Kathryn Conrad, Associate Professor, English
kconrad [at] ku.edu
Fall 2008
ENGL 590/ 790:
Northern Ireland: Literature, Culture, Politics
Blackboard site: http://courseware.ku.edu/?bbatt=Y

**UPDATED 11-3**

requirements | texts | resources & policies | blogging | reading & assignment schedule

This interdisciplinary course will provide an in-depth look into Northern Irish culture and politics, focusing in particular on contemporary
Northern Ireland. We will study both the issues associated with the "Troubles" as well as the larger political, social, and cultural picture of Northern Ireland left out by a conflict-driven analysis. In order to broaden our understanding of Northern Irish culture, we will study not only historiography and political analysis, but also art, literature, film, anthropology, and cultural criticism. Our goal is not only to gain a general understanding of Northern Ireland, but also to think critically about how knowledge of Northern Ireland is produced, reproduced, and circulated through different media and, in academia, different disciplines.

This course fills requirements for the Global Awareness Program (GAP).

Students will be expected to write a substantial interpretive research paper, a brief (10 minute) preview of which will be presented to the class during the final two weeks of the semester and a bibliography for which will be due on November 3. Students have the option to do one long (20-page) research paper or a shorter (10-page) research paper and another project, subject to instructor approval and due by October 27.

This course will require internet access for a large portion of the readings and for participation on Blackboard. You must ensure that Blackboard has accurate contact information listed for you. Some films will be screened outside of class time; students who cannot make the film screening must make arrangements to view it privately.

--complete assigned readings
--take required self-assessments (no grade)
--participate in course blog (see below)
--participate in classroom discussion
--participate in short critical writing assignments
--complete final examination

Most of the texts and materials for the class will be available through the Conflict Archive on the Internet (CAIN) and online sources available through Blackboard. Students are expected to have a command of the texts and other materials assigned for the class; where printouts are not reasonable, students should take notes on the materials and be able to discuss them in class. I recommend that you download online materials so that you may consult them when you are not connected to the internet. See individual units for readings.

Texts to purchase:
Gerry Adams, The Street
Robert Mcliam Wilson, Eureka Street


      Grading:  In this course we will be using the new +/- grading scale, approved by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to describe intermediate levels of performance between a maximum of A and a minimum of F.  Intermediate grades represented by plus or minus shall be calculated as .3 units above or below the corresponding letter grade.

      Prerequisites: Admission to English courses numbered 300 and above is limited to students who have completed the freshman-sophomore English requirements or their equivalents.

      Plagiarism:  Plagiarism is stealing and passing off someone else's ideas or words as one's own or using information from another's work without crediting the source. Any detected cheating offense--including but not limited to plagiarism; the unauthorized use of crib sheets, texts, or other materials during an examination or quiz; the copying of another student's work (even with the permission or aid of that student, who is thereby culpable); the use of prewritten essays (the student's own or someone else's); the uncredited adoption of another writer's interpretation of a work; or the unauthorized use of work written for another assignment or class--will be reported to the University. A record of each verified offense will be kept throughout the student's association with the University (Adopted from FSE statement).

             Plagiarism is not a game, nor is it simply a "shortcut" when time presses. It is a very serious form of academic misconduct and will be treated as such in this class. When you consult outside sources for ideas--through published or unpublished essays, interviews, the Internet, conversation, etc.--you must cite those sources in your work. I understand that academic work can be daunting: if you are struggling with an assignment, are unclear about my expectations, or are behind on your work, please consult me. There is always a better path than plagiarism; I can work with you to help you find your own voice while incorporating others' ideas appropriately. If after reading the statement above, you are still unclear about what constitutes plagiarism, ask me BEFORE turning in an assignment.

             A plagiarized assignment will result in failure of the assignment (no credit given); it also impacts your larger course grade more than a paper that merely receives an F, and will usually result in failure of the course. The Department of English has a zero-tolerance policy on plagiarism. Formal records are currently kept by the Department of English and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. I may also send a copy of the plagiarism form to the home department of any student who is found to have plagiarized.

      Recording of Classes:  At KU, course materials prepared by the instructor, together with the content of lectures, are the property of the instructor. Video and audio recording of lectures and review sessions without the consent of the instructor is prohibited. On request, the instructor will usually grant permission for students to audio tape lectures, on the condition that these audio tapes are only used as a study aid by the individual making the recording. Unless explicit permission is obtained from the instructor, recordings of lectures and review sessions may not be modified and must not be transferred or transmitted to any other person, whether or not that individual is enrolled in the course. (Adapted from KU Faculty Council statement)

      Attendance and Termination of Enrollment: The Department of English reserves the right to terminate administratively the enrollment of any student who misses two consecutive class meetings during the first two weeks of the semester. [This applies to all students in this course, regardless of the department under which you've enrolled.] Should an emergency situation cause the student to miss two consecutive class meetings, the student should contact the instructor(s) immediately. Students are expected to submit promptly requests to drop should they decide to disenroll from any classes. The last day to drop classes online is September 11.
      (Adapted from University Timetable)

      Students with Disabilities: The staff of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD), 135 Strong (Lawrence), 785-864-2620 (v/tty), coordinates accommodations and services for KU courses. If you have a disability for which you may request accommodation in KU classes and have not contacted them, please do as soon as possible. Please also see me privately in regard to this course (Adopted from SSD statement).

