ENGL 440 "Harry Potter's Library"

Spring 2016 ~ Tuesdays, 7:05 p.m.

Schedule of Classes | Web Resources | Message Board

Professor Westman
108 English/ Counseling Services; 532-2171
Office Hours: T, U 9:00-10:00 a.m. and by app't


Required Texts
Roald Dahl, James and the Giant Peach (Puffin)
C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (HarperCollins)
E. Nesbit, The Phoenix and the Carpet (Puffin)
Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass (Knopf)
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Scholastic)
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Scholastic)
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Scholastic)
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Scholastic)
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Scholastic)
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Scholastic)
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Scholastic)
Jonathan Stroud, The Amulet of Samarkand (Miramax / Hyperion)
Class Pack for ENGL 440 (Available online via K-State Online)
Additional critical readings (Available online)
Recommended Text
Anelli, Harry, A History (Pocket Books)
Note: Prerequisites for taking ENGL 440 include at least one of the following: English 210 (Honors English) or English 200 (Expository Writing 2). Also, please finish reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets before the first day of class.

Course Description
This class will examine the Harry Potter phenomenon by reading the novels themselves and the works of Rowling's antecedents, influences, and contemporaries. We will approach these works from a variety of critical perspectives, and we will also consult selected secondary sources. In this class, education will not be a passive experience: I expect discussion, debate, and exchanges of ideas.

Course Objectives

Readings and Class Participation: Any literature course is a reading-intensive experience, so plan accordingly! Our class will be based on discussion, so class participation is expected and will count for 20% of your final grade. "Class participation" is not the same as just showing up and taking notes: you must be an active presence in the class. To participate, you must complete the reading assigned for each class session, think carefully about what you have read, and come to class ready to share your ideas. For each class, bring the appropriate book or course pack reading, so you can not only contribute to discussion but also mark passages that we discuss; this process will help you understand, remember, and review.

Your participation grade includes your contributions to our discussions in class (in large and small groups) and to our discussions on our online message board. I will expect at least one posting a week from each student to the message board; the guidelines and instructions for using the message board appear below.

Attendance: The University requires that students attend all classes in which they are enrolled, and so your attendance is required. Further, your attendance is important to the success of our discussions. However, I recognize that the unexpected will happen. Therefore, you will not be penalized for your first absence. Thereafter, further absences will jeopardize your final course grade. Excessive or repeated lateness will also jeopardize your final grade. Excessive absences (three or more – that is, nine classroom hours) may result in failure of the course. If you wish to receive a passing grade in this class, then, attendance is important.

While I appreciate your offering explanations for absences, the only way to excuse an absence is to provide me with an official letter from your dean or academic advisor or an official notice of illness from the Health Center or your doctor. Classroom work or homework assignments missed due to absence cannot be made up. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to find out from another class member any announcements or assignments.

Quizzes: Expect a quiz at the start of most class sessions. Quizzes are designed to test your knowledge of the reading assigned for that class session and the critical skills we develop and practice during our discussions. The quizzes will consist of identifications and interpretive questions which will help you improve your critical skills and will allow me to evaluate those skills and your comprehension of the material.

I reserve the option to replace a quiz with a two-page, typed response paper, due at the start of class; if assigned, response papers would be in response to a particular interpretative question distributed at the previous class session. Quizzes (and response papers) will be graded on a scale of 1 to 5 points: 5=A, 4=B, 3=C, 2=D, 1=F. I will average the points at the end of the course after dropping the lowest grade.

Online Message Board: To offer another venue for discussion, we'll be using an online message board in K-State Online. Each week, each student is required to post at least one paragraph-length comment about the materials we're reading and discussing in class. I will read these discussions and assess a grade (at the end of the semester) based on the thoughtfulness of your comments, their ability to foster discussion among your classmates, and their responsiveness both to our readings and to your classmates' comments in class and on the board. I'll provide some weekly question prompts as I follow these conversations, and I may also participate in the discussion, but I see the message board primarily as a way for you to raise issues we haven't addressed -- or addressed fully or to your satisfaction -- during our regular class meetings. The work contributed to the message board can become source material for more formal writing assignments.

The weekly message board will run from Saturday to Friday, to encourage you to post right after as well as before our weekly class discussions, but I encourage you to contribute your ideas throughout the week and to check the board for others' postings. Your postings do not need to be long, but they do need to be substantive: they must be long enough to convey clearly the problem you are taking up and your point of view, connecting your comment to others' comments whenever possible. I will offer models of successful comments early in the semester.

