Dr. Heather Hill-Vásquez, Department of English, University of Detroit Mercy


ENL 321: Renaissance Literature
Dr. Hill-Vásquez

 Course Meeting Times: T TH 9:55 - 11:10
Location: Briggs 126
Instructor Office Hours: W 9-12 and by appointment
Office Location: Briggs 223

E-mail: hillvahe@udmercy.edu
Phone: (313) 578-0572

Course Description
This course focuses on the chief trends and representative figures of the Renaissance. In addition, we will attend to the Renaissance in England as a moment of conflict, crisis, and creativity in matters of religious belief, sexual identity, and gender roles--a moment impacted by a female ruler in England as well as foundational changes in religious belief and structures. As we make our way through poetry, fiction, drama, pamphlets, speeches, etc. we will encounter, explore, and revel in the complex while encountering some wonderful examples of the tangible concrete.

Required Texts (only edition noted is acceptable )
The Longman Anthology of British Literature , vol. 1B, 3rd ed. New York: Longman, 2006.
Various Course Handouts

The semester grade for this course (A=100-94%, A-=93-89%, B+= 88-85%, B=84-81%, B-=80-78%, C+=77-74%, C=73-71%, C-=70-68%, D+=67-64%, D=63-60%, F=59-0%), based on 400 possible points, will be assigned according to the following:

Attendance (2 x 28) 56
Participation (3 x 28) 84
Quizzes (5 x 10) 50
Recitation (and Q&A) 25
Paired/Group Presentation and Materials 30
Responses to Paired/Group Presentation Questions (3 x 4) 12
Essay: Renaissance Text & Film 40
Thematic Collection 50
Thematic Collection Individual Presentation and Materials 40
In-Class Writings and Other In-Class Work 13
Total 400

Fundamental Requirements
In addition to a large amount of thinking, reading, and writing, you will also be required to participate actively and consistently in class discussion. If you cannot participate actively and consistently in class discussion, you should reconsider your enrollment in this class. Furthermore, in order to succeed in this class, you must think deeply and analytically, and you must express unique and original ideas that are meaningful, purposeful, and significant. You must focus on intellectual inquiry and discussion. You must be intellectually engaged. You must be responsible for your own learning. You must respect the learning process and all members of the class. You must attend class regularly, prepare carefully for each class session, and take responsibility for both your accomplishments and shortcomings. You must work hard.

Requirements of Literary Analysis
All literature courses are really courses in culture, history, philosophy, religion, sociology, etc., and this course will be no exception. You will be required to examine each assigned text carefully and closely as a document of cultural influence, one that both reflects and shapes its culture. In order to succeed in this class, you must think deeply and analytically about the texts and issues we will study and you must create responses and essays that express interpretations that are meaningful, purposeful, and significant. A passing piece of writing will develop observations, opinions, and comparisons into meaningful analysis that demonstrates a new idea. A passing piece of writing must contain a specific, meaningful argument that demonstrates complex, original thinking and encourages further thought. Do not simply make observations or state opinions. Avoid basic and familiar ideas. Avoid mere summary and description. Avoid saying the same old things. Avoid merely pointing out similarities and/or differences.

Learning Objectives
Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:
1) demonstrate a strong familiarity with and understanding of the Renaissance works read and studied
2) understand textual, historical, and cultural practices relevant to the interpretation of Renaissance literature
3) demonstrate an understanding of how Renaissance literature differs from—and yet influences— modern literature and thought
4) demonstrate an increased ability to construct an original and thought-provoking analysis of a piece of literature
5) demonstrate an increased ability to construct an original and thought-provoking comparative analysis of multiple pieces of literature
6) demonstrate an increased ability to analyze literature in original and meaningful ways in
classroom discussion, in oral presentations, in written assignments, and through other
course-related activities

Attendance and Participation
You will receive 2 points for each day you attend class. You must arrive on time and stay for the entire class period to receive 2 points (e.g., if you arrive late and/or leave early, you will not receive more than 1 point for attendance, and you may, in fact, receive no points). You will then receive a maximum of 3 additional points for participation in classroom discussions and group work. For class meetings which do not include class discussion and/or group work (rare), each student will receive 3 points as long as they are attentive and participate in whatever activity is scheduled and/or unfolds. Much of our time together will be spent in discussion so you are expected to participate actively during class sessions. Participation will figure heavily in final grading; to achieve a “C” or higher in this course, you must be prepared for discussion for each class meeting. Do not, therefore, get behind in your reading and work. Be prepared for every class session with interesting ideas and comments. If you treat yourself, your abilities, and the texts you study with seriousness and dedication, the course will be challenging and rewarding for all of us.

