World Literature 240 - Spring 2006 – Credit Hours: 3

Contact Information:

                Instructor’s Name- Sybil Priebe       

Instructor’s Email-

Instructor’s Website-                

Instructor’s Weblog-

Class Blog- [to login:]

Office- Haverty 223                           

Office Phone- (701) 671-2346        

                Office Hours- 12-1pm MWF, 10-11 TR (before Spring Break); 11-Noon TR (after)


Course Description:

World Literature explores the literature of varied cultures from ancient to modern times. Readings include selected works from many cultures, genres, and epochs including selections from India, Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.


The semester will be divided up, at times, chronologically and by country. Students will read and interpret literature from other cultures based on the historical and cultural context of the author and his culture. In response, students will write short critiques about these pieces; students will also discuss these pieces in both the physical and virtual classroom (through discussion boards and class blogs) with their peers and instructor.


Students are encouraged to participate in group research projects and activities throughout the course, so that they may collaborate with other students.



·         Required text: World Literature, 2001, by Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

·         Recommended readings: All other required and recommended readings will be linked appropriately from the instructor’s web site or teaching weblog. Some required and recommended readings may also be handed out as handouts in class.

·         Students should have access to the following technology at least 3 hours per week, so that they have adequate access to the online discussion board and class blog as well as online materials for this course - Internet Explorer 5.5 or higher or Netscape 7.0 or higher and an email account at that to receive mail. (Free email accounts can be gotten through YAHOO, Hotmail, or

·         Students will be required to save their files on both a 3.5” disk/USB AND by sending the documents to themselves via their email accounts. This will ensure that no document gets lost or can not be downloaded properly. [To send a document to yourself through your email account, simply save the file to the desktop. Then open up Explorer and proceed to your email account. Compose a new message and put your email address in the To: area. From there, attach the document as a file to the message. Press Send.]


Goals and Objectives:

One specific objective will be to bridge the then and now, them and us; to teach students to relate to the social experiences of other cultures and perspectives. Students, while reading, criticizing, and discussing the assigned works, will develop an appreciation of these cultures and their historic contributions to thought and literature.


In addition, students will:

·         Improve analytical and critical skills through close readings of the texts.

·         Improve writing skills through composing original compositions using textual evidence to support assertions.

·         Read, outline, and discuss literature from 6 of the 7 continents (does Antarctica have any?). They’ll also read and research from a variety of different time periods as well as read poetry out loud.

·         Participate in group discussion/class blog, projects, and activities to encourage teamwork and investigative skills.

·         Interpret literature in a variety of different ways.

·         List, recognize, and name authors and their significant works from a variety of world cultures.

·         Demonstrate an understanding of the relationships between literature and life through class discussions, posts to the class blog, writing responses, and composing critical essays.

·         Connect their lives with the lessons, lives, and words from world authors and world masterpieces.


Attendance Policy:

Attendance is crucial to understanding all of the course materials and to earning a passing grade; therefore, failure to attend many classes without an excused reason will result in a reduction in grade or even an F in the course. Students with excused absences (illness with a doctor’s note, school-sponsored activities, military duty, or family emergencies) have one week to make up missed assignments. Documentation for excused absences must be provided to the instructor within a week’s time of the absence (doctor’s note, funeral clipping, etc). When it comes to unexcused absences, students who miss 5 class periods due to unexcused absences will lose 100 points or, in other words, a letter grade (highest letter grade = B).  If a student misses 7 class periods, 200 points will be deducted from his/her total points. If a student were to miss 9 or more class periods, he/she would receive an F for the course.


*Please note: Students with unexcused absences are not eligible to turn in work late.



Late Work:

As mentioned in the attendance policy, students with excused absences do have two weeks to make up work assigned while they were absent. If a student is present on a Monday, but has an excused absence for Wednesday, he/she must turn in Monday’s assignment on Friday. The student is allowed, however, one week to make up the assignment that was assigned Wednesday. As also mentioned in the attendance policy, students with unexcused absences do not get to hand in late work. All late work will receive zero credit, however, I have no problem looking at late work and giving feedback on the assignment. This policy is not meant to punish, but rather, to prepare students for the “real world” where there are such things as deadlines.


If an assignment is due AT CLASS TIME or AT THE END OF CLASS TIME (and is stated as such in the chart portion of the syllabus or is stated as such when assigned by the instructor) it will be considered late if a student hands it in after class time. For all other assignments that are not listed as such, the assignment may be handed in after class time but before 4pm that day in order to not be considered late. Students should feel free to discuss other arrangements with the instructor, however, if emergencies or computer troubles arise.


Students with Disabilities:

Any student with disabilities or special needs, who requires special accommodations in this course, is invited to share concerns or requests with me as soon as possible.



