Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Syllabus and Calendar

English 102-A81
Researching and Writing about Popular Music

TR: 1:15 – 2:30
Gambrell 205

Instructor:                Ben Harley
Office:                        Humanities Office Building 308
Office Hours:           Wednesday: 1:oo-2:00
                                    Thursday: 2:30-3:30
*If my office hours do not work for you, feel free to schedule an appointment with me for a mutually convenient time.
*Keep in mind that periodically through the semester my office hours will be replaced with workshops, which will be announced both in class and on this blog.

Catalog Description
This entire course—from the research, to the readings, to the writing—is grounded in popular music. Students learn vital rhetorical principles from the examples of popular bands such as Outkast, Mark Ronson, and The Kilimanjaro Dark Jazz Ensemble. Students will exclusively read pieces dedicated to understanding music: writing guides, album reviews, musician interviews, and academic essays. Finally, instead of writing standard papers, all student writing will be in the form of music articles posted to a music blog they create and sustain.

Carolina Core Description
This course fulfills the Carolina Core general education outcomes in Effective and Persuasive Communication Writing (CMW) and Information Literacy (INF). 

English 102 builds on English 101 to prepare you for the writing you will do in future college courses and beyond. While English 101 honed your ability to critically read and closely analyze particular texts, English 102 emphasizes helping you to write well-reasoned arguments that draw upon multiple sources and viewpoints. During the semester, you will learn to identify the elements of an effective argument, and then you’ll apply those principles in composing researched essays about academic and public issues.  This course will also strengthen your information literacy skills by teaching you strategies for finding, assessing, using, citing and documenting source materials. We will also discuss basic principles of academic integrity. You’ll learn these skills not by listening to me lecture about them but through frequent, intensive practice. By the end of the term, you should feel more confident about your ability to research and write about challenging topics responsibly and articulately.

Learning Outcomes
In English 102, you will:

Learn rhetorical concepts and terms that enable you to identify and analyze the elements of an effective argument.

Write effective college-level papers on a variety of academic and public issues, each of which articulates a central claim (thesis), draws on credible supporting evidence, and effectively addresses opposing viewpoints.

Do research to find, assess, and use appropriate supporting materials from the university libraries, the internet, and other sources.

Effectively integrate material from research into your papers via summary, paraphrase, and quotation.

Document source materials correctly using MLA style and understand basic principles of academic integrity.

Work through a full range of writing processes—including invention, planning, drafting, revision, and editing—in order to produce effective college-level essays.

Work with classmates
to share ideas and critique each other’s work in progress. 

Develop a clean, effective writing style, free of major errors, and adapt it to a variety of rhetorical situations. 

Required Texts
Woodworth, Marc and Ally-Jane Grossan, editors. How to Write about Music. Bloomsbury Academic, 2015.

Course Policies:
A “C” is the lowest passing grade in English 102. I grade on a 10-point scale (A=90-100; B+=88-89; B=80-87; C+=78-79; C=70-77; D+=68-69; D=60-67; F=50). I’ll specify more detailed requirements in each assignment. If you have a question about a grade you receive on an assignment, please feel free to discuss it with me in my office 24 hours after I have given you back the assignment.

Attendance: This class is grounded in workshop activities and class discussion, so it’s important to attend. If you do miss a class, it is your responsibility to catch up on any missed material. In accordance with University policy, anyone who misses 25% of our scheduled class periods will fail the course, and anyone who misses more than 10% will receive a one-letter deduction from the course grade. Please note that the University’s attendance policy does not distinguish between “excused” and “unexcused” absences and neither do I.

Class Participation and Courtesy: Please come to class promptly, prepared, and ready to do your best.  Treat classmates and their ideas with respect. Take an interest in your classmates’ work and accept constructive feedback of your own.  Don’t be afraid to share your ideas, ask questions, and have a sense of humor. Finally, remember to use electronic media appropriately during class.

Late Papers: All papers are due at the beginning of class on the specified dates in the format requested. I do not accept late work for any reason.

Academic Honesty: You are bound by the university’s policies on academic honesty, which bar you from presenting another person’s work or ideas as your own, allowing someone to write an assignment or part of an assignment for you, or neglecting to properly acknowledge source materials. First-Year English policy also prohibits you from recycling work—that is, from turning in a paper completed in another class for credit in this class. The university takes violations of these policies seriously; penalties include failing the course and expulsion from the university. You are also responsible for reading First Year English’s AcademicResponsibility Statement. We will learn about and discuss strategies for research and source use, citation, and documentation throughout the semester. If you have any questions about academic honesty or use of source materials, please come to me before the assignment is due.

