Culture Survey, HPD-3050-B

Instructor: Sujay Pandit, spandit@sva.edu
Term: Spring 2013
Class Meetings: Location- 136 West 21st St, Rm 415F
Tuesday, 12:00PM – 2:50 PM
Office Hours: Tuesdays 3:00 PM, by appointment only

A PDF Version of this syllabus is available here: SVA Kings and Queens Spring 2013 Syllabus

Course Description:

What do we see when we hear the words kings and queens? What do they represent, and how do they present? This course will look at the topic of kings and queens by analyzing a broad cross-section of all who fall under these monikers from the monarchy to the figure of the welfare queen. Paying particular attention to the visual cues that make one a king or a queen and the performances of self that are required of these royal titles, we will trace why and how such terms have become used to describe a wide range of individuals and identities. We will ask: how does power play out in the realm of the visual, and how do we understand power in the postcolonial and globalized world that we live in today?

Building on the Fall semester, this course will continue to expand our understanding of these questions by venturing into a variety of texts (literary, historical and non-fiction), films, performances and media and using them as analytical lenses to broaden our concept of “kings and queens” into historical and global spheres.

Note: Any supplementary essays will be posted on my.sva.edu.  Required texts appear at the end of this syllabus.  All required texts may be purchased at Shakespeare & Co. and at a variety of other booksellers and marketplaces.

Policies (Grading, Attendance, Plagiarism)

Course Objectives:

By the end of this course you will be able to distinguish the various roles kings and queens have played throughout history, epochs and in a multiplicity of geographical locales.  You will read a wide-genre of texts and will produce written and new media projects that will showcase your understanding of these themes.  And, finally, you will be able to correlate traditional notions of “kings and queens” with modern sensibilities.

 Course Requirements:

  • Students are required to do all the readings and participate in class discussions. [Participation—20% of grade]
  • Weekly Web Blog Postings [15%]
  • Short paper (6-8 pages) due on or before Monday, February 25 by 5:00pm. [20%]
  • Final project, a. written component (8-10 pages, each) due April 19, 5pm.  b. new media component (≥ 5 minute video). Your videos will be viewed on the last-day of class as part of our final presentations.  *One-page paper proposal due March 19. [30%]
  • Class presentation based on the artists and/or works listed with each class week: 20-25 minute presentation [15%]

Grading Policy:

Your final grade will be based on your successful and timely completion of all assignments, including your demonstrated evidence of participation, weekly blog postings and presentations.

Grading Chart:

A = 94-100 A- = 90-93 B+ = 87-89 B = 84-86 B- = 80-83 C+ = 77-79 C = 74-76 C- = 70-73
D+ = 67-69 D = 64-66 D- = 60-63 F = 0-60

Course Policies:

Attendance, Lateness and Food:

Attendance is expected at all times. In case of emergency, please notify me before class via email (spandit@sva.edu). More than one unexcused absence and each subsequent unexcused absence (excluding emergency/medical) will result in a half letter grade deduction (i.e. from an A to an A-).  You must provide a physician’s note for any medical absence. After three unexcused absences, you will be dropped from the course.

Lateness is absolutely not accepted.  Any lateness over ten minutes after the start of class (12:00pm) will be marked as an unexcused absence. Please be on time. The NYC transit system can pose travel delays, so please allow adequate time to get to class (especially during inclement weather conditions).

You may bring in covered beverages to class, but food only permitted during the class break.


Our class blog is located at sva.sujaypandit.com (or svakingsandqueens.wordpress.com).  Please consult it for the class syllabus, contact information, weekly assignments and additional supplementary sources.  Your weekly comments should also be posted on this website under the appropriate week.  If you are a presenter, feel free to post supplementary discussion questions/videos/etc. to this blog.

