Course Meeting Times
Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session
Central to our era is the gradual movement of all the world's regions toward a uniform standard of economic and political development. In this class we will read a variety of recent narratives that partake of, dissent from, or contribute to this story, ranging from novels and poems to World Bank and IMF statements and National Geographic reports. We will seek to understand the many motives and voices – sometimes congruent, sometimes clashing – that are currently engaged in producing accounts of people in the developing world: their hardships, laughter, and courage, and how they help themselves and are helped by outsiders who may or may not have philanthropic motives. Readings will include literature by J. G. Ballard, Jamaica Kincaid, Rohinton Mistry, and John le Carré, as well as policy documents, newspaper and magazine articles, and the Web sites of a variety of trade and development commissions and organizations.
|5-7 pages essay and revision||35%|
|10-12 pages essay||35%|
|Discussion leadership and participation||30%|
You will each write one 5-7 pages essay and then revise it with help from your peers. Your grade will average the first version and its revision. Topics will be broad enough to allow you to explore your specific interests, but will involve close reading of key passages and detailed analysis of the texts.
You will also each write one longer (10-12 pages) essay. I may encourage you to submit an essay for the Kelly prize. If you decide to do so, you will want to expand your work to 15 pages.
The heart of this class is discussion. On a rotating schedule (distributed in the second week of class), you will each be responsible for leading our seminar conversation. You will present contextual materials, activities, and questions appropriate to the readings for that day, and you will have the opportunity to lead the conversation in the direction you think best for at least 20-30 minutes, after which, if and when discretion dictates, I may take over.
You will each have your own space within the MIT server forum where you can (but needn't) submit any materials or links you would like us to consider before class. We will make ourselves responsible for checking the forum, but you must add any new material at least 24 hours before one of your sessions. You may also bring any materials you like to class. Collect your materials and make a list of sources to hand in as well.
Come to class having read the assigned material carefully, and prepared to listen to your classmates and engage in conversation and respectful debate with them. You will not be expected to have a brilliant insight at every moment, but by all means come prepared to voice your thoughts and interpretations. All of your ideas, opinions, and questions matter.
Attendance is mandatory. If you are going to be absent you must alert me, in advance. Each student will be allowed two absences, after which he or she will lose 1% (of the course total 100%) for each incident. Being late is a form of absence, and I will decide when a sufficient number of late arrivals becomes equivalent to one day of absence.
Plagiarism will be heavily penalized. The Literature Faculty policy states: "students who plagiarize will receive an F in the subject, and that the instructor will forward the case to the Committee on Discipline. Full acknowledgement for all information obtained from sources outside the classroom must be clearly stated in all written work submitted. All ideas, arguments, and direct phrasings taken from someone else's work must be identified and properly footnoted. Quotations from other sources must be clearly marked as distinct from the student's own work." For more, find the style guides at the Writing Center, or visit MIT Online Writing and Communication Center.
***Do not bring food, mobile phones, or laptops to class. I will consign them to a fiery pit. Exceptions are made when you are using your laptop for class purposes.***
Prof. Brouillette's Essay-marking Code (PDF)
Key Terms, Concepts, and Organizations (PDF)
Guide to Close Reading (PDF)
Guide to Writing Literature Essays (PDF)
|Lec #||TOPICS||KEY DATES|
|2||"The Doum Tree of Wad Hamid"|
|3||"The Doum Tree of Wad Hamid" (cont.)|
|4||Climate change symposium|
|5||"The Fortunate Traveller"|
|6||"The Fortunate Traveller" (cont.)|
|7||A Fine Balance, I-III|
|8||Essay workshop||First essay due|
A Fine Balance (cont.), IV-XI
Class meets w/o professor B
|10||A Fine Balance (cont.), XII-end|
|11||A Small Place|
|12||A Small Place (cont.) / Life and Debt (film)|
|13||Rushing to Paradise, to p. 91|
|14||Review session||Revised essay due|
|15||Rushing to Paradise (cont.), to p. 168|
|16||Rushing to Paradise (cont.), all|
|17||The Constant Gardener, pp. 1-135|
|18||The Constant Gardener (cont.), pp. 136-322|
|19||The Constant Gardener (cont.), pp. 323-end|
|20||Petals of Blood, part I|
|21||Petals of Blood (cont.), parts I-III|
|22||Petals of Blood (cont.), all|
|23||World bank and National Geographic narratives|
|24||Cause Celeb, to p. 175|
|25||Cause Celeb (cont.), to end|
|26||Wrapping up||Final essay due|