ENGL 698 "Capstone: Hamilton"

Spring 2018 ~ T, 7:05 p.m.

Schedule of Classes | Web Resources | Message Board

Discussion Question Schedule

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


Required Texts
Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording) (2015)
Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter, Hamilton: The Revolution, Being the Complete Libretto of the Broadway Musical, with a True Account of its Creation, and Concise Remarks on Hip-Hop, The Power of Stories, and the New America (2016) (Hatchette)
Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton (2004) (Penguin)
Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone, 1776: A Musical Play (1969) (Penguin)
In the Heights (Original Broadway Cast Recording) (2008)
Graff and Birkenstein, “They Say/I Say”: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing, 3rd Edition (Norton)
Class Pack (available online via Canvas)
DVD/online: 1776 (Dir. Peter Hunt, 1972); Gypsy (Starring Imelda Staunton, 2015); West Side Story (Dir. Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise, 1961); selected video documentaries and clips.

Course Description
This capstone course examines the award-winning musical Hamilton as art and popular culture. Our investigation will begin by familiarizing ourselves with Ron Chernow's biography and selected writings by Alexander Hamilton which Lin-Manuel Miranda used as the basis for the musical as well as with theories of adaptation. We will then consider the literary art and popular culture that Miranda has identified as important to him as an artist, including the formal conventions of the musical genre, works by Stephen Sondheim, rap and hip-hop music, and other aspects of 20th and 21st century popular culture. We'll conclude by looking into the fan response to and cultural phenomenon of Hamilton, both in print and online, and Hamilton's emerging role as an icon of popular culture. Our companion along the way will be the "Hamiltome," Miranda's annotated script of the musical and its short essays. Throughout, our goal will be to discover Hamilton's contribution to literary and cultural history and to understand why this musical has established itself as a defining moment in early 21st century art and culture in the U.S. and abroad.

Course Objectives: ENGL 698 "Capstone" is a writing- and discussion-intensive course which provides a culminating experience for the English major. Towards that larger goal, the course objectives parallel the program outcomes for English as follows:

Readings and Class Participation: Given the course objectives and learning outcomes stated above, this class will foreground discussion. Class participation is therefore expected and will count for 20% of your final grade. This portion of your grade includes your contributions to our discussions in class (in large and small groups) and to our discussions on the online message board (further information below). 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. Excessive absences from our weekly meeting (three or more) may result in failure of the course.

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. However, subsequent absences will lower your final course grade; excessive absences (three or more) or excessive lateness/early departure may result in failure of the course. While I appreciate your offering explanations for your absence, the only way to excuse an absence is to provide me with an official letter from your dean or advisor or an official notice of illness from the Health Center or your doctor. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to find out from another class member any announcements or assignments.

Class Discussion Questions: As part of the class participation grade, students will sign up in pairs to prepare discussion questions for one of our class sessions. Questions for class discussion (4-5 in number) should highlight issues or themes you think we should address in our class discussion of the assigned texts for that day. After conferring about and drafting the questions, the pair leading discussion should email me their questions by 7 p.m. the night before; I will confirm receipt and offer any suggestions for the order or focus of the questions.

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, 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 semesterr.

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 698), and then “Message Board” to login to Canvas and go directly to the “Discussions.” (You may also login to the K-State Online course page for ENGL 698, click on “Discussions.”)
2. You should see all the messages posted to date and the newest threads ones 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.

Papers and Response Papers: All students will write two formal papers: Paper #1 (4 pages in length) which offers a literary analysis of Hamilton, and Paper #2 which analyzes Hamilton through the lens of historical or contemporary research about a person, place, or cultural reference mentioned in the muscial and is designed to help others understand and appreciate Hamilton.

You will have a choice of three topics for Paper #1, and you will have a choice of many topics for Paper #2; I will distribute detailed assignment sheets for each paper. Both papers should 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. Title pages and cover sheets are unnecessary. Pages should be numbered, stapled together, and spell-checked. 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. (Note: 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.)

