Seminar Questions and Discussions
This subject requires that you be willing to try to think deeply, pursue research independently, write cogently, play constructively, and contribute creatively to daily discussion and all projects.
Seminars rely on lively interchange; therefore attendance and full participation are required. This means having read the plays and critical selections carefully and on time, having some specific responses to them that you can share, and being sufficiently alert to join in an animated conversation. I shall ask you to give brief reports (c. 10 minutes) on plays, films, literary texts and related historical phenomena, focused on their applicability to the play we are studying. You will also give a final presentation which may derive in great part from your major essay, and which will allow the class to benefit from your learning. After I lead the discussion of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, I shall ask you to help lead the discussion of one of the remaining plays. This will include preparing a list of focused, provocative questions to start us off, based on your reading and research; these should be completed at least a day in advance of class.
Sample Student Handout
Please note that this sample handout is from an earlier version of the course.
- Sample student handout to accompany an oral presentation (PDF) (Courtesy of David Roe. Used with permission.)
Sample Discussion Questions
Please note that these sample questions are from an earlier version of the course with an altered reading list, and are included here as examples of outstanding student-generated work on the topic.
- Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (Film Version) (PDF)
- Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (Reading) (PDF)
- Travesties (PDF) (Courtesy of anonymous MIT student. Used with permission.)
- Serious Money (PDF) (Courtesy of Devorah Kengmana. Used with permission.)
- Hapgood (PDF) (Courtesy of anonymous MIT student. Used with permission.)
- Arcadia (PDF) (Courtesy of David Rolnick. Used with permission.)
- Rock 'n' Roll (PDF) (Courtesy of Manushaqe Muco. Used with permission.)
- Shakespeare in Love (PDF) (Courtesy of anonymous MIT student. Used with permission.)
- Twilight (PDF) (Courtesy of anonymous MIT student. Used with permission.)
A variety of written assignments will allow you to respond to our topic in different ways. Your initial and final self-assessments will allow you to reflect upon your own skills, knowledge, and learning in relationship to the seminar's objectives. Short, creative, and evaluative writing exercises will contribute to your own learning and that of your peers. A 5-page (1250+ word) essay will provide an opportunity for you to focus in greater depth upon a single topic in a single play. A major essay / project (15 pages or more, and / or a mixed media or project equivalent including some analytic prose) will allow you to reflect upon a topic of particular interest to you during the semester; this essay will involve research and critical analysis. All written work should be typed and double-spaced, with standard fonts and margins.
Guidelines for Written Assignments