Writing Assignments
This is a writing class, which means you will be asked to write not only during each class period but also outside the classroom as homework. Some of this writing will be short, informal, and ephemeral. Some of this writing will be substantial, well-crafted, and enduring. Below is a list of all the different writing assignments you will engage in this class and the percentage of your total grade that they are worth: 

In-Class Activities (6% Combined Average): I usually begin class by asking you to respond, as a comment, to a writing prompt posted on the class blog. Prompts are usually related to the day’s reading but will always be connected to course content. After everyone submits their responses, I will randomly select several students to read what they have written. The purpose of this rituals is to give you practice writing, get you comfortable sharing your writing with an audience, and spark the day’s conversation.Beyond these daily prompts you will also regularly engage in a variety of individual and group activities designed to hone both your analytical and creative skills. Group work is a vital aspect of education with clear parallels in life beyond college; part of the purpose of the English classroom is to develop in students ways to use discourse to negotiate personalities, opinions, and beliefs in order to create products in which a whole group can take pride. In short, group work is important.

Blog Posts (40% Combined Total):
In this class you will create seven (7) blog posts according to the guidelines provided in the various writing prompts below. Though each post must meet the requirements outlined in the prompt, they must also fit the needs of your specific brand. Staying on brand should always be your main concern. This means that you may need to find creative ways to meet the challenges of some of the writing assignments. For instance, if your blog only does single album reviews, then you will need to think about how to fit a genre history within that genre for post four. You can easily create such a solution, and you should not let the requirements of the prompts determine your brand. I will gladly work with you to develop solutions to any problems that pop up as you write your posts.

A “final” version of each post will be due before class on the day stated in the syllabus. I will, then, grade and provide written feedback to you. You may choose to keep the grade you receive on this version, or you may choose to revise the post by the end of the semester and ask for it to be regraded. To signal that you want a post regraded simply re-title it with the word “REVISED” included in all capital letters. I also ask that you highlight all changes you make to “REVISED” versions, so that I can see what you have changed. Below is a list of required blog posts and the percentage of your grade they are worth:

1.       Building Brand Identity (2%)
2.      Track by Track Analysis (4%)
3.      Holistic Album Review (4%)
4.      Genre History (6%)
5.      Cultural Critique (6%)
6.      Ideology/Philosophy (8%)
7.      Album Dissection (10%)

Worksheets (40% Combined Total): Before you compose each of your seven (7) blog posts, you will be asked to complete a worksheet related to the post topic. Each worksheet asks you to do research to find a source to use as a model for your writing, to inform your argument, or to extend your thinking on a topic. Though they are all different, each worksheet follows the same basic outline.

1.       Pre-Research Reflection
2.      Source Citation (MLA 8)
3.      Source Analysis Project
4.      Post-Research Reflection

The Source Analysis Project is the section that will most vary from worksheet to worksheet; it will often ask you to utilize non-alphabetic modes of analysis such as the use of visual and audio components. The reason for using different media is both to give you familiarity with tools you will likely be asked to use later in life and also to provoke you to think differently about the sources you have found. We use a variety of media for composing our analyses because different media uniquely constraint and enable expression, which causes new thoughts, ideas, and concepts to emerge.

All worksheets must be posted to Blackboard before class on the day they are due. Each section of the worksheet must be completed in order for you to earn credit; in other words, if any section of the worksheet is not completed, then the entire worksheet will be given a zero. Since worksheets reflect different levels of skill and effort, they are all worth a different percent of your grade. Below is a list of all worksheets, their worth, and a link to a longer explanation of the assignment:

1.      Branding Worksheet (2%)  
2.      Track by Track Worksheet (4%)
3.      Holistic Album Review Worksheet (4%)
4.      Genre History Worksheet (6%)
5.      Recorded Interview Worksheet (6%)
6.      Ideology/Philosophy Worksheet (8%)
7.      Album Dissection Worksheet (10%)

Peer Reviews (2% each): After completing research and worksheets for each post but prior to turning in “final” versions, you will be asked to post “Peer Review” versions of your blog posts. These drafts of your writing are posted online to be read by other students in the class. You will be placed in groups, read each other’s peer review versions, and discuss the experience of having read them. Since no one in the class is an expert, simply telling each other what to do will most likely be unsuccessful. Instead, summarizing what you got from the posts, explaining the ways that specific elements of the readings made you feel, discussing how you imagine the brand and audience when you visit the blog, sharing different techniques you have developed in your writing, and brainstorming solutions to different problems the author is having can be very useful. Ideally, peer reviews provide you with an audience who can tell you what it is like to read your writing as an outsider while also giving you the experience of reading someone-else-who-is-at-your-level’s work, both of which should help you to rethink, revise, and strengthen your writing. At least, workshops give you dedicated class-time to work on your posts.

