Thanks for stopping by! This blog contains course material for Dr. Chuck Tryon's English 1102 courses at the Georgia Institute of Technology in sprawling Atlanta, Georgia. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions. You can contact me by email at charles[dot]tryon[at]lcc[dot]gatech[dot]edu.

Feel free to use any material from this blog for educational purposes, but be sure to give credit where it is due.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Flash Mobs

Last-minute links for a discussion of flash mobs.
Plus, since we have, at least in passing, discussed punk today, I thought some of you might be interested in this photographic history of CBGB, one of the most impoartant venues in the early history of punk. Via Metafilter and things magazine.
Chris Hedges at Emory

This information is obviously last minute, but I thought a few students might be interested in a talk on Emory's campus later today.

Chris Hedges: War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning
Sponsored By: Institute for Comparative and International Studies

Additional Sponsors: Asian Studies , Institute for Comparative and International Studies, Institute of African Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies , Political Science , REES , Violence Studies Series: War, Power and Non-Violence

New York Times Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Hedges will explore the reasons we tolerate and embrace the horrors of war, articulated in his book, "War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning." As a foreign correspondent, Hedges covered Central America, the Balkans and the Middle East, including the first Gulf War, where he was captured by the Iraqis. Last year, he was a member of the team of reporters that won the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism. Booksigning and lecture followed by discussion.

Robert W. Woodruff Library
540 Asbury Circle

Wed, Jan 28, 2004 7:30 PM

Rough Draft: Paper 1

Just a quick reminder that your rough drafts for paper one will be due on Friday. Be sure to bring two copies of your rough draft with you to class for the in-class workshop.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Interesting Find

While digging around for information about Henry Giroux, I came across Possibilities, an electronic dissertation focusing on critical theory and critical studies. Giroux's website has a number of useful resources that students and teachers may find instructive.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Blog Entry on Fight Club Essays

By Wednesday, you should write a 250-word response to one of the essays we are reading on Fight Club, either Imre Szeman and Henry Giroux's "Ikea Boy Fights Back," or Geoffrey Sirc's "Difficult Politics of the Popular." For your blog entry, answer one of the following questions:
  1. In an email, Imre Szeman reminded me that "Ikea Boy" was originally published in a more public magazine, New Art Examiner, while Geoffrey Sirc's essay was originally published in a journal devoted to the study of freshman composition. How might the different audiences affect the goals and arguments of each essay?
  2. Giroux and Szeman argue that Fight Club offers little analysis of why Tyler finds his life to be unsatisfying, that it "has nothing substantive to say about the structural violence of unemployment, job insecurity, cuts in public spending, and the destruction of institutions capable of defending social provisions and the public good" (96). To what extent does Fight Club fail to offer an effective alternative to consumer capitalism?
  3. Sirc, in his response to Szeman and Giroux, argues that composition students sould be more attentive to student responses to the film that found it intellectually engaging. Do you think that Sirc effectively supports his argument? How might Sirc's argument be limited?
  4. Sirc frames his essay with a discussion of avant-garde artist, Chris Burden. How does this framing narrative relate to Sirc's larger argument?
You aren't limited to addressing these questions, but they will provide the framework with which we will wrap up our discussion of Fight Club. Also remember to focus your blog entry on one issue, rather than trying to answer all three questions. Enjoy the weekend, and I will return your proposals on Monday.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Upcoming Blog Entries

I'll provide a series of questions about the essays tomorrow, but for now, I just wanted to remind students that you can do a second entry on Fight Club in order to count towards your required total of twelve entries.

I'm looking forward to reading your paper proposals. Be sure to bring a hard copy with you to class.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Fight Club Screening

The Fight Club screening has been moved to Skiles 368, but is still scheduled for 6 PM.
Incorporating Quotations Effectively

A colleague of mine, George Williams, has prepared a handout that effectively explains MLA (Modern Language Association) style conventions for quoting and paraphrasing (PDF). It's a really useful handout that you may choose to use as a reference throughout the semester.
Fight Club Online Reserves Essays Available

I'll provide you with a set of guiding questions later today, but you can access the electronic reserves here. You may need you gt id number and password to get to the reserves. When you get to the reserve page, use the menus to select English 1102 and my last name, which will take you to the two articles. Read "Ikea Boy Fights Back" first. Then read "Politics of the Popular." "Ikea Boy" is due on Monday, and "Politics" is due on Wednesday.

If you have problems using this link, just go to the library home page, select "course reserves" on the menu on the top of the page, then click "online reserves" and follow the steps listed above.

You will be required to write a response to one of the two essays on your blog of about 250 words. More details forthcoming. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Announcements and Reminders

I'm still missing a few names from the blogroll. If your information is still missing, please re-send it. I also lost track of a few of the names that correspond to titles in the blogroll, so pay attention to this site for requests for updated information.

You should all add comment functionality to your blog by Friday, preferably using Squawkbox (which I've linked to on the right). I will also be adding class times to all your blogs over the next few days.

Don't forget that we will be watching Fight Club on Wednesday at 6 PM.

