Not sure if a Directed Reading is right for you? Check out the CURO guidelines at http://curo.uga.edu/students/getting_started_guide.html.
NOTE: Directed Reading / Thesis Proposals can only count for English Electives. They can not count for any other area of the English major.
Please Note: Students who wish to receive English department credit for a Thesis, for a Directed Reading, or for any Honors Research or Honors Thesis hours MUST turn in all their forms, syllabi, reading lists and other documentation before the final Undergraduate Committee meeting in Fall Semester (for a directed reading or thesis the following Spring) or Spring Semester (for a directed reading or thesis planned for the following Summer or Fall). Announcements will be made via the English Majors Listserv for due dates. The English Department Calendar of Events on the Department's homepage also lists the dates of Undergraduate Committee meetings. It is the students' responsibility to read these guidelines and turn in these materials on time, NOT your Honors or English advisor's responsibility to remind you to do so. Students who fail to turn in their materials in time have the option of clearing their Thesis and Research/Directed Reading hours through Honors, in which case the courses will appear with the HONS prefix, NOT the ENGL prefix, on the transcript, and will NOT count towards the English major.
Ready to get started? Go to this page,
then check out the sample directed reading proposal below.
Sample Directed Reading Proposal
A directed reading proposal should be at least 1000 words in length and include the following components . The proposal should include a semester's worth of academic material and work:
- a statement of your objectives for the project;
- a description of the reading and research you'll undertake;
- a bibliography that includes both primary and secondary materials;
- a timeline for completing the project;
- a statement of contact hours -- how often and for how long you plan to meet with your project director.
Students who wish to receive English department credit for a Thesis, for a Directed Reading, or for any Honors Research or Honors Thesis hours MUST turn in all their forms, syllabi, reading lists and other documentation at least THREE WEEKS before the end of classes in Fall Semester (for a directed reading or thesis the following Spring) or Spring Semester (for a directed reading or thesis planned for the following Summer or Fall). It is the students' responsibility to read these guidelines and turn in these materials on time, NOT your Honors or English advisor's responsibility to remind you to do so. Students who fail to turn in their materials in time have the option of clearing their Thesis and Research/Directed Reading hours through Honors, in which case the courses will appear with the HONS prefix, NOT the ENGL prefix, on the transcript, and will NOT count towards the English major.
In evaluating directed reading proposals, the Undergraduate Committee considers the following:
- Is the proposal specific in its research goals?
- Does the proposal replicate a course already on the books? (According to Honors guidelines, directed readings should not cover material available to students through regularly offered courses. A specific proposal usually does not have this problem.)
- Does the proposal list both primary and secondary sources appropriate to the research goals?
- Is the proposal well written?
- Does the proposal cover content material under the purview of the English Department (i.e. British Lit, American Lit, Rhetoric, Composition Theory, Linguistics, Literary theory)? In other words, is it an ENGL course?
Here is an example of an excellent proposal. This one was submitted by Taylor Mallory, and her project is directed by Dr. Barbara McCaskill.
20th CENTURY SOUTHERN AFRICAN AMERICAN PROSE:
- To become familiar with the major Southern African American writers of the 20th century and their works.
- To write critically about common themes and symbols in Southern African American Literature.
- To gain an understanding of how early 20th-century black writers were discussing the South and how contemporary writers continue to respond to their insights.
- To develop an understanding of the history of African American Literature in the South.
Just as there is a distinct genre for Southern Literature, there is a distinct group of Southern African-American writers. Though the University offers classes in African-American Literature and Southern Literature, there is no class that focuses on the cultural issues and themes that Southern African-American writers deal with. I would like to attend graduate school at UNC-Chapel Hill, where I want to major in Southern Literature and possibly minor in African-American Literature, so I am very interested in gaining a deeper understanding of how the two genres overlap.