Because I believe providing too much structure can stifle peer review, they are rather casual, but that does not mean they are time to ignore instructions or deviate from the work of the class. I grade workshops by flitting around groups sometimes participating and sometimes eavesdropping. If you are on task the entire time, you get full points. If you are not on task, you don’t get full points. 

Workshops: I will host seven optional workshops throughout the semester. Four of these are dedicated to helping you use the tools necessary to be successful in this class--when we discuss GIMP, Audacity, recording interviews, and write together--and three are dedicated to sharing experiences--when we dance together, watch ballet, and listen to sound art. Each of these is valuable in their own way, but are not vital to the topics of this class. If you choose to attend a workshop, your final grade in this course will be raised one percentage point. This means that if you attend all of the workshops, then you will receive a bonus of seven percentage points on your final grade. Currently workshops are scheduled for Monday at 4, but we can move them if necessary.  

Week 1

 T 1/10:                  In Class: Course Introduction, Rhetorical Situation, Branding 

R 1/12:                    In Class: Branding II; Approaching Music Writing
Reading: HTWAM Foreward (xi-xiii), Introduction and Expert Advice from Chapter 7 “The Blog Piece” (186-90); Hubspot“The Marketer’s Guide to Developing a Strong Corporate and Brand Identity” 
Due: Worksheet 1“Branding”

Week 2

T 1/17:                     In Class: Peer Review; Approaching Music Writing II
Reading: Wingell “Chapter 1: Writing About Music;” HTWAMIntroduction (1-3) and Expert Advice from Our Writers (13-16); Rand Group “Brand Consistency”
Due: Peer Review Version of Blog Post 1

Week 3

 M 1/23                   Optional Workshop: 4-5 in the Preston Seminar Room       
Activity: Dancing (Be Prepared to Move!)
Preparatory Materials: Let’s Dance: Synchronised Movement Helps Us Tolerate Pain and Foster Friendship          

T 1/24                     In Class: The Track by Track Analysis
Reading: HTWAM Kim Cooper “OnNeutral Milk Hotel” (67), Tavi Gevinson “On Taylor Swift” (76), and MaryGaitskill “On B-Movie” (73)

R 1/26                     In Class: Track by Track Analysis II; Focusing on the Sonic
Reading: Hawk and Smith “'Digimortal’: Sound in a World of Posthumanity”
Due: Worksheet 2 “Track by Track”

Week 4

T 1/31                      In Class: Peer Review; Moving from the Track to the Album
Reading: HTWAM Laurie Anderson “On Animal Collective’s Centipede HZ” (30) and Luke Turner “On Enya” (97)
Due: Peer Review Version of Blog Post 2 “Track by Track”

R 2/2                       In Class: The Holistic Album Review
Reading: HTWAM Introduction to Chapter 1 (18), Expert Advice from Chapter 1 (20), Ann Powers “On Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories” (24), Jim Derogatis “On Simon and Garfunkel’s Bookends” (27)
Due: Final Version of Blog Post 2 “Track by Track” 

Week 5

M 2/6                      Optional Workshop:  4-5 in the Preston Seminar Room
Activity: GIMP and Collage (Be Prepared to Work on Worksheet 3)
Preparatory Materials: GalacticsTutorials “How to use Gimp – Basics”
Useful Tools: GIMP

T 2/7                       In Class: Artist, Context, and the Album Review
Reading: HTWAM Charles Aaron “On Hole at Nautica Stage” (54), Lizzy Goodman “With Kim Gordon” (117), and Sasha Frere-Jones “On Beyonc√©” (253); Jessica Hopper “On Grimes Art Angels

R 2/9                       In Class: Artist, Context, and Album Review II; Writing
                                  with Context;
                                 Reading: HTWAM Thomas Sayers Ellis “With Bootsy
                                 Collins” (122); Lance Bangs “Screaming Females (Part
” and “Screaming Females (Part 2)
                                 Due: Worksheet 3 “Holistic Album Review”

Week 6

T 2/14                     In Class: Peer Review; Integrating Source Material
Reading: Bruce Ballenger from
he Curious Researcher
                                 Due: Peer Review Version of Blog Post 3 “Holistic
                                  Album Review”

R 2/16                    Library Day: Meet at Thomas Cooper Library!!
Reading: HTWAM The Go-Betweens “What Sources do You Use?” (258); Ithaca College Library Primary & Secondary Sources, Scholarly, Trade, and Popular Journals, Evaluating Sources
Due: Final Version of Blog Post 3 “Holistic Album Review”

Week 7

M 2/20                   Optional Workshop: 4-5 in the Preston Seminar Room
Activity: Audacity and Audio History (Be Prepared to Work on Worksheet 4)
Preparatory Materials: WestSideElectronicMusic “Audacity Beginner Tutorial”
Useful Tools: Audacity, YouTube to MP3 Converter, Flac to MP3 Converter          