To post to the message board, follow these directions:

1. Go to my homepage at http://www.ksu.edu/english/westmank and click on our course (ENGL 440), and then “Message Board” to login to K-State Online Canvas and go directly to “Discussions.” (You may also login to the K-State Online course page for ENGL 440 and click on “Discussions.”)
2. You should see all the messages posted to date and the newest threads first.
3. To post, choose to “reply,” so you can engage directly in the conversation and your message can “thread” beneath the one you’re responding to.

Paper: You will write only one formal paper (5-7 pages) in this class: a persuasive argument in essay form, which will use one or two of our assigned texts to argue for your interpretation of the theme(s). Your paper follow the general rules of composition and be typed or word-processed with standard double-spacing, 1-inch margins, and either 11- or 12-point typeface. Pages should be numbered, stapled together, and spell-checked. Your name, my name, the date, and the type of assignment should appear in the upper-left hand corner of the first page. Title pages and cover sheets are unnecessary. Papers are due by the date and time on the syllabus; late papers will be penalized one grade (i.e.: A to B) for each day late.

A note on sources: The University's Honor Code obliges you to cite the source of any idea that is not your own. Otherwise, you have plagiarized. If you do plagiarize, you will fail this course. A "Works Cited" page should accompany any assignment that cites books and other outside sources, and you should use the MLA method for documenting sources. When you turn in a paper, you pledge that the work is your own and that you have faithfully abided by the guidelines for documenting sources. The University's Honor Code obliges you to cite the source of any idea that is not your own. If you quote, paraphrase, or use another's ideas, you must give credit to the person whose ideas you are using. Otherwise, you have plagiarized. If you have any questions, please ask.

Multi-Media Project: You will choose one of four possible multi-media projects to complete during the semester. Your multi-media project can be submitted on any class day but must be turned in no later than Tuesday April 26. Each project should demonstrate insight and understanding of the text with which it connects, should be thoughtfully constructed, and should be presented professionally with attention to detail.  Refer to the grading rubrics (posted in K-State Online as of January 26) for detailed grading criteria. The assignment will be distributed next week, but here are brief descriptions:

Examination: You will have a mid-term exam and a cumulative final exam. A missed exam counts as a zero; no make-up exams will be offered without an excuse from your dean, academic advisor, or doctor.

Email: I highly recommend email as a way of touching base with me about your work for the class -- a kind of virtual office hours. You can send me queries about readings, writing assignments, or anything else that could be handled with a quick exchange of messages. I check my email throughout the day, but please remember that I am not perpetually online.

Conferences: I want you to succeed in this course, and I am happy to meet with you about your work and your progress. I encourage you to see me before exams or papers are due, or if you have questions about material we discuss in class. Please feel free to stop by during office hours (T, U 9:00-10:00 a.m.), or contact me by phone or email to arrange a more convenient time to meet.

Note: If you have any condition such as a physical or learning disability that will make it difficult for you to carry out the work as I have outlined it or which will require academic accommodations, please notify me in the first two days of the course. Any student with a disability who needs a classroom accommodation, access to technology, assistance during an emergency evacuation, or other assistance in this course should contact the Student Access Center (formerly Disability Support Services) and/or me. The SAC serves students with a wide range of disabilities including, but not limited to, physical disabilities, sensory impairments, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, depression, and anxiety.

Academic Honesty: Kansas State University has an Honor System based on personal integrity, which is presumed to be sufficient assurance that, in academic matters, one’s work is performed honestly and without unauthorized assistance. Undergraduate and graduate students, by registration, acknowledge the jurisdiction of the Honor System. The policies and procedures of the Honor System apply to all full and part-time students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate courses on-campus, off-campus, and via distance learning. The honor system website can be reached <http://www.k-state.edu/honor/>. A component vital to the Honor System is the inclusion of the Honor Pledge which applies to all assignments, examinations, or other course work undertaken by students. The Honor Pledge is implied, whether or not it is stated: "On my honor, as a student, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this academic work." If you have any questions about your work in relation to the Honor System, please ask.