    Writing Resources:

          o Writing Center: Most colleges and universities have a writing center, a place for students to talk about their writing with trained peer consultants. At KU, we call our writing centers Writer's Roosts. When you visit, bring your work in progress and an idea of what you would like to work on-organization, support, documentation, editing, etc. The Roosts are open in several different locations across campus; please check the website at http://www.writing.ku.edu/ for current locations and hours. The Roosts welcome both drop-ins and appointments, and there is no charge for their services. For more information, please call 864-2399 or send an e-mail to writing@ku.edu (Adapted from Writing Center Statement).
          o Jack Lynch's guide to grammar and usage--a really useful guide.  Jack's "How to get an A on an English paper" is pretty interesting, too (though I offer no guarantees!).

Weather cancellations: Call 864-SNOW to discover whether classes have been cancelled by the University due to inclement weather. Cancelled classes will be held online; see this website for details.  Be sure that Blackboard has your correct contact information, since I will use it to send e-mail in case of a cancellation.


  • Why a blog?

We'll be using a course blog much the same way other courses use Discussion Boards. The benefit of a blog is that it is easy to follow the thread of the discussion visually.

Blogging allows you to share your ideas on the material, starting from a prompt provided by the instructor. Unlike classroom discussion, which is spontaneous and sometimes fast-paced, blogging offers an opportunity for you to provide a thoughtful, articulate response.

  • What's a "substantial blog posting"?

A substantial blog posting is a short paragraph response either to the instructor prompt or to another student's posting on the topic. A substantial posting also takes into consideration the entire conversation, even if it is directed primarily toward one comment. In other words, read other people's posts before posting.

Blog discussions, like any discussions, can get off topic; that's fine, but the blog postings that count toward your requirement are those that are on-topic.

  • Do all of my postings have to be "substantial"?

Not at all. You are welcome to use the blog informally, just as in any discussion. When postings are required, however, you must offer a substantial post.

  • Can I start a new thread?

Yes, you can post a new thread. Please do so only if you feel it is a significantly different issue than that raised by the initial thread.


(subject to change:  see Blackboard Site for details.)


August 25: Introduction. Background. Intro questionnaire.

August 27:  The Troubles: Loyalism, Nationalism, and Partition.  Articles.


Sept 1: No class: Labor Day

Sept 3:  Civil Rights, Paramilitaries, and the Peace Process. Articles.


Sept 8:  Troubles Lit 1Cal (movie) in class, and discussion.

Sept 10:  Cal discussion, continued, and  Beckett, 'A Belfast Woman.' (Note:  two blog postings on Troubles Lit 1--any texts--by 9/17)


Sept 15: poetry selections 1:

Heaney, 'Punishment'

Anderson, 'Gang Bang, Ulster Style'

Muldoon, 'The Sightseers' & 'Anseo'

Sept 17:  poetry selections 2:  

from Ormsby, ed.,  Rage for Order. Read the whole (substantial) selection;you may post your preference for a selection of poems on which you'd like to focus.

Two blog postings on Troubles Lit 1 due by today.


Sept 22: The Peace Process. Articles and agreements.  One blog posting due by today.

Sept 24: Troubles Lit 2: Republican West Belfast. Devlin, 'Naming the Names.'  (Note:  two blog postings on Troubles Lit 2 by 10-1).


Sept 29: Gerry Adams, The Street

Oct 1: Gerry Adams, cont.  Two blog postings on Troubles Lit 2 due by today.


updated from here on:


Oct 6: Loyalist Traditions. Articles.  

Oct 8: Harkin film in class.

Oct. 9: Blog posting on marching and tradition due.


Oct 13: Murals.  Articles, murals and graffiti photos.  Blog posting due.

Oct 15: Barr, 'The Wall Reader.'

Oct 16: Blog posting on murals


Oct 20:  Photography.  Articles and photography.  

Oct 21: Blog posting on photography due.

Oct 22: Troubles Lit 3: Protestant Belfast: Parker, Spokesong.


Oct. 27 Bloody Sunday.  Articles.  Bloody Sunday in class.

Oct. 29 Finish Bloody Sunday.  Discussion.  Blog posting on first film due before class.


Nov 3: Sunday in class.

Nov 5 Sunday cont.  Discussion.  Blog posting on second film due before class.


Nov 10: Bibliography Due.  Finish discussion of Bloody Sunday.  Seamus Heaney, "Casualty."

Nov 12: Troubles Lit 3 (continued). Patterson essays. 


Nov 17: Eureka Street.

Nov 19: Eureka Street. Blog posting due before class.


Nov 24 TBA

Nov 26:  No class: Thanksgiving


Dec 1: student presentations

Dec 3: student presentations


Dec 8: student presentations

Dec 10: student presentations. Last day

Dec 15, 1:30-4 pm: Final examination