Attendance and Participation "Make Up" Policy
If you miss a class meeting, you may attempt to "make up" the points (5) by completing a three-page analytical essay, with an argument, based on a topic of my choice (usually a text from the class meeting missed). In order to exercise this option, you must let me know by the next class meeting, following the missed class meeting, that you wish to write the three-page essay. I will then assign you a topic. The essay will then be due one week later at the beginning of class. Make sure you indicate at the top of your essay that you are submitting it for possible attendance and participation points. You may exercise this option for two missed class meetings only. Any additional class meetings cannot be "made up."

Absence Failure Policy
If you miss seven or more classes--including those you may choose to "make up" through the "Make Up" Policy above)--you will automatically fail the course. Thus, for example, if you "make up" two class meeting through the Policy above and then miss five more class meetings, you will fail the course.

Late Arrivals
Arriving late to class is rude and disruptive. For each late arrival, 1 point will be deducted from your final grade. If you arrive late 7 or more times during the semester, you will fail the course. Similarly, each time you leave early, 1 point will be deducted and leaving early 7 or more times will result in a failure of the course. In short, any combination of late arrivals and early departures totaling 7 or more will result in failure of the course.

Taking Notes
You should take notes during every class session while I am lecturing and while we are involved in a discussion. Important ideas and information will be communicated during discussions and your notes should reflect this. Active note taking will count toward your participation points for each class session. (If you miss a day of class, you should borrow another student's notes.)

Students will complete six in-class quizzes based primarily upon reading comprehension. All quizzes must be completed at the beginning of class. If you are late for class, you will not be able to take the quiz scheduled for that day. Quiz 1 will be a practice quiz which will be used for extra credit points (up to 10).

If you miss a quiz, you may attempt to make up the points by completing a three-page analytical essay--with an analytical argument--based on one of the quiz questions. In order to exercise this option, you must let me know by the next class meeting following the missed quiz that you wish to write the three-page essay. I will then assign you a topic. The essay will then be due by the following class meeting at the beginning of class. Make sure you indicate at the top of your essay that you are submitting it for possible quiz points. You may exercise this option for only one missed quiz. Any additional quizzes cannot be "made up

Paired /Group Presentation
While each of you will be required to present your ideas and contribute to class discussion throughout the semester, each student will participate in one formal and prepared presentation based on one or more of the texts we will read for the course. Working with 1-2 other students, you will present your ideas and analysis of the text(s) to the class and will be responsible for determining the direction of class discussion. You will receive a handout providing more detailed instructions.

Responses to Paired / Group Presentation Questions
Each group will select one of their discussion questions with which to begin their presentation. Students will then respond briefly to the question in written form. . If you are absent for a Group Presentation and therefore miss responding in class to the selected discussion question, you may "make it up" if you consult with me by the next class meeting and turn it in by the following class meeting (or earlier). You may exercise this option one time only.

Recitation Assignment
Once during the semester, you will be responsible for reciting in class a text or a selection of a text read for the course. After you have recited your text to the class, you will be responsible for answering questions from the class about your text. In addition, you will need to be prepared to explain why you selected your text. Each Recitation and Q&A session will likely take no more than ten minutes. You will receive a handout with further details. A Recitation may not be made up. If you miss the date for your Recitation, you will receive a "0" for the assignment.

Essay: Renaissance Text and Film (5 pages)
You will receive a handout detailing the requirements for your Essay. Please review the Grading Rubric for my expectations for Essays (which include developing an interesting and original analysis of the texts as well as a central, controlling argument). In addition, review "Requirements of Literary Analysis" above. I will provide you with a handout detailing the Essay. Proper MLA citation is required as is adherence to all Format Requirements. The Grading Rubric will figure heavily in my grading of these essays. Essays turned in after the beginning of class on the due date (see Course Schedule) will lose 5 points per day (including non-class days). Bear in mind that the Essay is worth 40 points.

Thematic Collection of Renaissance Texts
Throughout the semester, you will be working on a thematic collection of Renaissance texts which will be submitted as your final project for the course. Throughout the semester, you will be working on a thematic collection of medieval texts which will be submitted as your final project for the course. You will collect a total of 7-9 texts (read for the course) which you can link thoughtfully and analytically through a similar idea or theme that you see present among the texts. You will need to demonstrate this link and argue an interesting and unique point about the link in an Introductory Essay (at least 5 pages) which will accompany your Collection. This interesting and unique point must communicate something meaningful about the Renaissance period: together, what do your selected texts teach us about the Renaissance? Why have you brought these texts together (and not others)? Make sure you argue a specific point in your Introductory Essay. Do not, for example, argue that your texts demonstrate that love was important in the Renaissance or that violence influenced Renaissance peoples.

