Week 8 Updated!

The Google Classroom code is s5wqbmz

Dear Students,

I just realized this was vaguely written. The Monday assignment is cancelled: The revised schedule asks you to write a short, informal response en route to an essay by Monday. I believe everyone is overwhelmed at the moment, and I am personally too busy developing an online transition for the semester to respond adequately to Monday writing.

On Thursday, this site will automatically take you to the site for our class on Google Classroom. As is stated in another recent post and in a handout discussed at our most recent meeting, get your Google account for Queens CollegeAll materials, assignments, and grades will be moved to the Google Classroom site for our class in order to make things as simple as possible.

For now, please try to read the coursework for the coming week. The links are posted below for you:

3/17 Christopher Marlowe, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus Scenes 1-6

British Library, An Introduction to Doctor Faustus.  

3/19 British Library, Key Features of Renaissance Culture

Christopher Marlowe, Dr. Faustus, scenes 7-final chorus) 

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Revised Schedule

Week 4 2/18 Discussion  Reading: Lynn Worsham, “Moving Beyond the Logic of Sacrifice” (19-31).    2/19 Discussion; in-class writing Reading: Gwyneth Jones, “The Universe of Things.”  Due: Rough draft of Essay I   Thesis; irony; using a theoretical lens.
Week 5 2/25 Discussion  Reading: Lynn Worsham, “Moving Beyond the Logic of Sacrifice” (32-44).  Due: Discussion board 2/27 Discussion; in-class writing §  Donna Haraway, “Women in the Integrated Circuit;” Bhanu Kapil, short selection from Humanimal.  Due: Professional Draft of Essay I   
Week 6  3/3 Discussion Reading:Bhanu Kapil, from Humanimal Due: Graphic response  3/5 Discussion; in-class writing.
Week 7 3/10  “Women in the Integrated Circuit”  “Cyborg: Myth of Political Identity”  Homework: Graphic response 3/12  Excerpt from “Walking Among the Comrades” and handout from Buddhism in America Homework: Discussion board topics will be drafted in/as a class.  Introduction to critical cyborg history and the influence of materialism.
Week 8  3/17 Christopher Marlowe, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus Scenes 1-6 British Library, An Introduction to Doctor Faustus.      Due Monday 11:59 pm: 2 pg. informal response en route to Essay II 3/19 British Library, Key Features of Renaissance Culture Brainstorm Form: literary terms II Reading: Christopher Marlowe, Dr. Faustus, scenes 7-final chorus)   
Week 9 3/24 Reading Due: Humanism Questioned (p. 385-391) (see here for a quick synopsis of Marlowe’s Tamburlaine) And, Hans Moravec, “Pigs in Cyberspace”   Due Monday 11:59pm: Full draft   3/26   Reading due: Cleanth Brooks, “Structure and Genre in Doctor Faustus”  Establishing motive; making use of theory. 
Week 10 3/31 Effective Library Research Workshop, Discussion. Reading: Void Star (Chapters 1-9) Due: Professional Draft of Essay II 4/2; Introduction to the Annotated Bibliography; discussion. Reading: Void Star (Chapters 10-13) Research, functions of sources, using an interpretive lens, 
Week 11 4/7  NO CLASS (Wed. schedule) Due: CRAB entry 4/9 NO CLASS Spring Recess  

Coronavirus contingency plan:

Please check the blog daily for updates. Make sure you have the link to the blog in a browser window for ease of access.

Prepare to go online, if necessary, in the following ways:

Get your Google account for Queens College. Materials on this system can only be accessed via your Queens College account. Short lectures and tutorials will replace in-class meetings, when necessary, in order to meet asynchronously as much as possible.

Be sure that you are able to access Blackboard Collaborative Ultra. If you work from a smartphone, know that the app for BB Collaborative Ultra is different from the regular BB app and is much more functional/up-to-date than the regular BB app.

Further update: As much as possible, we will be crafting discussion boards in our class meetings and posting follow-ups online. It is hoped that this will be a more engaging way to use the discussion board.

Essay 2: Lens Analysis


Assignment Concept: Lens analysis requires you to distill a concept, theory, method, or claim from a text (i.e. the “lens”) and then use it to interpret, analyze, or explore something else e.g. a first-hand experience, visual text, physical object or space, historical or current event or figure, a cultural phenomenon, an idea or even another text (i.e. “the exhibit”). A writer employing lens analysis seeks to assert something new and unexpected about the exhibit; she strives to go beyond the expected or the obvious, exploiting the lens to acquire novel insights. Furthermore, there is a reciprocal aspect in that the exploration of the exhibit should cause the writer to reflet, elaborate, or comment on the selected concept or claim. Using a concept developed by someone else to conduct an analysis or interpretation of one’s own is a fundamental move in academia, one that you will no doubt be required to perform time and time again in college. 

Assignment Prompt: Choose one of the following prompts for your essay. 

  1. Discuss the key themes of the serial prose poem Humanimal.  Produce a close reading in your investigation of these metaphors. Make use of other relevant texts to prove your point.
  2. Explain how Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus reflects humanist ideals, and how those ideals may or may not also be reflected in Hans Moravec’s “Pigs in Cyberspace.” 
  3. Discuss the key themes of the short story “The Universe of Things.” Produce a close reading in your investigation of these themes. Make use of other relevant texts to prove your point. 

