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English: D2: Undoing Identity

ENGS 196 OL1 (CRN: 61884)

3 Credit Hours

For crosslists see: GSWS 196 OL1

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About ENGS 196 OL1

Undoing ID is an introduction to the intersectionality of Race, Gender, Sexuality, Class, Body and Ability, using performance and performativity as a framework for examining identity construction. Students read and view texts and performances starting with Erving Goffman s Performance in Everyday Life, and ranging through texts on the homogenization of American national identity, performances of Blackness and Color by Richard Pryor, Moms Mabley and contemporary performance pieces, the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, texts on ability, and ending with texts on the stages of social development. Each assignment has two parts- 1) Discussion Board, where students participate in a lively academic discussion of the assignment, and 2) Blog, where students post a creative response to the work. All of these assignments address identity intersectionality from a feminist perspective.



Dates: July 17 - August 11, 2017 Cross listed with GSWS 196 OL1

More Information

Section Description

Course Catalog Description Introduction to identity intersections. Readings in identity performance and creation of original multi-media text-based work will result in a new awareness of how gender, race, class, sexuality, and ability identities are created and promoted. Course Summary And Goals This course is an introduction to the construction and multiple intersections of Identity. Assignments contain sections on individual and national identity, race, gender, sexuality and ability. Students learn to recognize and reflect on how social and personal identity intersections are created and influenced. Assigned readings are the framework for academic discussion and creative response to overt and covert identity construction in our daily lives. We will examine ways that individuals can perpetrate or alter these constructions, and look at how intersecting constructions affect the way self and others are perceived. Assignments are interdisciplinary, including readings in sociology, performance, and cultural criticism and the use of art, entertainment, sexual and sexuality classifications, and language as a means of homogenizing identity. Assignments include texts, videos, and weblinks from 20th/21st Century American artists and writers who use personal history as a basis for work that addresses race, racism, heterosexism, gender, body, class, ability, power and privilege, and the ways that these identity classifications intersect. These performances and texts model techniques and creative interventions that students can use to reflect, discuss, and transform social and cultural inequity. Students will use academic discussion and text-based multi-media creative work as well as their own research to locate and reflect on the origins of their notions about “who” they are, and the ways they present their own identities in everyday life. We’ll then extrapolate to develop an understanding of the social construction of the identities of “Others,” and consider who benefits from these constructions.

Section Expectation

Every student is required to participate in each assigned Discussion and Blog. Students will post critical academic responses to each assignment- address the major points of the texts, posit questions, locate the work in relation to other assignments and outside materials, and respond to each other’s postings on both the Discussion Board and Blog. Through these responsive interactions, students gain deeper insight into the assigned materials and the intersections of identity. The Blog requires a creative response to the assignments, using original photos, videos, music, drawings, poetry, short essays, or other media of your choice to promote deeper reflection. Required Texts Readings are interdisciplinary and include readings in performance and performance theory, sociology, anthropology, gender studies and cultural criticism. You need to acquire 1 book for this course, other assignments will be available as PDFs or links: Tara Rebele. And I’m Not Jenny: Performance Writing. NY: Slope, 2005, 88 pp., paperback, ISBN #0-9718219-5-X ****Be sure you have the Rebele book BEFORE the course starts. It should be available at the UVM bookstore. It should also be in the library, but it is not always available. Or, order directly from the publisher Or, Barnes & Noble or wherever you usually order books. The remainder of course readings are posted as PDFs, video/audio/page links on BlackBoard. Other Reading A “5 minute workshop in Critical Reading” PDF is linked in the course Blackboard space. This gives a very good idea of the way you are expected to formulate your responses. Refer to my “Critical Reading Guidelines” before posting to Discussion.   OVERVIEW OF COURSE ASSIGNMENTS AND EXPECTATIONS You will need to spend 4- 5 hours per assignment on the course, depending on the assignment. Some assignments are longer and more dense than others, so always look ahead to check the next assignment before the due date. Monday assignments are always longer assignments, for which you should begin preparing on the weekend. Assignments You will find your assignments listed under “Assignments” in the course menu on the left hand side of the page. All Discussion and Blog posts are due on the date of the assignment, by 11:59 PM, 3 days a week (MWF) beginning the first day of the Term. Your response to another students’ post is due the following day by 11:59. ***It does not work to try to catch up on several assignments at once—you need to be engaged and current in responding with the other participants. This is a big part of your grade. Do not disappear and expect that you will be able to easily rejoin. ***Failure to post will result in a grade of 0, unless you provide an excuse from the Dean of Students office. All excuses require permission from the Dean. Discussion posts Each Discussion assignment begins with questions for you to consider. You will follow the critical reading guidelines to post your own observations/criticisms/thoughts on the readings/performances and you will respond to each other’s postings. These questions are essay type questions—very short essays. There is no right or wrong answer. I am looking for your response to the readings, I want to know what you think. All posted discussion should be directly related the course. Blog posts Create new work as assigned and post on the course Blog. You will create original works in response to assignments. This creative work can be in any genre (monologue, dialogue, ensemble texts, short stories, poetry, creative non-fiction, video, audio, stick figure drawings, graphs, charts, etc.) unless a particular genre or form is specified, and will be posted on the course Blog pages. You will respond to each other’s new work. Don’t worry, it will make sense once we start working. Response papers Two short (2-3 page) response papers will be required. Due date and assignment will be posted in “Assignments.” Response papers are opportunities to summarize and comment on the work you’ve done in the course. Make specific references to your reading, your Discussion postings, your new work, outside sources, and the work of the other participants. Use the critical reading guidelines as a model for the paper. This is a good place for you to tell me how the course is working for you. It is a great place to synthesize what you are learning and apply it to your other courses, or bring in materials from other course work/readings. The paper should be sent to me as email attachments by emailing me at my UVM address ( Please title your response paper with your last name_ Response 1. Please title the subject line of the email as “YOURLASTNAME response #1,” and make sure to put your name and page numbers each page. Questions about assignments There is a Forum at the top of the Discussion page for you to ask/answer questions about assignments. Technical questions All technical questions should be directed to the BlackBoard Help at the top of each page. ***If you have problems uploading a photo or a link, or have any other tech issues, CONTACT THE BLACKBOARD OR UVM COMPUTER HELP TECHS.