Each text you select should not be longer than 350 words. This means that if you wish to include longer texts, you will need to decide upon appropriate excerpts from the texts. I strongly encourage you to include a combination of shorter texts and excerpts from longer texts. Two of your 7-9 texts may be visual in nature. You may also substitute a 350-word description of a scene from one of the movies we will watch for one of your texts.

You will submit your thematic collection in a 3-ring binder as follows:

1) Affix an interesting title with your name and date to the front of your binder.

Your Title
A Thematic Collection of Renaissance Texts

With an Introductory Essay by
Your Name
The Date

2) Your Introductory Essay should appear at the front of your collection. Put the title "Introductory Essay" at the top of the page. Your essay should then follow all remaining Format Requirements (with the exception of nos. 7 and 8). Please review the Grading Rubric for my expectations for Essays (which include developing an interesting and original analysis of the texts as well as a central, controlling argument). In addition, review "Requirements of Literary Analysis" above.

3) Follow your Introductory Essay with a neat Table of Contents listing the titles and authors of your selected texts. Think carefully about how you will organize your texts (order, etc.). You may wish to explain how and why your order of texts in your Introductory Essay (as long as it contributes to an understanding of your argument).

Work on your collection of texts throughout the semester. When we read or when you come across a text that you think would fit in your collection, make a copy of it, and set it aside. Do not wait until the end of the semester to begin working on your collection.

Please see the Course Schedule for the due date for your Thematic Collection. Any Collection received after the due date will automatically receive a "0." No exceptions.

Thematic Collection Presentation
Near the end of the semester and before the deadline for your Thematic Collection, you will present your initial work on your Collection and lead the class in a brief discussion. Your Individual Presentation is an important step toward helping you compose a successful collection and accompanying introductory essay. I am particularly attentive to those students who make a concerted effort to respond to and aid their fellow and sister students' Individual Presentations. This is a perfect opportunity to conclude the semester with lots of participation points--if you participate in other students' individual presentations.

Format Requirements
If for some reason, you manage to turn in an Essay, etc., that does not follow the Format Requirements. I will deduct a number of points to be determined at my discretion (usually between 2 and 5 points per day, including non-class days). Please see below for all Format Requirements.

In-Class Writings
An in-class writing is a thoughtful response to a question or topic.

Office Appointments
I will be happy to meet with you at a time that is convenient for both of us. We can accomplish a lot if we both work hard during an appointment. I love to discuss ideas, new approaches, responses to readings, etc., outside of class. If you schedule an appointment with me, please do not miss it. (Please note, as well, that I serve on several committees and am often attending meetings on campus. If I am not in my office, please check the "locator chart" on my office door. This chart will indicate where I am if I am not in my office.)

Students With Disabilities
If you need accommodations because of a documented disability, and/or if you have medical information to share with me, please discuss this with me before our second class meeting. If you have not already obtained proper documentation from Disability Support Services, I will be happy to direct you to the appropriate office. Please feel free to e-mail me as well.

The Writing Center
A wonderful resource for all students engaged in writing projects, The Writing Center is located in Briggs 225 (across from my office). Please use it. You may find more information about The Writing Center at <ids.udmercy.edu/twc>. You may also phone them at (313) 993-1022. Better yet, stop by.

Major Portfolios - A Reminder
All English majors are required to submit a "Major Portfolio" (or "Senior Portfolio") before they graduate. All English Majors (and those planning on majoring in English) should be saving all writing assignments (including drafts, applicable writing assignments, and any other related materials) from your courses in order to prepare your required Major Portfolio. The requirements for the Portfolio may be found at

Course Evaluations
Student course evaluations are an important source of information for curricular and teaching improvement in the College of Liberal Arts and Education. As such, all students enrolled in CLAE courses should complete an online course evaluation. You will receive e-mails explaining how to complete the evaluation online. In addition, your instructor will remind you of the deadline for completing evaluations. Please be thoughtful in your responses.

Plagiarism, the use of someone else's words or ideas as your own without crediting the other person, can result in serious consequences…You are probably already aware of cases of deliberate plagiarism--handing in a paper that a friend wrote for a similar course or that was purchased online, copying passages directly from source materials. In addition, however, you should be aware of unintended plagiarism--a quotation accidentally used without quotation marks, a paraphrase that too closely resembles the original, background details used without acknowledgment in the mistaken belief that none was necessary. By understanding what material you must document, taking systematic, accurate notes, and giving full credit to sources in both parenthetical citations and in your list of sources cited, you can avoid unintended plagiarism.
(Lunsford & Connors, The New St. Martin's Handbook, Boston: Bedford, 1999. 495)

If you plagiarize in this course, you will likely fail the course.