If any amount of plagiarism is found in a student’s paper (copying from the internet without quotations or parenthetical citations, copying parts or whole pages from another student, or any other sign of plagiarism), that student will be subject to disciplinary action which could result in no credit for the paper or a complete revision of the paper with a large reduction in points. If a student repeatedly plagiarizes, more severe actions will take place.


Class Rules:

·         Please, please talk during class discussions. This class will be boring if everyone keeps their thoughts to themselves. This class will be fun and exciting if everyone speaks up, and I don’t have to lecture for the entire class period. Trust me.

·         When you miss class, you will be “missing something important.” Please feel free to inform me when you will be gone. However, don’t expect me to repeat exactly what happened in class five days ago if you miss class without talking to me beforehand. Make sure to find a “buddy” in class to contact about assignment changes, what happened in class, what was assigned in class, etc. or simply check my teaching blog or the class blog for updates.

·         Respect each others’ writing, opinions, responses, and property.

·         Packing up your things before class time is over is disrespectful. Please wait until I dismiss the class.

·         Respect goes both ways. If you are talking, I will listen (as will the rest of the class). If I am talking, I’d like all of you to listen. Please do not chat with others while I am lecturing; it is rude.

·         Turn off cell phones. If a cell phone rings in class, the owner may be subject to teasing and/or a short “talk” by the instructor.

·         Be on time. If tardiness starts to occur, very easy quizzes will be given out right at the beginning of class time.


Assessment and Point Breakdown:

This course is based on a 1000 point total. Those points are divided as such (and these assignments are subject to revision or even deletion):

                (a) Three essays (50 points each) – 150 points

                (b) One individual major project with oral presentation – 200 points

                (c) Group project/paper with oral presentation – 200 points

                (d) Daily discussion questions (approximately 10 points per class period) posted to *Class Blog – 200 points

                (e) Daily assignments (10 points per assignment) – 150 points

                (f) Participation in class discussions of the literature – 100 points


Grade Scale

900-1000 pts = A

800-899 pts = B

700-799 pts = C

600-699 pts = D

599 and below = F




(a) Essays:

We will discuss possible topics in advance, and the questions posted to the class blog by students could easily be made into topics for these essays. These individual essays will be in regards to what we are reading in class (post-1900). Essays will be: 2-3 pages long (this means 2 full pages, not 1.8 pages), double-spaced, follow MLA documentation style, and be typed. Papers are due at the beginning of the class meeting on the due-date. Late essays will not be accepted (see Late Work policy). Please make sure to edit your writing carefully; the spelling, grammar, and punctuation are expected to be accurate. Also - Remember to proofread the final draft carefully, preferably aloud; this is important.

Any writing for this class (excluding blog posts) will be graded on:


quality of thought (focus of essay and of each paragraph on a single idea, support of generalizations with sufficient and relevant detail),

structure of thought (organization, coherence), and

polished form (conventions of spelling, punctuation, grammar, handling of sources, documentation; style which is precise, clear, economical, and appropriate).



(b) Individual Major Project & Oral Presentation:

Throughout the semester, students will have the opportunity to choose from a variety of options for their individual major project. Options for this project will revolve around anything or anyone pre-1900. So, those topics may include: researching a piece of literature from before 1900, researching a particular author’s background (of an author from before 1900), connecting pieces of literature and writing about their connections (compare and contrast), etc. The end product to the individual major project could be a paper, a web site, a weblog, a multi-genre collection of works, etc. The individual oral presentation should be completed alongside the individual major project. Throughout the semester, students will sign up for a time to present either their individual major project. Requirements for the project/paper are: Paper = 5+ pages, Web Site = 5+ web pages with a Links page, Weblog = 5+ pages when printed off, Multi-Genre Collection of Works = 5+ pages, etc (talk to instructor if you have other ideas for your project) Requirements for the presentation are: 10 minutes in length and either a handout of some sort or a visual aid (Powerpoint, web site, map, etc.). See Essay (a) for what the written part of the project will be graded on.


(c) Group Paper/Project & Presentation:

Just as the assignment (b) ask for students to choose a topic to complete their major project and presentation on, the group paper/project and presentation ask students to do the same in groups (2-3 people per group, please). Options and requirements are the same for this group paper/project & presentation as they are for the individual project & presentation. No overlapping is involved; students who do their individual projects on Genesis, for example, can not complete their group project on the Bible. This forces students to research different time periods/different authors in each project. See Essay (a) for what the written part of the project will be graded on.