Expectations for Student Conduct: All student activities in the University, including this course, are governed by the Student Judicial Conduct Code as outlined in the Student Governing Association By Laws, Article VI, Section 3, number 2. Students who engage in behavior that disrupts the learning environment may be asked to leave the class.

Quizzes 20%
Class Participation 20%
In-class 10%
Postings 10%
Multi-Media Project 10%
Paper 15%
Midterm 15%
Final Exam 20%

Schedule of Classes (Subject to change.)

Note: All assigned reading should be completed by the date listed.
[CP] = Online class pack, posted to K-State Online [W] = web

January 19 J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1997, 1998) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998, 1999).
26 Thomas Hughes, excerpts from Tom Brown's School Days (1857) [CP]; Enid Blyton, First Term at Malory Towers (1946) [CP]. Recommended: Roald Dahl, excerpt from Boy; Pratchett, excerpt from Pyramids (1984) [CP]
February 2 E. Nesbit, The Phoenix and the Carpet (1904); Rowling, "Let Me Tell You a Story" (2000) [CP]; Clement Freud, Grimble (1968) [CP]
  9 C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950)
16 Roald Dahl, James and the Giant Peach (1961); Rowling, "Foreword" to Families Like Us: The One Parent Families Good Book Guide (2000) [CP] and "The Not Especially Fascinating Life So Far of J. K. Rowling" (1998) [CP]
23 Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999). Philip Hensher, "Harry Potter, give me a break" (2000); Harold Bloom, "Can 35 Million Book Buyers Be Wrong? Yes" (2000); Jessy Randall, "Wizard Words: The Literary, Latin, and Lexical Origins of Harry Potter's Vocabulary" (2001); Nel, "You Say 'Jelly,' I Say 'Jell-O': Harry Potter and the Transfiguration of Language" [all CP]
Sat 27 "The Weapon We Have is Love: A Fandom Concert for Literacy," featuring performances of wizard rock, 8 p.m. (Optional)
March 1

Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000)

Also read at least one of the following: Westman, "Specters of Thatcherism: Contemporary British Culture in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter Series" (2002); Ximena Gallardo C. and C. Jason Smith, “Cinderfella: J. K. Rowling’s Wily Web of Gender”; Schoefer, "Harry Potter's Girl Trouble"; Dresang, "Hermione Granger and the Heritage of Gender" [all CP]

  8 Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003), through Chapter 17 (373). Midterm Exam.
  No Class -- Spring Break
22 Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003), to end.
29 Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005)
April 5 Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007), through Chapter 22 (444)
  12 Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007), to end.
19 Responses to the Harry Potter series
  • Literary Value and Marketing:
    • Jack Zipes, "The Phenomenon of Harry Potter, or Why All the Talk?" (2001) [CP]
    • John Pennington, "From Elfland to Hogwarts, or the Aesthetic Trouble with Harry Potter"(2002) [CP]
    • A.S. Byatt, "Harry Potter and the Childish Adult" [CP]
    • Sarah Green, "Letter to the Editor" (2003) [CP]
    • Donnelly, "Paperback Writer" (2004) [CP]
    • Philip Nel, "Is There a Text in This Advertising Campaign?: Literature, Marketing, and Harry Potter" (2005) [CP]
    • Horne, "Harry and the Other: Answering the Race Question in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter" (2010) [CP]
    • Bennett, "What a Racebent Hermione Granger Really Represents" (2015) [CP, W]
    • Ramaswamy, "Can Hermione Be Black?" (2015) [W]
    • Jacobs, "Harry Potter and the Battle against Bigotry" (2014) [W]
  • Religious Concerns:
    • The Onion's "Harry Potter Books Spark Rise in Satanism Among Children" (2000) [CP]
    • "Did you know??????"(email, 2001) [CP]
    • Kimbra Wilder Gish, "Hunting Down Harry Potter: An Exploration of Religious Concerns About Children's Literature" (2000) [CP]
    • Nancy Churnin, "Easing Up on Harry Potter" [CP]
    • Griesinger, “Harry Potter and the ‘Deeper Magic’”(2002)
  • Rowling Speaks:
26 Jonathan Stroud , The Amulet of Samarkand (2003)
  F 29 Paper due by 5 p.m. to my mailbox in ECS 119
May 3 Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass (1995); review for final exam
10 Final Exam: Short Answer and Essay, 6:20-8:10 p.m.


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Email: westmank@ksu.edu
Last updated 19 January 2016