Technology Use:

Please turn off mobile phones and other portable electronic devices BEFORE you enter class. If you use such devices during class you will be asked to leave and you will receive an unexcused absence for that class. Please turn off the wireless link on computers and similar devices, which should be used only for taking notes or presenting multimedia materials. E-readers are encouraged and are permitted only to access the required texts.


Participation Grade

You are required to come to class on time having read the assignments and ready to critically engage in the readings.  This is a small class in which discussion is very important, and as such I expect everyone to have at least one contribution to the each class session.  If you find that you are having difficulty doing this, then please see me and we will talk about other ways in which you might fulfill your participation grade. Commenting on other people’s posts on the class blog will count positively toward your participation grade.

All written assignments are due in hard copy in class on time. The only exception to this rule is a family emergency, in which case the instructor should be informed before deadline, otherwise a letter grade will be taken off for each overdue day.

Web Blog Postings/Electronic Journal

For each class session (1x a week), you will post a reaction to the assigned readings on our course blog under the appropriate week.

This assignment is designed to get you in the habit of writing and thinking in dialogue with the course materials, to experiment with written and other forms of thinking, and to integrate writing into the earliest stages of thinking and research, including brainstorming topics and ideas for your final project.

This is a good place to post links, embed media, and brainstorm for your presentations and your final project. This is less a formal writing assignment and more a chance for you to reflect, pose questions, and otherwise engage with the readings. You do not need to summarize each reading, although this is certainly one option, especially with denser texts (i.e.- to try out what you think the author is saying). Discuss what excites or confuses you about the readings.  Please write at least 250 words (2-3 paragraphs). These posts should be posted by Midnight on day before each class.

In Class Presentations:

Once this semester, you will be in charge of spearheading our navigation into a particular text for the duration of our study of that text.  As facilitators, before each class discussion you will present background information on the text and author, a short summary of the plot/themes/keywords, and provide at least 2-3 discussion questions that relate to the text. These presentations should be around 20 minutes.

This presentation should in some way engage with the week’s reading, but may be in whatever style your group thinks works best. Presentations must include some audio-visual component, and should be formatted using presentation software like PowerPoint, Quicktime, Prezi, or Keynote.

After making the presentation, you should post an electronic version of your presentation, along with media examples, to the shared class blog. You may either post the text of the presentation with embedded media, or you may export your presentation into a Quicktime movie or an online format like 280 Slides or Prezi.

You will be graded on the thoughtfulness, creativity, and clarity of your presentation, as well as your success in engaging the class with questions and sparking discussion.

Once posted to the blog, other students are encouraged to use the comment feature to comment on the presentation, make connections to other readings or other media examples, and otherwise extend the class conversation to the blog. Online comments will count positively toward your participation grade.

If you are presenting on a text, you will not be required to write blog postings for that text.

Midterm Project

Your midterm assignment will be to produce an essay that examines at least two of the texts/kings & queens that we have studied to that point.  You may interrogate, examine and critique the authors’ usage of the trope of “kings and queens,” theoretical frames or build on the topics we discuss in class.  This paper should in some way compare, contrast, build on or question the texts.

Length: 6-8 pages (double spaced) with proper citations and a works cited page.

Due:  February 25 by 5pm (although you may certainly turn it in earlier!)

Visit The Purdue OWL: Research and Citation site by clicking here!

Final Project

The final project has two components.

  1. Written paper.  This paper should demonstrate a sustained critique of how your understanding of “kings and queens” has changed throughout this year.  You may call on sources from the first semester and the second.  Use this paper to interrogate/analyze/question how the themes of “kings and queens” have changed throughout history and are specific to time and place.  Some possibilities may include: examining how visual cues of various kings and queens have changed/been employed, exploring how particular kings and queens appear in their cultural contexts, or contrasting the cultural significances of the different kings and queens we have studied. (8-10 pages)
  1. New Media Project.  In lieu of a final presentation, you will be asked to create a short video (5 minutes or less) that in some way presents the research of your paper.  The form for this video can be of your choosing.  Some examples include: animation, a theatrical production, mock documentary, interviewing kings and queens, etc.  These videos will be shown on the last day of class and published on the class blog.