T 2/21                     In Class: Writing About Genre
Reading: HTWAM Chris Deville “On Mumford and Sons” (191) and Nicholas Croogan and James Parker “On the Trouble with Contemporary Music Criticism” (194)

R 2/23                     In Class: Writing About Genre II; Bringing in Audio
Reading: Sound Opinions “Ska & Opinions on Jamila Woods”
Due: Worksheet 4 “Genre History”

Week 8

T 2/28                     In Class: Peer Review; Moving from Genre Analysis to Cultural Analysis
Reading: HTWAM Carl Wilson “On C√©line Dion” (347)
Due: Peer Review Version of Blog Post 4 “Genre History”

R 3/2                       In Class: Exploring Culture; How to Conduct an Interview
Reading: Texas A&M “Culture;” Nicholas
                                      Cook "Musical Values;" HTWAM Introduction and Expert
Advice from Our Writers from Chapter 5 (112)

                                 Due: Final Version of Blog Post 4 “Genre History”

Week 9

T 3/7                         Spring Break: Don’t Come to Class!

R 3/9                        Spring Break: Don’t Come to Class!

Week 10

M 3/13                     Optional Workshop: 4-5 in the Preston Seminar Room
 Activity: Recording Interviews (Be Prepared to Work on Worksheet 5)

T 3/14                      In Class: Cultural Analysis
Reading: HTWAM Chuck Klosterman “On Eminem” (356) and Greil Marcus “On Clarence Ashley” (361)

R 3/16                     In Class: Cultural Analysis II; Relating the Album to Culture
Reading: HTWAM Gina Arnold “On Liz Phair” (329) and Ross Simonini “On Jamaican Rude Boys” (333); Aux “The Needle Drop’s Albums that Prove You Weren’t Born in LE WRONG GENERATION!”
Due: Worksheet 5 “Cultural Critique”

Week 11

T 3/21                      In Class: Peer Review; Moving From Culture to Philosophy
Reading: HTWAM Rick Moody “On Otis Redding . . . " (169)
Due: Peer Review Version of Blog Post 5 “Cultural Critique”

R 3/23                     In Class: What is Ideology/Philosophy; Graphics
Reading: Kid You Not Podcast "Ideology in Children’s Literature;" Philosophy Bites “What is Philosophy”                                       
Due: Final Version of Blog Post 5 “Cultural Critique”

Week 12

M 3/27                   Optional Workshop: 4-5 in the Preston JCR)
Activity: Watching Ballet (Be Prepared to Engage “High Art”)
Preparatory Materials: Mark Katz "Making America More Musical: The Phonograph and 'Good Music'"

T 3/28                     In Class: Ideology/Philosophy
Readings: Julius Bailey “When Apollo and Dionysus Clash: A Nietzschean Perspective on the Work of Kanye West”

R 3/30                     In Class: Ideology/Philosophy II
Readings: HTWAM Brian Morton “On Computer Music” (100) and Jordan Ferguson “On J Dilla’s Donuts” (103); Russell L. Johnson "'See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me"--Know Me: Rationalism vs. Empiricism in Tommy;" Brian Duricy “Young Thug: No My Name is JEFFERY”
Due: Worksheet 6 “Ideology/Philosophy”

Week 13

T 4/4                       In Class: Peer Review; The Album Dissection
Readings: Sound Opinions “The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds
Due: Peer Review Version of Blog Post 6 “Ideology/Philosophy”

R 4/6                       In Class: The Album Dissection II; Organizing Multiple Sources?
Reading: Sound Opinions“Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On
Due: Final Version of Blog Post 6 “Ideology/Philosophy”

Week 14

M 4/10                    Optional Workshop: 4-5 in the Preston JCR
Activity: Sound Art (Be Prepared with an Open Mind)

T 4/11                      Research Day: Meet at Thomas Cooper Library!

R 4/13                     In Class: Thinking about Voice and Pathos
Reading: Shane Greene “The Problem of Peru’s Punk Underground”
Due: Worksheet 7 “Album Dissection”

Week 15

T 4/18                      In Class: Peer Review; Thinking about Balance in Writing
Reading: Wayne C. Booth “The Rhetorical Stance”                            
Due: Workshop Version of Blog Post 7 “Album Dissection”

R 4/20                     In Class: What, if anything, did we learn?

Week 16

M 5/1                      Optional Workshop: 4-5 in the Preston Seminar Room
Activity: Researching and Writing Together

T 5/2 (2:00-4:00) Due: Final Version of Blog Post 7 and any edits you may want to make to other Blog Posts