You will also write four response papers (2 pages in length) in response to our readings or viewings. Response papers are designed to prepare you for class discussion and to explore ideas you could develop further in your longer papers. In your response paper, you should not repeat previous class discussions or provide a mere summary of our assigned texts. Instead, your response should begin to analyze the text or texts assigned for that class session, responding to the assigned prompt or selecting an issue or theme or question you feel to be significant. I recommend that you select a word, phrase, or short quotation to initiate your response. (See the sample response distributed on the first day of class as an example.)

Everyone will write a response paper for our first reading assignment from Chernow’s biography (Alexander Hamilton 1-309), for 1776, and for our discussion of Hamilton on stage; for the fourth response paper, you may choose from the remaining assigned texts on the syllabus. Response papers are due at the start of class on the day we begin our discussion of the texts. Responses will be graded on a 1-5 scale: 5=A, 4=B, 3=C, 2=D, 1=F. I do not accept late response papers.

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 24. Additional information will be distributed the second week of class, but here are brief descriptions:
Professional Development: During the semester, you will complete three tasks (e.g., participate in a career development workshop/activity, conduct an information interview, and complete a task selected in consultation with me) to help you translate your work in English to professional contexts and explore professional options.
Project Presentations: Our last evening of class, you will share the results of Paper #2 in person with others in a poster-style format. Papers that receive high marks (B or higher) will also become entries for an online resource for all to read.

Online and video resources: Along with some required viewing (see the "DVD/online" items listed under "Required Texts") and required online reading, I will refer you to resources available online or on video to complement our readings and discussions. Links within the online "Schedule of Classes" will take you to related online resources. I will add and update these resources as the semester progresses; if you locate a site or page which you find valuable, please let me know, and I'll consider adding it to the existing links.
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 reading or writing assignments, your thesis statement for an essay, 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 papers are due, or if you have questions about material we discuss in class. Please feel free to stop by during office hours (M, W 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.

Conceal Carry Statement: In this class, students will be asked on a regular basis to participate in activities (i.e., engaging in group work) that may require students to either be separated from their bags or be prepared to keep their bags with them at all times during such activities. Students are encouraged to take the online weapons policy education module <http://www.k-state.edu/police/weapons/index.html> to ensure they understand the requirements related to concealed carry.
The shorter paper (Paper #1) will count for 10%, the longer paper (Paper #2) will count for 20%, and your presentation of Paper #2 (for others, in person and online) and its revision will count for 10%. Response papers will count for 20% of your final grade; the multi-media project will count for 10% of your final grade. Class participation (20%) and your work on professional development (10%) complete the requirements.

Schedule of Classes (Subject to change.)

Note: All assigned reading should be completed by the date listed.
[CP] = Class Pack, via K-State Online. [H] = Hamilton: The Revolution. [W] = web.

First Impressions and Motivating Desires
January 16 Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording) (2015); Lin-Manuel Miranda, libretto for Hamilton [H]; video capture of Acts 1 and 2 of Hamilton [W]

Biography, Historiography, and Adapation

Chernow, Alexander Hamilton (1-309); Hutcheon, from A Theory of Adaptation (ix-xii, 1-32, 120-28) [CP]
Response Paper #1 Due (2 pages) on Chernow


Chernow, Alexander Hamilton (310-738); "Introduction" (10-11), Chapter I (14-15), Chapter III (32-33), Chapter VII (58-59), Chapter XIII (107-109), Chapter XIX (164-7), Chapter XXX (263-265), Chapter XXXI (270-71) [H]
Discussion #1
Introduction of assignments for Paper #1 and Paper #2

