic/argumentative papers that are supported through textual analysis. They will be given feedback from both the instructor and classmates on written drafts and then given an opportunity to revise. They will demonstrate ability in analysis and rewriting through papers and presentations. Students will also demonstrate ability to analyze and form valid judgments in papers, presentations, discussion, and exams. 

English 2300 covers at least eight of Shakespeare's 37 plays, including two histories, two comedies, and two tragedies, demonstrating Shakespeare's development over time. Other plays may be included at the instructor's discretion, along with selections from the sonnets and narrative poems. The specific choices vary from semester to semester. Other concepts include prose, blank verse, sonnet, narrative poetry, the Unities, the four humours, the Great Chain of Being, microcosm/macrocosm, and other poetic and philosophical topics that inform the worldview of Shakespeare's plays. Material will be covered through lecture, group work, and class discussion.

Key Performance Indicators:
Journals, discussion questions/in-class work, oral reports 10-20% of final grade 

Writing Assignments: 40-50% of final grade 

Exams, quizzes: 15-30% of final grade 

Oral Presentations: 10-20% of final grade 







Representative Text and/or Supplies:
Greenblatt, Stephen, ed. The Norton Shakespeare. Current edition.

Pedagogy Statement:

Maximum Class Size: 30
Optimum Class Size: 20