Classical Studies
CLA 2-111-2014

Big Screen Rome


Gladiator (2000), movie poster

Instructors: Dr. John Gruber-Miller, College Hall 312, Ext. x4326; email: jgruber-miller@cornellcollege.edu

Shawn Doyle, Writing Consultant, 124 Cole Library; phone: x4812; email: sdoyle@cornellcollege.edu

Jennifer Rouse, Arts and Humanities Consulting Librarian, 307 Cole Library; phone: x4466; email: jrouse@cornellcollege.edu

Class Hours: M-F 9:00-11:15; 1:00-3:00

Office Hours: M W F 11:15 a.m.-12 noon, and by appointment

Required Texts:

  • Christopher Scarre. The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Rome. Penguin 1995.

  • Erich Segal, trans. Plautus. Four Comedies. Oxford 2008.

  • Robin Waterfield, trans. Plutarch. Roman Lives. Oxford 1999.

  • Jo-Ann Shelton, ed. As the Romans Did. 2nd Ed. Oxford, 1998.

  • Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. W. W. Norton, 2006.

Goals of the Course

  • to become familiar with Roman civilization, especially Roman society, slavery, politics and history, Christianity and the Roman empire (Knowledge, Intercultural Literacy).
  • to investigate how Hollywood movies about ancient Rome reinterpret the past and shed light on contemporary perceptions of national, political and cultural identities of the places and times in which they were produced (Inquiry, Reasoning).
  • to explore enduring human questions about power, freedom, the divine, and relationships (Inquiry).
  • to become more adept at reading various types of texts and interpreting them (Communication, Reasoning).
  • to understand academic honesty and how to evaluate and cite sources (Ethical Behavior).
  • to become familiar with the writing process and the expectations of academic writing: brainstorming, coming up a thesis, drafting, organizing your paper, developing your ideas, developing stronger sentences, revising, editing, and proofreading (Communication, Inquiry, Reasoning).
  • learning outcomes for all First Year Writing Courses

Course Format

Discussion, in-class writing, small group collaboration, workshop, conference. Throughout the course, you will learn to share and express ideas clearly and effectively, to collaborate, to critique others' ideas, and to give and receive criticism about one's own ideas and writing.

Requirements

Class preparation and attendance: For you to get the most out of the course, it is crucial that you come to every class session well prepared. Being well-prepared means not only having read the material, but also having spent time reflecting on it. It also means being ready to participate in class discussion by asking questions, offering opinions, making observations, and trying out arguments. As you prepare for class, it is a good idea to write marginal notes in your text to remind you of memorable quotations, historical background, recurring themes, and questions you have about the text. An annotated text is a sign of an engaged reader.

To assist you in preparing for class, you will keep a daily journal to help you engage with the texts we are reading. In the journal, write out the thoughts (no more than one page, double-spaced) you have about the reading, making observations that you noted in the reading, explaining a pattern or theme you have noticed, or raising questions that emerge from the reading. When raising a question or issue, be sure to present a context for each question (i.e., why you are asking the question or what in the reading prompted the question). You may also use the journal to try out thesis statements or ideas for papers. To understand how these journal entries will be assessed, read the grading rubric for the reading journal. You will submit four of these journals at the end of the block as part of your portfolio. The journal is due at the beginning of class period on the day they will be discussed. Each students receives one free day without a journal: one day during the term you may choose not to turn in a journal and you will not be penalized.

Class discussion: I hope to foster an atmosphere in which students are free to speak their minds. We all (myself included) bring different backgrounds, preparation, theoretical perspectives, and values to this course. We all will learn from many sources: our common readings, each other, our discussions, and our research. It is, therefore, crucial to the success of the course that everyone show respect and courtesy to everyone else in the class, and a willingness to help each other learn and approach this material from new perspectives.

Film Response Paper: After each film, you will write a 2 page response to the film. These papers are designed to help you choose a topic or question you have about the film and to explore how this idea affects your understanding of the film. You may write about a particular scene, character, theme, image. Or you may wish to compare it to a text we have read, or to your own personal life. You may answer one of the study questions or you may come up with your own idea. These response papers may even provide the springboard for one of your papers. They need not be polished essays, but they should focus on one topic and demonstrate that you have asked good questions about the readings and that you have supported your ideas from the text.

What They Are Not: What They Are:

Hurried.

Thoughtful and engaged with the text.

Rambling without a clear focus.

On one main topic.

1-2 pages of plot summary.

Only a paragraph.

1-2 full, letter-sized pages of writing, asking good questions, and pushing the ideas as far as you can.