Non-Discriminatory Language (Non-Sexist and Non-Racist Language)
The use of non-discriminatory language (i.e., language that avoids stereotyping or offending readers in relation to their gender or ethnicity) is important in two ways. Firstly, it avoids irritating and distracting readers and, secondly, it focuses attention on the content of the reading rather than diverting attention to sexual or ethnic bias. If the aim of writing is to communicate effectively, it would seem reasonable to aid that communication by using non-discriminatory language. For example, use of the terms "man," "woman," "he" and "she" need only be used when specific reference to the gender of the person is necessary to the sense of the statement. Similarly, reference to ethnic origin should only be made when it is relevant to the sense of the work.

Accordingly, the use of non-discriminatory language is required by students in their written and oral assignments. If you have any questions, please ask me. (Note: This statement was adapted from <www.usq.edu.au/education/policies/acmanual>).



- Paired / Group Presentation Handout
- Individual Presentation Handout
- Essay: Renaissance Text & Film
- All Other Writing Assignments Prepared Outside of Class

 Writing assignments and handouts not following the requirements below will not be accepted and will lose several points per day (not per class meeting; see syllabus) until the requirements are fulfilled. If you manage to turn in an assignment that does not abide by the following requirements and I discover this after class, I will deduct a select number of points (determined at my discretion) from the final grade for the assignment. If you have any questions regarding Format Requirements, ask me.

Do not turn in a writing assignment until you have fulfilled all of the following requirements.

 1. Typed

2. Double-Spaced* (throughout the entire paper: do not add extra spaces between paragraphs)

3. Standard White Paper

4. Standard Font

5. Black ink only

6. 1 - 11/2 Inch Margins (top, bottom, and sides)

7. Staple All Pages in Upper Left Corner (this includes all copies of handouts distributed to students for presentations; do not hand out separate pages; instead, prepare and staple each packet before class)**

8. Type in Upper Left Corner:

Your Name or Names of Group Members
Course Name
Dr. Hill-Vásquez
Date (make sure you include the correct and current date)

Note: Do not turn in an essay with a separate cover page.

*Single Spacing may be used on Group and Individual Presentation Handouts
**Alternatively, if you have a two-page Presentation handout, you may "double side" it. Do not
"double side" other writing assignments.



A successful student in the class will abide by all of the following. Any inattention to the following will have a negative effect on a student’s final grade in the course.

1. Do not show up late for class. Arrive a few minutes before 9:55 a.m. and remain involved and attentive until 11:10 p.m. or until I end the class. Do not begin packing up your books, etc., until 11:10 p.m. or until I end the class.

2. Do your work. Read all assignments carefully and analytically. Be prepared to discuss them in class. Have an opinion about them.

3. Participate in class discussion.

4. Do not sleep in class. If you sleep in class, you will receive no attendance or participation points.

5. Pay attention to the Course Schedule. You are responsible for the information it contains. Do not ask me about deadlines and other information that is already documented on the Course Schedule.

6. Prepare all writing assignments (unless otherwise noted) in accordance with the Format Requirements.

7. As a last step, before turning in any written work to me, make sure that you correct all spelling and grammatical errors, etc. Papers with significant sentence-level errors (regardless of analytical strength) will not likely earn a grade higher than a “C-.”

8. Get the phone numbers and e-mail addresses of at least two other students in the course. When you miss a class (if you must), phone one of these students to find out what you missed. You are responsible for what you missed due to an absence. Please do not expect me to "catch you up" or duplicate what you missed during an absence.

9. Be an active and responsible participant in your Paired Presentation. Do not leave all or most of the work to other group members. Contact your other group members well in advance of your Presentation date and meet with them.

10. Turn off your cell phone and/or pager before you come to class. If your phone or pager rings during a class session, you will receive no participation points for that session.

11. Do not e-mail me writing assignments. All writing assignments must be submitted in hard copy at the beginning of class on the day they are due or by the time assigned. I do not accept electronic submissions.

12. Do not make technological “excuses” for your late/missing work (computer or disk problems, etc.).

13. Do not plagiarize.

14. Do not do work for other courses in class.

15. Do not use your laptop during class for anything other than taking notes for the course.

16. If you wish additional help on an assignment, make sure you contact me well in advance of the due date for the assignment.

17. Do not wait until the night before to begin an assignment.

18. Always bring your textbook and other necessary materials to class with you. Organize your materials for the class in a binder or folder.

19. Be polite and respectful.

20. Be open to new ideas and perspectives.

21. Be aware of all course requirements and policies and abide by them.

Requirements for Continued Enrollment
Review this packet of materials before continuing your enrollment in this course. Your continued enrollment in this course indicates that you are responsible for all information and requirements described on the Syllabus and all other handouts presented to you. This responsibility includes your agreement to abide by the requirements of the course and by my expectations for the course and its students. If you foresee any difficulties in meeting course expectations (work load; grading; attendance; responsibility; respect for other students, instructor, etc.; being open-minded, etc.) then do not continue your enrollment in this course.

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