All papers must be printed on 8.5-by-11-inch paper, double-spaced, numbered, and in a 12-point, Times New Roman font with standard margins (1-inch top and bottom, 1.25-inch left and right).  All assignments must be in hard copy with the student’s surname on each page.  Handwritten and emailed assignments will not be accepted.  Proper citation and bibliographies will be expected in all papers. Please see http://www.libs.uga.edu/ref/chicago.html for a formatting guide. Proofread!

 Disability Services Statement:

In order to receive academic accommodations due to a disability, a student must first register with ODS. Instructors should be notified of any requests for reasonable accommodations at the beginning of the semester. All instructors adhere to the School’s policies regarding accommodations for students with disabilities. Students who have a documented disability, or suspect they may have a disability, are encouraged to contact the ODS, via telephone: (212) 592-2281, or visit their office: 23 Lexington Avenue, Mezzanine, in the George Washington Residence, or email: disabilityservices@sva.edu.

Plagiarism Statement:

Do not plagiarize! All confirmed cases of plagiarism will be forwarded to the Provost and kept on file. First-time offenders will be faced with either a failing grade for the plagiarized paper or a failure for the course; repeat offenders will be subjected to disciplinary action that may result in suspension or expulsion from the college. A final grade of X+ (withdrawal without failure) will not be considered an appropriate option in cases of confirmed plagiarism.

Required Texts:

A  Tempest: Based  on  Shakespeare’s  ‘The  Tempest;’  by  Aimé  Césaire,
Publisher:  Theatre  Communications  Group/TGC  Translations;  1  edition  (May  1, 2002)   ISBN­‐10: 1559362103

Siddhartha  (Penguin  Classic  s  Deluxe  Edition  )  by  Hermann  Hesse
Publisher:  Penguin  Classics  (December  31,  2002)  ISBN-­‐10:  0142437182

The  Conference  of  the  Birds  (Penguin  Classics)  by  Farid-­‐Ud-­‐Din  Attar,  et  al.
Publisher:  Penguin  Classics  (July  3,  1984)  ISBN-­‐10:  0140444343

The  Last  King  of  Scotland  by  Giles  Foden
Publisher:  Vintage;  First  Vintage  International  Edition  edition  (October  26,  1999)
ISBN-­‐10:  0375703314

The  Penelopiad  (Canongate  Myths)  by  Margaret  Atwood
Publisher:  Canongate  U.S.;  Reprint  edition  (September  14,  2006)  ISBN-­‐10:  1841957984

The  Politics  of  Disgust  :  The  Public  Identity  of  the  Welfare  Queen  by  Ange-­‐Marie Hancock
Publisher:  NYU  Press  (December  1,  2004)  ISBN-­‐10:  081473670X

The  Ramayana:  A  Shortened  Modern  Prose  Version  of  the  Indian  Epic  by  R.  K.  Narayan
Publisher:  Penguin  Classics  (August  29,  2006)  ISBN-­‐10:  0143039679

The  Snow  Queen  (Everyman’s  Library  Children’s  Classics)  by  Hans  Christian  Andersen,  et  al.
Publisher:  Everyman’s  Library  (November  5,  2002)  ISBN-­‐10:  0375415122

The  Tempest  (Modern  Library  Classics)  by  William  Shakespeare,  Jonathan  Bate
Publisher:  Modern  Library;  First  Edition  edition  (August  12,  2008)  ISBN-­‐10:  0812969103

The  Three  Theban  Plays:  Antigone;  Oedipus  the  King;  Oedipus  at  Colonus  by
Sophocles  (Author),  et  al.
Publisher:  Penguin  Classics;  1st  edition  (February  7,  1984)   ISBN-­‐10:  0140444254

*Additionally, there may be pop quizzes throughout the semester and guest speakers.


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