What I am looking for (a.k.a. how you get your “grade”, i.e. full points):

  1. Do you know how to read a writer’s biography and extract the relevant information that will help give useful context to the novel and the topic you are discussing? 
  2. Do you know how to create a clear and interesting thesis that answers the prompt?
  3. Do you know how to structure paragraphs around topic sentences?
  4. Do you know how to extract relevant information from the texts to support your thesis and topic sentences? 
  5. Do you know how to use, integrate, cite, and document other people’s ideas properly?
  6. Do you rework your draft after receiving feedback from readers? 
  7. Do you edit and proofread your drafts? 

Women in the Integrated Circuit

In “Women in the Integrated Circuit” by  Donna Haraway the author introduces the past experiences of women.  A woman’s place in society was limited by her social class. If you were a woman of a blue collared background your life was split between the factory and home. If you were a wealthier woman your life was split between the market and your home. Despite having an impact on each other, home and work lives were kept separate from each other. In order for a woman to progress she must network. Networking could help her move higher up the ranks in society. 

Haraway then goes into detail as to how society has changed in terms of each division. In modern times it is not uncommon to come across a women- headed household. Markets are now focused on consumers once ignored.  Women and minority groups still face discrimination in the workforce but there has been a rise in both female and minority workers. Time arrangements have been introduced in the workplace in order for workers to split their time between home and job in a more efficient way.  The welfare state is seen to be crumbling, there is less concern with those in need. There is a lack of concern for one another. All children have access to public education. Women are more outspoken about their reproductive rights. In religion women still struggle with their role in religion. The topic of sex and health is still at odds with spirituality. 

Haraway believes that  socialist-feminist politics focused on science is urgent.  There are opportunities to make life better for women but it is falling on deaf ears. “It is crucial to remember that what is lost,perhaps especially from women’s point of view,is often virulent forms of oppression,nostalgically naturalized in the face of current violation.”(Haraway,20) Those who say they miss the times when women were stay at home wives often don’t understand how constraining that was to women. 

James Baldwin once stated ““I am not interested really in talking to you as an artist. It seems to me that the artist’s struggle for his integrity must be considered as a kind of metaphor for the struggle, which is universal and daily, of all human beings on the face of this globe to get to become human beings. It is not your fault, it is not my fault, that I write. And I never would come before you in the position of a complainant for doing something that I must do… The poets (by which I mean all artists) are finally the only people who know the truth about us. Soldiers don’t. Statesmen don’t. Priests don’t. Union leaders don’t. Only poets.”. Humans struggle to interact with one another therefore they lack the understanding of each other’s conflicts. It is up to writers to start a movement in which they identify problems within our society that don’t get enough attention. The title relates to how we as Humans have become cyborgs based on how integrated technology has become in our daily lives. A circuit is a loop which is a metaphor for how women’s work lives and home lives have become more connected. 

Where do you see feminism in the future? Haraway describes humans as cyborgs, what are some positive and negatives about this statement? In what other ways can the female experience be articulated to white males? Do you consider yourself ignorant to the problems or your peers, if so how can you fix that?

A diagram of a circuit

Humanimal 2

In Humanimal, the author looks into the story of Kamala and Amala, living with wolves in India. The author tries to attempt to get the audience to “see” and be present with vivid descriptions of the jungle. The writer says “like a liquid metal — the jungle” (9) and “of the branches where the leaves are (9).” It is to have the character’s come to life, using the descriptions of how wolves would move about. She draws close to an alphabet depicting reality so it can be “exhausted,” asking the reader, from the first paragraph of the book to its end: “Can you see it?” (9). “Humanimal 2,” is written in prose form; each paragraph of the poem is either numbered or lettered. She is trying to get the reader to understand what is happening, but not as if they are reading, but from a first-person point of view. 

The author jumps around throughout the writing. She goes to visit the site where Kamala and Amala briefly lived “as girls,” her own father’s journey to England from India, and the ridicule the author witnessed upon coming to England from India. She talks about her father’s childhood in India where “his feet resembled those of a goat’s” and talks about India’s independence in 1947 (35). Kapil is often asked by the Indian locals if she is from “France…”American”… or from “another country,” and feels her difference through skin color and language (18). Although her father went from India to England, she feels like an outsider in her father’s country. The journey her father untook gave the author better opportunities, but left a void in her culturally and historically. She does not understand the culture, but attempts to close the gap by asking a Calcutta native and film student from Paris. 

The story tries to bring the audience into the story, imagining how a wolf or wolf-child would see the world.  “I am a wolf with my sore hips…she opens up her coat like two wings and I step into her cloth heart, her cleft of matted fur” (11). The author is describing some features of the wolf and her mother to provide a literal image to the audience. The author’s writing merges time, borders, animals, human beings into the storyline of reality. For example, there is a picture of a map which shows an injury in her father’s leg from a street beating (20,21). This merges into a map of India — trying to intersect the two stories into one. It is about the body incorporating borders, the forest and flesh intertwining. Similarly it is about the author trying to create a cohesive narrative utilizing different time periods and different characters.

