Class Meeting Times: Mondays & Wednesdays, 12pm-1:50pm
Office: Stevenson 3016G
Office Hours: Mondays, 9:30am-11:00am & by appt.
This course will focus on Francophone Caribbean literature, that is, Caribbean literature of French expression. Our objectives are:
- to sample the vast and rich Caribbean literary production in French;
- to explain and contextualize its existence;
- to understand its development and evolution during the 20th century;
- to appreciate the complexities of the choice of French as a literary language for writers born in the French-speaking countries of the Caribbean;
- to develop analytical skills as they pertain to the study of literary form and meaning;
- to understand and appreciate the diversity of Caribbean cultures;
- to expose writing as a tool for emancipation and identity building;
- to expand our knowledge of world literature and diversity
- to explore the ways in which Caribbean-born authors have found expression in English;
- to develop research skills;
- to develop writing skills.
Prerequisite: English 101.
IMPORTANT NOTE: French 314 satisfies GE, category C2. For a complete description of the Mission, Goals & Objectives of the General Education Program of Sonoma State University, please visit the following website: http://www.sonoma.edu/Senate/Resolutions/GE_MGO.html
The course texts are available either in English (for general university and English students) or in French (for students who wish to take this course for upper-division credit in French).
Required texts available at the University Bookstore:
- Jacques Roumain, Masters of the Dew
- Joseph Zobel, Black Shack Alley
- Gisèle Pineau, Macadam Dreams
- Patrick Chamoiseau, Solibo Magnificent
- Maryse Condé, Crossing the Mangrove
- Lilas Desquiron, Reflections of Loco Miwa
- Edwidge Danticat, Krik! Krak!
- Green Cane and Juicy Flotsam, eds. Carmen C. Esteves & Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert
All of these books are on reserve at the university library, in addition to many others you may find useful. To see a complete list, visit: http://iii.sonoma.edu/search/p?SEARCH=toczyski
In this course we will read and discuss six full-length novels during the course of the semester. We will also incorporate some poetry, theater, music and film into the course curriculum. Class will be conducted, insofar as is possible with a group of this size, in the form of a seminar, with short lectures and presentations on the part of the instructor, along with extensive group work and discussion amongst the students. It is important that all students read the texts to be discussed before class. Please consult the reading calendar to make sure that you come to class prepared. I strongly recommed you keep a reading journal, noting important details about characters, setting, plot, etc. as well as any issues or questions the text raises for you as you read. To insure full class cooperation in this regard, there will be a short reading quiz at the beginning of each class based not only on the readings BUT ALSO on the course content of the preceding class ; you should therefore take notes every class to ensure you have all of the material that might be covered on the quiz. This quiz will also serve as your proof of attendance and participation. If you miss the reading quiz due to tardiness, it is up to you to inform the instructor of your presence in the class before you leave class that day. There will be no make-up quizzes. Should you miss a quiz, you will receive a failing grade for that quiz. However, when calculating your final grade, I will drop the worst two grades. Please note that, in the absence of a final exam, the reading quizzes will count for 30% of your grade in this class. If you don't have a passing average on the quizzes, it will be extremely difficult to pass the class...
UPDATE: At the request of students who took this class before you, I have instituted an optional final exam that can count for 30% of your final grade in the class in the place of the quizzes. This exam will be administered on Monday, December 12th, at 11am in our classroom. You must let me know at least three weeks in advance if you wish to take the exam.
Your presence and participation are crucial and will make up 10% of your grade in the course. Students who actively participate without constant prompting are sure to receive a better participation grade (8, 9 or 10 out of 10) than students who remain silent throughout the class (6 or 7). You are allowed two excused absences over the course of the semester; any additional absences will decrease your participation grade dramatically. If you leave halfway through class or arrive at the midpoint, your maximum participation grade will be a 5 for that day.
Please note that any use of cellphones, either to call or receive calls, or to text, will severely decrease your participation grade for that day, and may result in your expulsion from the class. Beware! If your phone rings during my class, I may answer it in French - won't your friends be confused! Also, I reserve the right to confiscate the phones of students texting during my class.