Class Participation Your class participation will be determined by the quality of your online presence. You will need to post a minimum of four separate times per assignment, one assignment response and one response to another participant in the Discussion Board and one creative piece and one response to another participant in the Blog. It is essential that you post before the assignment due date in order to interact with others in the course in order to participate fully. Grading Criteria and Breakdown of Grades Grades will be determined by on-time completion of assignments, how well you follow the critical reading guidelines, depth of participation in discussion, response papers, and overall level of engagement with/participation in the course. See “How to get an ‘A’ in this course” posted on the BlackBoard course site. Discussion Postings: 50% -- timeliness, response to assignment questions, compliance with critical reading guidelines. response to other participants’ postings, Blog: 20% -- timeliness, response to assignment, creativity in connecting assigned readings to materials from outside the course, and creation of original material. Response papers: 20% -- timeliness, thoughtfulness, thoroughness, clear articulation and use of critical reading guidelines in synthesising course work (including both your own work and others’) Overall Engagement/participation: 10% -- this is generally reflected in your overall grades in Discussion and Blog. Timeliness, engagement in Discussion and Blog postings, follow up on own postings and responses to other participants. Basically: do the readings, follow the assignments using the critical reading guidelines, respond thoughtfully to others’ work, and post on time! See Critical Reading and Writing Guidelines, below, for grading rubric framework. All Discussion, Blog, Assignments and response papers must be completed on time. You will lose grade points for work that is late. Classroom/Online Environment Expectations Check the Home/Announcements Page and Assignments on the Blackboard site for the course each time you sign in. The course work moves forward rapidly and builds upon each preceding assignment. You are expected to post to Discussion when you have done the reading and again to respond to others’ work. Same with the blog. Many audio and video files and web links are included in assignments. Check the links on the assignments pages BEFORE your assignments are due to be sure you are able to see and download all of the electronic readings. If you have trouble, try switching browsers or cut and paste link into your browser Grading rubrics are based on these CRITICAL Reading and Writing GUIDELINES – FOR EVERY ASSIGNMENT. • Pick out 3 MAIN POINTS that are specific references to the reading (using actual “quotes” from the assignment and cite page numbers if available). Make critical observations about each main point • Locate the assigned material in terms of other readings, works, media you have seen outside this course. • Ask a question that moves the discussion forward • Make a response to another participant's question—not necessarily an “answer.” • Read everyone's discussion before you write your response. If you've posted early, you have a blank slate on which to work, that can be an advantage. • Timely posting in order to participate fully in the course TAKE NOTES of pages and quotes while you are reading. You are expected to refer to specific pages and quotes from the readings in your postings to “Discussion” and in your response papers. Be sure to leave yourself enough time to send your work. “I couldn’t upload/download” is not an acceptable reason for work not being in on time. If you have problems with your home Internet connection, go to a local Internet café or library.




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