I studied several Southern African-American writers -- Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Alice Walker, and Ernest Gaines -- in my high school AP English classes. I have also taken a few classes here in which I have been exposed to some of these writers: Dr. Bernstein's "Multicultural American Literature" (ENGL 1030), Dr. Kibler's "American Literature: 1865-Present" (ENGL 2380H), and Dr. Eberle's "Introduction to English Studies" (ENGL 3000). However, I would really like the opportunity to study these writers, their literary traditions, and the historical context of their writings in more depth.
Dr. McCaskill and I have prepared a syllabus of readings by writers representative of all the Southern states, except for Virginia, Arkansas, and Kentucky. Also, she has provided me a list of secondary sources for biographical, historical, and cultural research. I plan to write 2-3 page response papers on each author as well as a final 15-page research paper on this topic, possibly to expand on later for my honors' thesis.
STATEMENT OF CONTACT HOURS:
Meetings with Dr. Barbara McCaskill every other week for an hour each session.
Weeks 1-4: Post Reconstruction Era through Harlem Renaissance
Weeks 5-9: Civil Rights Era
Weeks 10-13: Contemporary "Post-Black" Literature
Weeks 14-15: Wrap-Up
Weeks 14-15: Finish Research Paper
2-3 pp. typewritten response to each reading, summarizing the biography and career highlights of the writer and major themes and symbols in the book
15 pp. final research paper
I. PRIMARY SOURCES
Weeks 1-2 : Selected readings from the following books:
Chesnutt, Charles. The Wife of His Youth . New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1899.
Chesnutt, Charles. Conjure Woman Stories . North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1993.
Cooper, Anna Julia. A Voice from the South . New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.
Washington, Booker T. Up from Slavery . New York: Avon Books, 1965.
Du Bois, W. E. B. Souls of Black Folk . New York: Avon Books, 1965.
Toomer, Jean. Cane . New York: Modern Library, 1994.
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God . New York: Perennial Library, 1990.
Jonah's Gourd Vine . Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1971
Wright, Richard. Black Boy . New York: Harper and Row, 1945.
Walker, Margaret. Jubilee . Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1966.
Walker, Alice. Meridians . New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanich, 1976.
You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down. (selected stories) New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanich, 1981.
In Love and Trouble . (selected stories) London: Women's Press, 1973.
Gaines, Ernest. A Lesson Before Dying . New York: Knopf, 1993.
Bloodlines . (selected stories) New York: Dial Press, 1968.
Kenan, Randall. A Visitation of the Spirits . New York: Grove Press, 1989.
Selections from Albert Murray, Train Whistle Guitar .
Youngblood, Shay. The Big Mama Stories . New York: Firebrand Books, 1989.
Andrews, Raymond. Appalachee Red . Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1987.
Ansa, Tina. Baby of the Family . San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989
Dixon, Melvin. Trouble the Water . Boulder: University of Colorado: Fiction Collective Two, 1989
Selections from Tayari Jones, Leaving Atlanta .
II. SECONDARY SOURCES:
Andrews, William L., ed. Literature of the American South: A Norton Anthology . New York: W.W. Norton, 1998.
Dixon, Melvin. Ride Out the Wilderness: Geography and Identity in African American Literature . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987.
Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. The Signifying Monkey. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.
Griffin, Farah Jasmine. Who Set You Flowing?: The African American Migration Narrative . New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.
Harris-Lopez, Trudier. Power of the Porch: The Storytellers Craft in Zora Neale Hurston, Gloria Naylor, and Randall Kenan . Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1996.
Harris-Lopez, Trudier. South of Tradition: Essays on African American Literature . Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2002.
Hubbard, Dolan. The Sermon Tradition of African American Literature . Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1994.
Ketchim, Susan, ed. The Christ-Haunted Landscape: Faith and Doubt in Southern Fiction . Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1994.
Ladell, Payne. Black Novelists and Southern Literary Tradition . Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1981.
Stepto, Robert. From Behind the Veil: A Study of Afro-American Narrative . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1979.
Sundquist, Eric J. To Wake the Nations: Race in the Making of American Literature . Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1993.
Walker, Alice. In Search of Our Mother's Gardens: Womanist Prose . London: Women's, 2000.