Introduction to Literature

HUMALIT A51 | Term 3, AY 2017-18 | Undergraduate

Tuesdays and Thursdays | 4:15 to 5:45 PM | M305

Department of Literature, De La Salle University Philippines – Manila

Instructor: Dr. Carlos M. Piocos III | Caloy | |

Course description

This is a foundational course that guides the learner through a study of literature as an expression of human experience and social values, and as creative responses towards the flux of life. Selected texts will provide the learner with opportunities to: (1) examine literature in its various forms; (2) familiarize one’s self with the elements that characterize each genre, and (3) analytically and critically explore texts as they express the dialogic relations within societies.

This course looks into literature as resources for cultivating not just ideas on grounding and identities but also emotions of empathy and solidarity to the Other. In short, it looks into how literary texts help us define our local and national identities (inflected by our own gender, race and ethnicity) in the context of global, multicultural and transnational realities, formulating ideas on how texts shapes the way we look at ourselves at home in the world and in relation to others. This means that we take the appreciation of Literature as a mode of expanding our notion of what is homely (the Self and our own location/positionality) to embrace those that we consider strange, unfamiliar and unhomely (unheimlich),

The course shall enable the learner to (1) define literature or come up with a personal definition of literature, (2) identify elements, types and the nature of various literary genres, (3) develop critical thinking skills through applying modes of literary analysis. Most class activities entail discussion in class as well as participation in discussions led by your peers. By the end of the course, the learner should have developed a personal framework for the analysis, appreciation, and assessment of literature.

Course Readings:

Please click here to access and download the course readings, use villanelle as your password:

Course Schedule:

Feb 11 Course Introduction/Reorientation
Feb 13 Introduction to Poetry
Bennett and Royle. “Reading a poem” in This Thing Called Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing. London and NY: Routledge, 2015. 23-36.
Feb 18 Poetry 1: Chen Chen: Selections from When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Possibilities
“Self-Portrait as So Much Potential” 
“Self-Portrait With & Without”
“If I should die tomorrow, please note that I will miss the particular”
“for I will do/undo what was done/undone to me” 
“When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities”
Watch the interview and performance:
Feb 20 Poetry 2: Ocean Vuong: Selections from Night Sky with Exit Wounds
“Aubade with Burning City” 
“The Gift”
“Self Portrait with Exit Wounds” 
“Someday I’ll Love Ocean Vuong”
Watch the interview and performance:
Mar 3 Poetry 3: ko ko thett, Selections from The Burden of Being Burmese
“fuck me untied”
“a walk with history”
“myanma: a collage”
“the mandalay gazette”
“the burden of being bama
Watch the interview and performance:
Mar 5 Poetry 4: Eric Gamalinda, Selections from Zero Gravity and Amigo Warfare
“Enough” (ZG)
“The Opposite of Nostalgia” (ZG)
“Manifesto for Myself” (ZG)
“Amigo Warfare” (AW)
“9/12” (AW)
Watch the author talk about his work: 
March 10, 12 No Classes: Writing of Short Paper on Poetry Deadline: March 13, 2020 (Friday), 5pm
Mar 17 Introduction on Prose
Bennett and Royle. “Reading a short story” in This Thing Called Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing. London and NY: Routledge, 2015. 53-62.
Bennett and Royle. “Reading a novel” in This Thing Called Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing. London and NY: Routledge, 2015. 37-52.  
Mar 19 Fiction 1: Mia Alvar, Selections from In the Country
“The Kontrabida”
“Shadow Families”
Watch the author read from her book and talk about her works:
Mar 24, 26, 31, 2, 7, 9 Blended Learning: No meeting in class
Virtual Lecture: Merlinda Bobis: “Saving Stories, Saving Lives”:  

Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction: Saving Stories, Saving Lives
Merlinda Bobis, Fish Hair Woman
Eka Kurniawan, Man Tiger
Wilfredo Pascual, Kilometro Zero
Apr 13 No Classes: Submission of Short Paper on Prose on or before April 13, 2020 (Monday), 5pm on Turnitin

Course Grading:

Attendance               20%
Recitation                  20%
Short Paper on Poetry        30%
Short Paper on Prose         30%

Course Requirements

Attendance: 20%
You will be given ONE point for each of your attendance in class (which includes sessions of film showing or group presentation). This point will be reduced when you come in late in class (after the initial roll call). Students who have perfect attendance will be given FIVE incentive points to the total of their grade (which is equivalent to a .5 increase in their grades). Excused absences will not be given any point and does not qualify a student for a perfect attendance incentive.

