A junior seminar is specifically designed for moderated juniors preparing for senior project work in literature. Maximum enrollment is l5. Common expectations for all junior seminars are the following:
1) A 20-25 pp. paper will be written in the course of the semester, representing the student’s independent work.
2) The seminar will entail the students’ substantial exposure to a methodology other than close reading, that is, historical research, theory, or criticism and scholarship specific to the topic. By this means students grounded in close reading during their first two years will come to discover how to contextualize their ideas in significant ways.
They will fine-tune their understanding of poetic techniques, or the forms of narrative of drama. They will ask themselves how texts are vehicles for aesthetic and cultural values, as well as produce them. This is to study, in short, how literature participates in culture rather than simply serving as its reflection. They will also discover what literary analysis can tell us about the strengths and limitations of emerging textual practices (web-based research, distinguishing between primary sources and Wikipedia).
Students are expected to acquire competence in the methodology and to write the long paper within its framework.
3) The seminar will include short assignments and other work (such as discussion and writing practices that encourage exploratory and experimental ventures in the new area) that will help the students make progress toward the long paper, and secondarily encourage habits of collaborative work that may serve also as a support for the chapters of senior project.