Daily Schedule

Weekly schedule. Subject to change—be attentive to the most updated version on this page.

Date Reading due Writing due
Week 15: Peer-review workshops and presentations
Tuesday, Dec 1
  • Peer review group papers
Peer Review Worksheet x 3
Thursday, Dec 3
  • finish peer review
 In class: brainstorm 4 outcomes
Week 16: Portfolios                                                                                               
Tuesday, Dec 8 Last day of class:In class: work on common writing errors

Come with questions about your 1st or final papers

Exams period
Wed, Dec 16 No finals meeting! Get outta here. Portfolio due

Week 1: Introductions

Thursday, Aug 27

In class: several introductions to novels (Huckleberry Finn, Robinson Crusoe, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym) and several hoaxes.

Blog post (by Friday at 5pm): What is a hoax? What is the distinction between literature and a hoax?

Week 2: Humbug & The Freak Show

Tuesday, Sept 1

  • Little Seagull, W14
  • Barnum selections (on course reserves)
  • Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Extraordinary Bodies, chapter 3 (electronic access through library)

Take the Little Seagull quiz (21 question version) and email me the results

Thursday, Sept 3

  • Terry Eagleton, “What is Literature?” (on course reserves)
  • Little Seagull, W1&2

Blog post (by Thursday at 8am): What tactics do people commonly rely on to persuade others that their hoaxes are the real deal? Use Barnum’s promo for either Joice Heth  (p.104) or the Feejee Mermaid (p. 109) to illustrate your point with specific examples. What makes for a successful or unsuccessful hoax?

Week 3: Media Hoaxes & Satire

Tuesday, Sept 8

In class: The Memory Palace, “The Moon in the Sun

Take notes comparing and contrasting Poe’s essay with the New York Sun pieces.

Thursday, Sept 10

In class: Assignment 1 distributed

Blog post (by Thursday at 8am): Select a text from the readings for today, i.e., an article from The Onion. Using the terms of the “rhetorical triangle” that we discussed this week, write a brief (c.250-350 words) rhetorical analysis of your source. Be sure to use specific evidence to back up your claims.

Week 4: Media Hoaxes, pt. 2: War of the Worlds

Tuesday, Sept 15

  • Come to class with notes on how the original broadcast establishes a convincing tone. Then, take notes on specific techniques used in the video and audio documentaries to convey information and make a claim. How are they different? How the same?

Thursday, Sept 17

  • Complete draft of Paper 1

Blog post (by Thursday at 8am): Revise your blog post from last week to make it a more effective rhetorical analysis. Then, comment on the post and explain what changes you’ve made.

Week 5: The Supernatural

Tuesday, Sept 22

  • Readings from The Strange Case of William Mumler (on course reserves)
  • Charles Case, “The Ghost and Mr. Mumler” (on course reserves)·
  • Karl Schoonover, “Ectoplasms, Evanescence, and Photography” (on course reserves)·

Blog post (by Tuesday at 8am):Post an image you have doctored to suggest supernatural presence, or, alternatively, another hoax of interest to you. You can do this as high-tech or low-tech as you like. Explore the library’s resources, which include computers stocked with software. If you don’t have a camera and want one, you can check them out on campus!Post the image to the course website with a brief reflection on the hardest and easiest parts. Was it easy to make something convincing? What challenges did you face?

Thursday, Sept 24

In class: clips from The Blair Witch Project

Assignment 2 distributed

Paper 1 due

In class: Paper 1 reflection

Week 6: Science vs. Pseudoscience

Tuesday, Sept 29

Blog post (by Tuesday at 8am):Propose a topic for your hoax podcast, explaining why it will be well-suited to the podcast medium, and how you plan to take advantage of the auditory format. In arguing for why your tactics will be successful, provide examples from the podcasts we’ve listened to.

Thursday, Oct 1

  • Watch An Honest Liar (available on multiple platforms–$0.99 to rent on Amazon)

In-class: Visit from David Morgen to talk about podcast production

Blog post (by Thursday at 8am): Propose two possible “brands” or styles for your podcast, specifying what techniques you would use to achieve each. Include comments on what audience each targets.