Recitation and Class Participation: 20%
Depending on the insight of your recitation, you are going to be given ONE to THREE points each time you contribute to class discussions. A recitation that critically interprets and interrogates ideas from our required readings and films, citing particular passages and pages from a text, is highly valued. There will be discussion pages on canvas as well, where the students can post their ideas on each of the set readings. The student’s grade for attendance and class participation will be set against the average grade of the whole class’ highest and lowest pointers. Those who will get more than the class average grade will retain their excess points as incentive.

TWO Short Papers: 30% each
You will write two short writing assignments throughout this course. Your first and second writing assignment should be 800 to 1,000 words words. Your first short paper (on poetry) should be about any three poems of the same poet from their respective works. Your second short paper (on prose) should be any of the following of the required literary texts: a.) at least two short stories of Mia Alvar in In the Country, b.) a novel (either Merlinda Bobis’ Fish Hair Woman or Eka Kurniawan’s Man Tiger, c.) at least 2 essays from Wilfredo Pascual’s Kilometro Zero.

Your short papers should display your critical engagement and analysis to the literary texts. You should be able to showcase clarity in your prose while also demonstrating the depth of your critical analysis within the constraint of the word limit. For this, you need to be able to: 1.) articulate your main argument; 2.) support by citing and analyzing the given texts, and 3.) document your sources properly. You should have secondary sources in your paper i.e. journal articles and academic essays or books. Internet sources should not exceed two entries in your bibliography or work cited section of the paper.

The papers should be in a Word document (.docx), double-spaced, using Times New Roman, font size 12, with your name, student number and email address clearly indicated in the upper left part of the first page of your exams.You must provide references for quotations and/or citations you use in all your work. This applies to images, sound clips and video clips as well. Refer to the MLA guidelines. All papers should be submitted and uploaded via Turnitin. Make sure that you receive acknowledgment when you upload your papers on the platform.

Turnitin details
Class ID: 23885232
Enrollment Key: villanelle

Short Paper (Poetry): on or before March 13, 2020 (Friday), 5pm on Turnitin
Short Paper (Prose): on or before April 13, 2020 (Monday), 5pm on Turnitin

Class policies:

  1. On excessive absences

You are required to attend all class sessions, come to class on time and actively participate in discussions. You must come to class prepared, bringing physical copies of the assigned readings at hand on the day as indicated in the course syllabus. You must be ready to talk about the class material/s and engage with the instructor and classmates.  You are only allowed 5 unexcused absences. You will automatically be given 0.0 for your grade if you got 6 unexcused absences. Excused absences are not given points for attendance and it only gives you privileged to make up for the graded activities that you missed and being excused for. Perfect attendance will automatically be given a .5-raise in final grades. Excused absences are not included in the perfect attendance incentive.

  • The use of electronic gadget/s in class

Once the instructor calls the class into order, you should put away your gadgets immediately. You CANNOT use your gadgets inside the classroom. Any number of things will happen to your gadget/s (laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc.) once the instructor sees it during class session: 1.) it will be confiscated; 2.) the instructor can read and share to the whole class what he can find on your gadget/s; 3.) the instructor can use your gadget in front of the class (explore your social media, respond to the messages you are receiving, etc..

  • On plagiarism

Take note that all written outputs are submitted on Turnitin. This shows how much your instructor demands intellectual rigor and originality for you as Literature majors. Plagiarism is a serious offence in this course and at the University. Presenting ideas, words and works of another person/s as if it is one’s own or presenting them without observing proper citation constitutes plagiarism. Any student who commits such act is liable to disciplinary action: automatic 0.0 in this course and/or a case at SDTO.

  • On proper documentation of sources

This course follows the MLA guideline in documenting sources in all the writing requirements. For information, consult the website:

  • On late and/or non-submission of course work:

You must complete ALL requirements to pass this course. This means that you need to garner 70% of all the requirements in the course (attendance and class participation, quizzes, critical summaries, teaching module and teaching demo). Late submission of any of these requirements will only be accepted under exceptional circumstances, and is subject to deduction in marking. If you have a good reason to request for an extension, you must email the instructor a week in advance.

Approved by

Dr. Genevieve L. Asenjo
Chair, Literature Department

Dr. Jazmin B. Llana
Dean, College of Liberal Arts