You will be responsible for two 4-6 page writing assignments over the course of the semester. You will have three different options (papers A, B, or C) and you must choose two of the three options on which to write papers. Deadlines are extremely strict! Each paper will be worth fully 15% of your final grade, amounting to 30% in all. Due to workload issues, you MAY NOT write all three papers and choose the best two grades.
Paper A will be due on either WEDNESDAY, February 15, 2012 (for students whose oral presentations are February 22 or 27) OR WEDNESDAY, February 22, 2012(for those students whose presentations are February 15 or 20). This paper will examine one theme or issue studied in the context of one of the novels we will read during the first third of the semester (i.e. Roumain and Zobel). Complete instructions for this paper may be found on the assignments page.
Paper B will be due on WEDNESDAY, March 21, 2012 (for everyone!) and will examine one theme or issue studied in the context of one of the novels we will read during the second third of the semester (i.e. Chamoiseau and Condé). Complete instructions for this paper may be found on the assignments page.
Paper C will be due on either WEDNESDAY, April 25, 2012 (for students presenting April 30 or May 2) or WEDNESDAY, May 2, 2012 (for students presenting April 23 or 25). It will examine one theme or issue studied in the context of one of the novels we will read during the final third of the semester (i.e. Desquiron and Pineau). Complete instructions for this paper may be found on the assignments page.
Following the strong suggestion from students in this class previous semesters, there will be NO REQUIRED FINAL EXAM in this class. Students are therefore urged to do extremely well on the daily quizzes to demonstrate their knowledge gained from day to day. See above for details on the daily quizzes. There will be an optional final exam for students who are not pleased with their progress on daily quizzes; see above for details.
- At the midterm and at the end of the semester, you will be asked to participate in a group oral presentation before the class. For the first round of oral presentations, your group will choose a short story from Edwige Danticat's collection Krik! Krak! For the second round of presentations, groups will choose a text from the collection Green Cane and Juicy Flotsa. Complete instructions for these presentations may be found on the assignments page. Each presentation will be worth 15% of your grade.
Your final grade in the class will be calculated as follows:
- Presence and Participation: 10%
- Daily reading quizzes: 30%
- First paper: 15%
- Second paper: 15%
- First Oral Presentation: 15%
- Second Oral Presentation: 15%
Late work will ABSOLUTELY NOT be accepted, so please do not even ask! Please DO NOT EMAIL ME PAPERS -- you must bring a hard copy to class to turn them in. Please consult the course calendar regularly for due dates and other important information. I will also regularly send emails with announcements, so read your email faithfully!
Please note that any instance of plagiarism (defined as the use of another's words or ideas without adequate citation or acknowledgement) will result in a grade of "F" for the class. I also reserve the right to fail any student who ends the semester with a failing grade on quizzes overall. To view the university's plagiarism and cheating policy, click here.
PLEASE NOTE: Students should be aware of a wide variety of important University policies, such as the add/drop policy; cheating and plagiarism policy, grade appeal procedures; and the diversity vision statement. Go to this URL to find them. http://www.sonoma.edu/uaffairs/policies/studentinfo.shtml
ALSO NOTE: If you are a student with a disability and you think you may require accommodations, please register with the campus office of Disability Services for Students (DSS), located in Salazar Hall - Room 1049, Phone: (707) 664-2677, TTY/TDD: (707) 664-2958. DSS will provide you with written confirmation of your verified disability and authorize recommended accommodations. This authorization must be presented to the instructor before any accommodations can be made.
Please turn off all cell phones and put them away and out of sight upon entering the classroom. Disruption due to cell phone usage will not be tolerated. Indeed, should your cell phone ring during class, I may answer it for you, in French, which will really confuse your friends! Moreover, please have the courtesy not to text friends while class is in session. Anyone observed texting will be asked either to hand over their phone for the duration, or to leave the class, and will forfeit participation credit and the quiz for that day. Please don't embarrass us both by making this necessary.
If you are going to be absent and have a valid excuse (serious illness, death in the family), please make every effort ot inform the professor of your absence and of your efforts to make up the work you missed. (Note: you may not make up quizzes, but I will drop one or two. You may not miss an oral presentation.) I am eminently available via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), or during my office hours, Tuesdays 1:30pm to 3:30pm, or by appointment.