 The book’s genre is difficult to understand. “The film-makers…hire the local folkloric theater…to re-enact the capture of a girl by a wolf” (29). The author is visiting the jungle and is using a local theater group to tell the story of how the girls were captured and then raised by wolves.  It is a comparison of wolves to humans and the many similarities and differences that come in between the life of animals and the life of humans. The author notes: “chronologies only record the bad days, the attempted escapes” (13). Kapil is saying it is hard for her to imagine the retrieval of the girls, as stories only record the attempted escapes. The author tries to tell the audience about “this is corrective therapy; the fascia hardening over a lifetime then split in order to reset it” (14) indicating the hardships for the girls to return to being “girls”. It speaks of the transformation from animals back to humans and the restorative power of physical therapy. 

The story claims that the two girls were found by a man named Joseph who found them in a cave and how he tried to bring them back from the wild life to the real world now, but it didn’t work. Joseph killed the wolf and gave the two girls human food, but they declined to take it because they were so used to living with the wolves.


  1. Why do you think the author chooses to write the poem in prose form?
  2. The poet tells the audience about some features of a wolf, how they walk, how there fur is, and where they sleep. If there was one characteristic of a wolf you could obtain — what would it be? Why? 
  3. How do you think the poet’s father’s journey has shaped the poet’s outlook of the world and India in general? Does she expect to feel more welcomed?

Reading for Next Week

Dear Students,

Hurray! We are almost finished with the first unit of the class, on close reading. I really enjoyed reading all of your essays. It is a pleasure to see your thoughts develop when thinking about these poems, especially those of you who made substantial changes between your predrafts and formal drafts. I can’t wait to see how things develop as you establish and/or revise your thesis statements and organize your paragraphs around explaining and arguing your theses. If you have not received comments from me for your formal draft, check your other emails addresses and write me if you still do not see them. If you have not received feedback on your draft because I don’t have your draft, you are failing my class until I get your essay. All drafts of all essays are required to pass the class, and I will not accept missing essays at the end of the semester, but the good news is that these essays are not hard to write if you take it step by step in the way I have explained in the assignments for the predraft and formal draft.

Reading: Humanimal is online in the resources page (remember the password is different there, and it is on the course syllabus in case you forget). Read “Humanimal 2,” pages 9-35 (the type is large and it will go fast). I have included the introduction and Humanimal 1 for those who want more context to Humanimal 2.

denial of death

“ This denial of death is itself numbing – that is, psychic numbing further traumatizes the individual who engages in the denial of death through false witness”

The denial of death is more damaging than helpful. The longer a person is traumatized or anxious about a real or psychological death, the worse it will be. When someone accepts death and understands reality they can begin to live a calmer and stress-free life because they are no longer torturing themselves with the idea of death, which in most cases is worse than the death itself. Another concept mentioned is the idea of a false witness in which we use as a defense mechanism that places our own death anxieties onto others. Someone else becomes the victim of our anxiety. The article uses Jews and Black people as an example. It suggests that people are so traumatized that they will exploit onto another group or person what they are so afraid of, so, therefore, they become the victim and not themselves.

Something I think this can relate to this is the concept of “ hurt people hurt people”. A lot of the time victims of rape end up becoming the rapists themselves because they are using this concept discussed in the article that they cannot deal with the psychological pain, therefore, they place it onto another person. People may not even realize this and it is most of the time subconscious. Humans are very much afraid of life. They fear the unknown, danger, loneliness and more. Being a human is very vulnerable and it becomes a very hard task to balance all the questions, pain, and responsibilities. Through this, it seems impossible for people not to have these internal struggles. It makes sense we fear death, because its a fear of not being in control, the loss of power and not knowing what lies ahead of us. In a matter of just a few seconds, our brain has so many anxieties and thoughts running through it. There has to be an outlet for these anxieties. Therefore there are different ways people confront them. One way is what the article discusses: the false witness. Is this healthy? I don’t think so. Is it inevitable? Maybe. The real question is: does this cycle ever end? A person may not even realize this is going on in their head. How can they recognize it and then proceed to control and take care of it?

An example can be seen in The Universe of Things where it says ” The mechanic’s experience was his own concern, had been an internal matter from the start. The alien was not responsible for kinks of human psychology, nor for imaginary paranormal incidents.” ( pg.60) Throughout the story, the mechanic seems to be having his own experiences with the alien in his head that are not actually happening in real life. He is overthinking about things that shouldn’t be overthought about. This is because, as it says in the quote, he is clearly dealing with something from his past that allows for these thoughts to arise in his head.

People come into life with their own experiences, and when it is a traumatizing experience of anxiety they carry with them it can completely change the reality for that specific person. A person can be experiencing something through a completely different lens than another person because they have gone through something similar or something that triggers certain feelings.

Questions that are relevant to this topic are : who do you think peoples anxiety’s and past trauma’s effect more, themselves or others? Is this idea spoken about in society or do people try pretend that everything is fine? Why do you think that is?