Musical Theater: Conventions and Reinventions

February 6 Broadway: The American Musical: Episode 1 "Give My Regards to Broadway (1893-1927)" and Episode 5 "Tradition (1957-1975)" [W]. Optional: Episode 6 "Putting It Together (1980-2004)" [W].
Selected readings on the musical form [CP]
Chapter II (20-22), Chapter V (46-7), Chapter X (88-90), Chapter XII (102-3),Chapter XX (172-5), Chapter XXI (180-5), Chapter XXIV (214-17) [H]
13 Styne, Sondheim, and Laurents, Gypsy (1959) [CP] and in performance with Imelda Staunton (2015), available via Amazon Video
Discussion #2
Selection of paper topic for Paper #2 from list provided (bring 3-4 topics to class)
  20 Edwards and Stone, 1776: A Musical Play (1969) and in performance, directed by Peter Hunt (1972), available via Amazon Video
Response Paper #2 Due (2 pages) on 1776
  27 West Side Story (1957, 1961), available via Amazon Video, and In the Heights (2008) soundtrack, available via iTunes, Spotify, and more.
In the Heights: Chasing Broadway Dreams [W: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6]
Discussion #3 & Discussion #4
March F 2 Paper #1 Due (4 pages) M.L.A. documentation format.
  6 Hamilton's music and orchestration
Selected readings on hip-hop and rap by Neal, Chang, Bradley, and Bartlett [CP]; selected recordings from artists including DMX, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Mobb Deep, The Notorious B.I.G., Busta Rhymes, Big Pun, Jay Z, Pharrell, Ja Rule, and Kendrick Lamar.
Review "My Shot," "The Story of Tonight," "Ten Duel Commandments," "What'd I Miss?," "Cabinet Battle #1," and "Cabinet Battle #2" in performance and with Miranda's annotations; Chapter V (46-7), Chapter VI (52-55), Chapter VIII (68-9), Chapter IX (78-9), Chapter XI (94-5), Chapter XII (196-8), Chapter XXV (222-3) [H]
  13 Hamilton’s set design, lighting, costuming, and choreography
Selected readings and videos about the stage production [CP].
Review "Alexander Hamilton," "My Shot," "Satisfied," "Yorktown," "Dear Theodosia," "Room Where It Happens," "Hurricane," and "Burn" in performance and with Miranda's annotations; Chapter IV (38-41), Chapter XIV (112-17), Chapter XVI (132-36), Chapter XXVI (225-28) [H]
Discussion #5
Response Paper #3 Due (2 pages) on staging Hamilton
  20 Spring Break

"Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story": Responses to Hamilton


Selected readings about Hamilton's representation of history: Schuessler, from the NYT; Kelly, Freeman, Schocket, Carp, and Isenberg, from the Journal of the Early Republic [CP]
Discussion #6
Writing Workshop I for Paper #2: Complete initial research for the person, place, or cultural reference for Paper #2; bring to class, in hard-copy, draft thesis claim and “Works Cited.”

April 3 Selected readings about Hamilton's representations of gender, race, and ethnicity [CP]; Chapter XXIII (205-8), Chapter XXV (222-3), "The Slavery Debate" (212) [H]; deleted songs [W]
Discussion #7

Selected readings about Hamilton's impact on education and young audiences [CP]; Chapter XVIII (156-60) [H]
Writing Workshop II for Paper #2: Prepare draft of Paper #2 and “Works Cited,” and bring two hard-copies to class.


Selected readings about Hamilton's impact on Broadway and musical theater; Chapter XVII (148-50), Chapter XXVII (240-44) [H]

F 20

Paper #2 due (5 pages) to my mailbox in ECS 119 in hard-copy and to my email inbox as a Word attachment by 5:00pm.

  24 Selected readings about Hamilton's impact on politics, popular culture, and fandom [CP]; Chapter XXIX (256-7); Epilogue (384-5) [H]
Hamilton's America [W]
May 1

Project presentations

  8 Revision of Paper #2 due (5 pages) to my mailbox in ECS 119 in hard-copy and to my email inbox as a Word attachment by 8:00 p.m. Professional development tasks due by to my mailbox in ECS 119 in hard-copy by 8:00 p.m.