Legacy of Struggle: Great Villains of Literature

University Honors 121.016

Fall 2011

Instructor: Jonatha Kottler
Class: Tuesdays, 5:00-7:30
Office: 11A
Office Hours: Mondays 11:30-12:30; 3:30-5:00; Tuesdays, 4:00-5:00; also by appointment
Phone: 277-4320 or leave a message at 277-4211
Email: jkottler@unm.edu
Wiki: http://greatvillainsuhp.wikispaces.com/

Required Texts:
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
The Watchmen
Peter Pan
Ender’s Game

Course Requirements:
Weekly entries on the class wiki
Attendance at three public lectures
Two five-page papers
Oral presentation
Excellent attendance and participation
Various class assignments
Final Villain Project

Course requirements will earn up to 100 points distributed as follows:
Attendance: 15
Participation: 15
Class Presentation: 10
Papers: 20 (10 each)
Class Wiki: 30
Final Project: 10

Grading Scale:
A= 100-90
CR= 89-75
NC= 74 and below

A List of Dire Warnings:
v Late papers are a crime against nature and as such will be subject to 15% grade penalty per class late. Late presentations are not accepted under any circumstances.
v Plagiarism—a word which here means using the thoughts and/or words of others without giving them proper acknowledgement, and also the purchase or theft of papers from online sources—is very, very bad indeed. Dante reserved a special place in the Inferno for plagiarists, and UNM’s policy is quite strict regarding it. For further enlightenment, refer to Pathfinder.
v Use of cell phones for conversation or text messaging is forbidden during class. Please use your break time to handle these matters. Students using phones in class will be counted absent for the day and may be asked to leave.
v Without daily participation in the conversation is it impossible to receive an A grade in this class, regardless of your other scores.
v You must attempt all coursework in order to receive a grade.

Class Expectations:
Honors courses carry different expectations from other courses you may be taking this semester. In addition to having good attendance, reading well, writing thoughtful, well-edited papers, and being respectful to other members of the class, we expect that in this course you will be flexible, enthusiastic, conscientious, and fully present in each class. Our experiences of the texts we read and the conversations we have are only successful if we each come to class with this attitude.

You should have different expectations of us than you do of your other instructors, too. You have the right to have your opinions heard, to speak honestly, and to feel safe. You should feel free to speak with us after class, in our office hours, or by special appointment. We keep Honors classes small so that you can have the attention you deserve. Make sure that you get the most out of your class.

Schedule: Assignments and papers are due on the dates listed.

Week 1: August 23 Introductions/Syllabus/Background/Definitions
The Batman/Superman Movie
Sign up for the class wiki (GreatVillainsUHP) at http://greatvillainsuhp.wikispaces.com/

Week 2: August 30 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Presentation research

Week 3: September 6 Beowulf

Week 4: September 13 [P] Dexter (episodes 1 & 2)

Week 5: September 20 [P] Medea

Week 6: September 27 Film: Sleeping Beauty Paper One Due

Week 7: October 4 [P] Othello

Week 8: October 11 Film: The Dark Knight

Week 9: October 18 [P] The Watchmen (Books I-VI)

Week 10: October 25 [P] The Watchmen (Books VII-End)

Week 11: November 1 [P] Selection of Fairy Tales (see Wiki) Paper Two Due

Week 12: November 8 [P] Peter Pan

Week 13: November 15 Ender’s Game (Chapters 1-10)

Week 14: November 22 [P] Ender’s Game (Chapters 11-End)

Week 15: November 29 Film: The Princess Bride

Week 16: December 6 Final Projects Due

Week 17: December 13 FINALS WEEK—No Class, No Final

Expectations for Assignments:


Some of our texts are very complex. Please take your time with them. Come prepared every class with questions you have about the reading, particularly those which you feel would aid in our discussion. Look up words you don’t know in the dictionary and mark them in the margins of the text. In order to be well prepared you must actively engage in reading the text.


Prompts for papers will be given 1-2 weeks in advance of the due date. These papers should be concise, clear, and lively. They must have a strong thesis and use specific examples (i.e., quotations from our texts to support your statements). They must be five pages long and follow MLA format.

Re-writes on papers are accepted. Please make the corrections discussed in your paper comments to improve your grade. Re-writes must have the newly added material clearly marked (preferably in a different color, although a bolded font or corrections made and bracketed {} are also acceptable) and the original version of the paper stapled behind the new version. Re-writes are due one week after papers are returned.

Villain Journal (Class Wiki):

Prompts for the journal will be given weekly by the instructors on the wiki, as well as in class from students giving oral presentations. You must answer the journal questions on your personal page on the wiki every week. Other students will be expected to respond to your entries so you must post them in a timely manner. We are trying to learn and explore and the journal is a place where we can feel free. However, while work is not necessarily judged harshly, it must not be approached trivially. Please notice that the journal grades comprise 1/3 of your final class grade.

Oral Presentation:

Each student is required to give a 20-minute presentation (grade penalties for too long or too short) on a topic we are not covering in class. These presentations will provide the audience with a basic introduction to your subject. These are research-based presentations which should combine information with presentational skills which engage the interest of the audience. In order to be successful, you must:

  • Have visual aids (such as handouts or PowerPoint).
    • Please note we can make black and white photocopies if you give us the original at least one class ahead of time.
  • Focus on historical context, place and setting, culture and people, historical relevance.
  • Be interesting.
  • Well researched.
    • You must provide us with a bibliography of no less than five citations (only two of which may be websites).
  • Give a journal prompt for classmates.

You may also wish to consider having an activity that engages your audience actively, such as a quiz, demonstration, role-play or game.

If you choose to have a PowerPoint element to your presentation you MUST:
  1. Save the presentation down to Office 2003 to be compatible with our systems, or bring in your own laptop.
  2. Test out each element of your presentation (sound, video, streaming) on the classroom system BEFORE your presentation is due—please do not waste class time with technical difficulties.

Your classmates are your primary audience for your presentation and your grade will be influenced by anonymous evaluations made by your peers, who will judge you on the criteria listed above.

Presentation dates are marked on the syllabus with (P) and dates will be assigned by random selection on the first day of class.
Possible topics: You are not limited to these topics. These are merely suggestions in case you get stuck trying to decide something. However, should you choose to develop your own topic, please consult me before beginning your project. I encourage you to be creative with this project, both in your subject matter and how you present it.

Historical bad guys
(Borgias, Robespierre, Blue Beard or other pirates, Genghis Khan, Billy the Kid or other outlaws, Al Capone or other gangsters, Hitler or other Nazis)

Fairy Tale bad guys
(Wicked step sisters, evil stepmothers, child-eating witches, trolls, etc)

Supernatural Bad guys
(Werewolves, vampires, zombies, etc.)

Mythological bad guys
(Hades, Satan, Set, Scylla and Charybdis, etc)

Please feel free to ask me questions about any of these expectations as the assignment due dates draw near.