English H195A

Honors Course

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2022 Hale, Dorothy J.
TuTh 11-12:30 Wheeler 106


H195 is a two-semester course that gives students the training they need to conduct original research and develop their findings into a successful scholarly essay, 40-60 pages in length.

Crucial to this enterprise is an understanding of interpretative methods.  What kind of criticism will you practice?  Which scholarly conversation will you seek to join?  In the fall semester, students will learn about the theoretical frameworks that have helped shape literary study as it is now conducted.  Since many of the assigned critical essays are also superb examples of effective argumentation, our consideration of method will also extend to writerly practices such as thesis construction, rhetorical techniques and uses of evidence.

The most important requirement for the course is curiosity.  What would you like to know more about?  What author, issue, or era would you like to spend a year thinking about?  Some students begin the class with a strong intuition about what they might like to do; others are wrestling with two or three research ideas.  These are happy problems and can be sorted out in consultation with the professor.  But do not sign up for the Honors course if you can’t imagine immersing yourself in a topic of your own choosing for a full year.

By the beginning of October, research topics should be in place.  You will be expected to work closely with the Humanities Librarian to develop expertise in navigating scholarly resources.  A prospectus and bibliography are required by the end of the fall term. 

Students who have completed the fall course requirements satisfactorily will receive the grade of IP for the fall term. Written work includes a short analysis of one of the assigned works of criticism.  All written work for the fall will be graded.

In the spring semester, students organize into writing groups and meet regularly to help one another with their independent research.  There are a few required meetings of the class as a whole, a modest amount of assigned reading, and no written work other than the Honors thesis.  A complete draft of the thesis is due before spring break.

Students admitted to this section of the Honors Course should read over the summer How to Write a BA Thesis, 2nd Edition, by Charles Lipson (Chicago UP).  I will notify you when additional books have been ordered for the course.

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