Week 7: Science vs. Pseudoscience, pt. 2

Tuesday, Oct 6

  • Link a word doc to a blog post in which you: A) give a detailed description of your audience, and B) present a first draft of your podcast.

Thursday, Oct 8

  • Leslie Jamison, “The Devil’s Bait” (on course reserves)
  • Link a work doc to a blog post with a revised and final script (though you can always ad lib a bit when you’re actually recording). Identify whether you will need voice actors and how many.

Week 8: In which we do not see one another

Tuesday, Oct13

Fall Break

Thursday, Oct 15

No class (attend Wednesday lecture)

Podcast due by Saturday, 10/17 at 5pm

Week 9: Presenting podcasts & literary hoaxes

Tuesday, Oct 20

In class: present podcasts

Thursday, Oct 22


  • Research paper assigned

Blog post (by Thursday at 8am): c.250 words. What were your favorite features of other people’s podcasts? What made particular podcasts so successful? What ideas would you steal if you could?

Week 10: Hoax literature

Tuesday, Oct 27

Blog post (by Tuesday at 8am): Perform a 250-word close reading of a sentence or two of your research paper subject (provide that sentence). Start by minutely dissecting the language as we’ve done in class–look at syntax, perspective, verbs, adjectives, evocative images, and so on. After having that established, zoom out to  relate that quote to your source as a whole–how does it tell you about character development, tone, metaphor, themes, tropes, appeals to the reader, development of the story, etc etc. Point to specific words, phrases, or images as evidence.(In-class writing: pull one more piece of evidence from your paper 1 source and close read)

Thursday, Oct 29

Library visit

Blog post (by Thursday at 8am): Suggest three possible research questions about the subject of your final paper.

Week 11: Memoir

Tuesday, Nov 3

  • Selections from The Education of Little Tree (on course reserves)
  • Henry Louis Gates, Jr., “’Authenticity,’ or the Lesson of Little Tree” (on course reserves)
  • Allen Barra, “The Education of Little Fraud
  • LitWeb, “Effective Quotation” (read “Rules” and “Useful Strategies”)

Prospectus for final paper (by Monday at 5pm)

Thursday, Nov 5

  • Little Seagull, W12
  • LitWeb, “Citation and Documentation” (read both parenthetical and works cited)–for a more comprehensive list of documentation, see Little Seagull, p 109-112).
  • Re-read your first paper & be prepared for in-class revision of citations and quotation integration.

Blog post (by Thursday at 8am) Find an illuminating secondary source for your research question. Explain where you found it, what search terms got you there, and why you’ve chosen this one as opposed to others. Summarize your source and explain how it changes how you are approaching your topic. Provide a proper citation for your source.

Week 12: Workshops

Tuesday, Nov 10

Before class: Begin to revise Paper 1 (your rhetorical analysis) with attention to 1) incorporating more or stronger evidence from your primary source; 2) improving your close readings of that source; 3) incorporating your evidence more elegantly or effectively; and 4) citing your evidence appropriately.Remember to save your revision into a new file as you work!

Blog post: Compose a paragraph or two describing your revisions. Include quotations of old and new text and explain how you’ve improved the essay.

In class: revision of paper 1 thesis & reverse outlining

Thursday, Nov 12

Exploratory essay and bibliography with introductory thesis

In class: from research to outline

Week 13: Passing, pt. 2

Tuesday, Nov 17

Blog post (by Tuesday at 8am): Building on your annotated bibliography and any research you’ve done since, outline your final essay, including your thesis, topic sentences, and quotations that you think will be of use.

Thursday, Nov 19

Class cancelled for individual conferences

Week 14: Passing, pt. 2

Tuesday, Nov 24

No class: workday for papersResearch paper due to me and your peer review group by midnight

Thursday, Nov 26

Thanksgiving Break