(d) Daily Discussion Questions:

For each reading assignment, you will be asked to write down 3-5 questions that arise while you are reading the assignment. You will post these to the class blog previous to class time (before noon on TR) as well as bring these to class at which time they will be written on the board; these questions will act as the springboard for class discussion and/or possible essay topics. These questions should not be “What did you think of this piece of literature,” or “What did you think of this character/scene, etc?” Questions for class discussion should be deeper than that. For example: “Do you think the main character is bias because of his/her abuse as a child?” “Is the main character a hypocrite for stating in place that _________ while at the end he/she says ___________?” [How does the literature deal with the themes of creation, death, love, heroes, and humor? What do we have in common with them? What don't we have in common?]

*Class Blog: On the first day of class, you will give the instructor an email address you commonly use (you will have to set up an email if you don’t already have one). The instructor will then invite you, via email, to join the Class Blog. You will click on the link in the body of this email and set up an account. You will need to write down your username and password; the instructor will not be able to retrieve this information for you if you lose it. Posting to the Class Blog is relatively easy; simply go to and type in your username & password. From there, click on World Literature at NDSCS. Click on Create New Post, type in your post (3-5 questions about the literature & comments), and then click Publish Post. You will be able to read others’ postings as well. If you have questions or problems, please talk to the instructor in class or via email.


(e) Daily Assignments:

These types of assignments will not be as structured or detailed as the projects, essays, or presentations, but they will add to the daily learning goals. A daily assignment may include: interviewing others about the literature we are reading, researching the author’s background, researching the history of the literature (what was happening when this was written?), writing out one’s response to a particular piece of literature, or writing on the class blog about how you connect personally to the literature we’ve been reading.


(f) Participation in Class Discussions:

Students are expected to come to class prepared. This means they should: have read the literature assigned for that class time, posted their 3-5 questions to the class blog before class time, and talk about the literature with their classmates and instructor. If the instructor can not recall a student talking much in class or posting to the blog during the semester rarely if at all, that student will lose all Participation Points. Essentially, if one doesn’t post to the blog or talk in class, he/she will only earn a C, if that.


Flexible Course Outline:

Week 1: Introduction

Week 2-3: China & Japan

Week 4: Russia

Week 5: Eastern Europe

Week 6: India

Week 7-8: The Middle East & Africa
Week 9 & 11: South America & Mexico

Week 10: Spring Break

Week 12: Native America

Week 13: Western Europe (minus England)

Week 14-15: U.S.A. & Individual Presentations

Week 16: Open (pick authors as a class on April 13)

Week 17: Group Presentations

Week 18: Finals Week


Possible Topics for the Individual & Group Presentations

[Pre-1900 Authors/Poets or short stories/collections of poetry]:


Confucius, “Gilgamesh,” “Siddhartha,” The Bible (Genesis), Tao Chi’en, Lao-Tau, “Bhagavad Gita,” “The Koran,” Plato, “Hymn to Demeter,” Homer,



World Literature Day-to-Day Chart [Please note: This schedule is not set in stone; it is subject to change.]





Week One:


January 10

Intro to me, the class, the book, the syllabus…

Class blog, email list, etc…

January 12

World Literature timeline handout

Some ancient readings (handout?)

Week 2: China

January 17

Bei Dao (547)

January 19

Lux Xun (331)

Week 3:


January 24

Junichiro (460)

January 26

Yasunari (659)

Week 4:


January 31

Akhmatora (552)

February 2

Week 5:

Eastern Europe

February 7

Franz Kafka (423)

Sign Up for Individual Presentations

February 9

No Class – Instructor @ Conference in NM

*Paper 1 DUE

Week 6: India

February 14

Hossain (320)

Rumi (handout)?

February 16

Rushdie (1255/1307)

Ghandi? (1284)

Week 7:

The Middle East/Africa

February 21

February 23

Naguib Mafouz, Egypt (797)

Week 8:


February 28

Chinua Achebe, Nigeria (107/1017)

March 2


Week 9:

South America

March 7

Borges, Poland (648)

March 9

Paper 2 DUE, Individual Presentations

Spring Break

March 14

No Class – Spring Break

March 16

No Class – Spring Break

Week 11:


March 21

Pablo Neruda, Chile (672)

March 23

Cisneros, US - Mexican American (1370)

Week 12:

Native American

March 28

Erdrich (handout)?

March 30

Week 13:

Western Europe

April 4

Lorca, Spain (568)

April 6

Sartre, France (692)

Week 14:


April 11

Individual Presentations

O’Brien – Minnesota Native (535), Hughes (877)

April 13

Paper 3 DUE, Individual Presentations

Class decides Week 16 Authors

Week 15:


April 18

Brooks (902)

Morrison (903)

April 20

Bonus Pts for attending RRCWL


Week 16:

Open Topic

April 25

April 27

Week 17:


May 2

Group Presentations

May 4

No Class – Agawasie Day

Week 18:


May 9

No Class – Finals Week

May 11

Pick up grades/Paper 3/etc in my office