See you in class on Wednesday.

Friday, January 16, 2004

American Memory Project

In my fall semester classes, we had the opportunity to talk about the American Memory Project's collection of film archives and the early history of cinema. Now, American Memory has launched "Voices from the Days of Slavery," which provides us with the opportunity to hear interviews with former slaves recorded between 1932 and 1975. Via George Williams. If you're interested in this project, take a moment and check it out.

Douglas Rushkoff Class Blog

If you're interested, check out Douglas Rushkoff's course blog (you can check out his personal blog here). The class is open to the public and everyone is free to participate. Rushkoff's course (syllabus) focuses on the concept of interactivity, an issue we addressed in class discussion.

In the spirit of Rushkoff's "open-to-the-public" approach, I certainly invite comments from anyone who happens to come across our course. Student blogs will be available soon.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Amy Taubin Essay on Fight Club

Quick link to an essay on the Fight Club film. For now, this essay isn't required (it depends on what happens with another essay I've ordered). Tabin does identify some of the main strengths of the film, especially its critique of contemporary consumer culture using the formal elements of film. Students who write on Fight Club for their first major paper may want to take a look.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Fight Club Screening

On Wednesday, January 21, I will screen Fight Club. Attendance at the screening is voluntary, and I will assume that students who are unable to attend the screening will find some other way to see it. If possible, I will put a copy available on reserve at Tech's library. Location and exact time TBA, but the screening will take place after my 4-5 PM class in the early evening.

Monday, January 12, 2004

When You Have Your Blog Ready

By Friday, January 16, you should have your blog ready with your first major entry on Fight Club. Once you have completed that entry send the following information to charles[dot]tryon[at]lcc.gatech[dot]edu, with the appropriate symbols rather than the words.Scroll down for the discussion questions about Fight Club.

Note: I will not reply directly to your email unless there appears to be a problem. Look in the blogroll to see if I've received your email and entered the URL correctly.
Be Careful What You say Online

Everybody Googles Everybody.
Introduction to Fight Club

Starting Wednesday, we will be spending time in class discussing Chuck Palahniuk's novel, Fight Club. When reading a novel or watching a film, one of the assumptions you can make is that every element of a story, film, or novel contributes to its meaning. Most published texts are carefully crafted; therefore, no details are incidental. With this in mind, read the text carefully, paying attention to language choice, point of view, how the material is organized, etc. In fact, one of the major changes from novel to film might be the order in which certain details are presented (and how it might change our perception of Tyler, Marla, or the Narrator, "Jack").

A few questions to consider as you read:
  1. Make connections between the narrator's "identity" and consumer culture. How does Jack describe his relationship to the products he purchases or the condominium where he lives?
  2. Discuss the initial meeting between Tyler and the narrator, which is one of the more significant departures made in the film. How does this meeting between Tyler and Jack change your perception of their relationship? What do you think the novel is suggesting through Tyler's sculpture?
  3. Both the Fight Club novel and film have been charged as being misogynist, or presenting negative views of women. Based on what you've read so far, do these charges seem true? Explain why you hold your position.
  4. What function do the self-help groups seem to serve in the novel? Palahniuk seems to be treating them satirically. What are the implications of that satire?

Friday, January 09, 2004

Quick Reminder:

This post is just a reminder that we will be meeting in Skiles 302 on Monday, January 12, rather than in our usual classroom. On Monday, we will take a few minutes of class to get students situated with their own personal weblogs (commonly called "blogs"), essentially an easily updated online journal that you will keep throughout the semester. During that time, I will introduce some of the key attributes of keeping a weblog and why I use blogs in my classes rather than WebCT.

By Monday, you should also be starting to read Fight Club.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Reading Assignment:

Your first reading assignemnet in English 1102 will be to read these two brief essays by New York University professor of virtual culture, Douglas Rushkoff. Rushkoff is the author of Coercion, Cyberia, Media Virus, Playing with the Future, and the novel, Ecstasy Club.

These two essays introduce some of the themes we will be considering in English 1102, specifically questions about consumer culture that we will be addressing in our reading of Chuck Palahniuk's novel, Fight Club.

While you are reading, be sure to take note of the key points in the essay and the support that the authour uses. A few other questions to consider while you read:
  1. In "The Pursuit of Cool," Rushkoff takes the approach of directly addressing companies that market products. What is the overall effect of this approach?
  2. Rushkoff refers to the "utopian" images offered by products such as Abercrombie and Fitch and Dawson's Creek. How do you interpret Rushkoff's use of utopian in this context?
  3. In "Sneakers," how does Rushkoff characterize our relationship to the media? What effect do digital technologies have on the ways in which people communicate? Think very specifically about Rushkoff's arguments about how these communications technologies change the way we think and interact with texts.
  4. Rushkoff frames "Sneakers" with an anecdote describing a male teenager trying to decide what sneakers to purchase? How does this narrative contribute to Rushkoff's overall argument?
I look forward to working with you in English 1102. Keep an eye on the course blog for further updates.
testing...tesing...is this thing on?

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