Illegible.

Legible or typed.

They are due at the beginning of the next class period. To understand how the film response papers will be assessed, read the grading rubric for film responses. You will submit three of these as part of your portfolio at the end of the course. As with journals, each student will receive one free day. In other words, you must submit at least five out of the six film responses.

Drafting, Revising, and Workshopping papers are essential parts of the composing process--the same process that all good writers use. Each week you will write a draft, then meet with either myself or the Writing Associate, and then turn in a revised draft. In addition, each week we will hold a peer workshop, class periods in which you'll read and respond to each other's papers. In peer workshops, we'll begin by examining a model paper to illustrate the process of critiquing a paper. We'll generate ideas for turning the draft into a solid finished product. We'll also discuss ways of responding to papers that are helpful for writers. Finally, we'll break up into small groups and read other students' papers. In the process, you'll learn to read and respond to each other's work and hopefully apply the same techniques to critique and revise your own writing. By enrolling in this course, you will be giving permission for your papers to be shared with others in the class. If you have any concerns about sharing your work, please speak with me in the first three days of the course.

You will complete three Papers (4-5 pages each). Each paper will focus on a film and the ancient texts, using quotations and evidence from both the film and the texts as supporting evidence. All papers should include a title, and be typed, double-spaced, Times or Times New Roman, 12 point font. Sources should be documented in MLA format. Please include page numbers. On the first page indicate which draft (e.g., first, second, or final) you are submitting and the date submitted. You will submit both the first draft and the final draft electronically on Moodle. In addition, you will bring a hard copy of your first draft to your paper conference.

Finally, you will prepare a writing portfolio along with a 1-2 page analysis of your progress as a writer. The 1-2 page analysis of your progress as a writer will also include at least two paragraphs revised, one an intro or conclusion, the other a body paragraph. Some questions to consider in the reflective essay: How have you improved as a writer, reader, and thinker? What do you wish you could have done differently? What challenges did you meet in your writing and how did you attempt to overcome them? What do you feel you still need to work on as a writer, reader, and thinker? Please comment on specific assignments submitted in the portfolio.

In addition to the reflective essay and paragraph revisions, the portfolio should contain four journal entries, three film response papers, and all three essays. Please place the reflective essay first and then arrange the other items in your portfolio in reverse chronological order (i.e. most recent to oldest). The papers are already online.  The reflection and paragraph revisions will also be uploaded to Moodle.  For the paragraph revisions from your papers, please be sure to indicate which paper they come from (and page number) and include both the original paragraph and the revision (clearly marked).

Grading

Three major components will determine your grade:

  • class attendance, active and sensitive participation in class discussion, and daily journal 20%
  • Film response papers 20%
  • 3 essays (4-5 pages, double-spaced) 50%
  • Writing Portfolio (4 journal entries, 3 film response papers, three essays, and a self-reflective essay on your writing in the course) 10%

Policies

Attendance: Since our class format is based primarily on discussion and workshops, it is essential that you come to class every day, prepared and ready to participate actively. Any unexcused absence after one missed class period will harm your final grade. If you must miss class, please inform me ahead of time if at all possible. If you have a fever and/or other symptoms of the flu, please do not come to class until you have been fever-free for 24 hours.

Drafts of Papers: Learning how to revise papers is an important element of becoming a successful writer, and conferences are an important element in honing your writing skills. The failure to submit a full-length draft when due will automatically result in a grade of C or below for that particular paper.

Deadlines: no late work will be accepted. If an emergency or illness occurs, please let me know immediately so that other plans can be arranged.

Academic Integrity: According to the Cornell College Student Handbook, plagiarism is "is the act of taking the work of another and presenting it as one's own, without acknowledgement of the original source." In other words, using others' ideas, words, even sentence structure, without crediting them is a serious academic offense. Plagiarism also includes writing a paper for another person, borrowing or buying an essay and submitting it as your own, or paraphrasing an article but forgetting to document it. Click here for Cornell's policy on Academic Honesty, Cornell College Catalogue, p. 27.

Accomodations for different learning styles: Cornell College is committed to providing equal educational opportunities to all students.  If you have a documented learning disability and will need any accommodation in this course, you must request the accommodation(s) from me as early as possible and no later than the third day of the term. Additional information about the policies and procedures for accommodation of learning disabilities is available on the Cornell web site under Academic Accommodations.

 



Maintained by: classical_studies@cornellcollege.edu Last Update: October 15, 2014 6:20 pm

Professor John Gruber-Miller
CLA 2-111-2014
Big Screen Rome

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