Template for Integrative Assignments



Download 32,66 Kb.
Date conversion20.08.2017
Size32,66 Kb.
Template for Integrative Assignments
From the Memorandum of Agreement: Develop and submit one to three integrative assignment modules (to be informed by the protocol, conversations with colleagues, and the integrative assignment heuristic). These assignments should be annotated by the teacher(s) and should include references to students’ work (descriptions, excerpts, etc.) that help readers understand why the assignment was designed, and the reasoning behind any revisions. Related teaching materials should also be included. These assignments would be used as a resource for other campuses, with credit given to the writers and institutions that developed the assignments.
Assignment Title: Using Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now to Trace the Legacy

of Empire in America’s Current Foreign Policy


Authors: David Finley and Robert Soza
Institution: Chandler-Gilbert Community College



  1. Briefly describe the overall purpose and goals for the learning community in which the assignment was given, the themes or questions addressed, and the specific courses involved (please specify content when necessary, i.e. 20th century US history rather than history).

The learning community “Creating Community in a Changing World” is the spring component of a two semester learning community beginning in the fall. Between 65%-80% of the students return for the second semester. The spring learning community combines ENG 102 First-Year Composition with ENH 202 World Literature After the Renaissance, and at the most basic level, the learning community provides students with the continued development of their writing skills from ENG 101, including the research and documentation skills needed for future coursework, as well as a Humanities course that currently meets their Global and Historical Awareness area for University Transfer credit. More specifically, the learning community allows students to understand writing as a process and to demonstrate an understanding of college-level research.


Prior to the application of the protocol, the learning community was what could be considered a traditional literature course built on a foundation of literary analysis and close-reading. The revised learning community focused on colonialism and imperialism and introduced materials from social science disciplines to complement the already existing disciplinary focus on literary analysis. Students were subsequently expected to demonstrate an understanding of the interdisciplinary knowledge base necessary to understand and analyze colonialism, its effects, and its historical continuity as manifested in the course’s selection of world literature and film, select primary and secondary sources, and independent historical and contemporary research.


  1. Briefly describe the purpose of the assignment: what did you hope students would learn by completing this integrative assignment?

In this revised version of the Learning Community, this particular assignment is the final assignment of the semester. In the prior incarnation of the Learning Community, this assignment was the first major one. In the revised course, it represents the culmination of students’ research, integration, understanding, and work with various colonial and post-colonial texts. Students are expected to cite and properly document diverse and appropriate sources from the semester’s materials (including novels, poems, films, and essays; primary social science texts; independent historical and contemporary research) and to logically demonstrate an understanding of the connections among colonialism in the Belgian Congo, American involvement in Vietnam, and American imperialism or foreign involvement today in the Middle East.




  1. Briefly describe the question or issue the assignment was intended to address.

How is contemporary American imperialism or foreign policy and military involvement overseas a continuation of, or departure from, the colonialism in the Belgian Congo and American imperialism in Vietnam as portrayed in Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now?




  1. Briefly describe the assignment itself, including precisely what in the assignment was intended to prompt integrative thinking.


SEE ATTACHED ASSIGNMENT BELOW
Paper Topic #3 ENG 102/ENH 202

Spring 2008: Finley/Soza
Building from your final reading/viewing log of the semester, students should expand upon their comparison and/or contrast of Joseph Conrad’s critique of Belgian colonialism in the Congo as portrayed in Heart of Darkness and Francis Ford Coppola’s critique of American imperialism in Vietnam as depicted in Apocalypse Now. As you expand your analysis of the two critiques, integrate the current critique of contemporary American imperialism or foreign involvement.
Your thesis should answer the following question: How is contemporary American imperialism or foreign involvement a continuation of, or departure from, the colonialism in the Belgian Congo and American imperialism in Vietnam as portrayed in Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now?
Be sure to follow MLA format and style, write 6-7 pages, and include a Works Cited for 10 sources, including the novel, film, any four sources from class, and four new outside sources.


  1. Briefly describe the disciplinary grounding expected in this assignment--what from each course were students expected to bring to the assignment.

In terms of the disciplinary grounding, ENG 102 First-Year Composition provided students with a basic understanding of the rhetoric, logic, and conventions of academic research writing, from a Humanities-based point of view. The emphasis was on literary and film analysis, as well as cultural studies. In contrast, ENH 202 World Literature After the Renaissance provided not only the standard literary texts (novels, poems, essays, films, etc . . .), but also a disciplinary grounding in Social Science texts emphasizing social history, philosophy, and ethnic studies.


Students were expected to ground their analysis of literature and film within a social science framework that privileged analysis based in the historically grounded conflicts of empire and imperialism: racism, economic exploitation and development, and so on. Additionally, students were expected to establish an historical argument demonstrating a continuity or departure from the trends of empire/imperialism analyzed. Finally, students were expected to create a paper that met all the requirements of an MLA-style academic paper.


  1. Briefly describe what you did in each course to help students develop this disciplinary grounding (smaller assignments, workshops, etc.).

Since the course was fully integrated with both instructors present for the duration of both courses, nothing was done separately in each course. However, students did develop their disciplinary grounding over the course of the semester as they moved from smaller 2-page written assignments (Reading Logs) to larger 4-6 page and 6-7 page assignments. For instance, the first essay was executed in multiple steps, including in-class discussion of the primary social science materials, in-class discussion of the novel and film, and then a comparative in-class discussion of the social science texts in relation to the novel and film. Then students wrote a 2-page Reading Log focused on the application of one or two of the social science concepts to particular moments in the novel and film. The Log was then peer edited, revised, and then evaluated by the instructors with the idea of how it would be developed into the larger first assignment. This process was repeated with an additional novel and film to give students more experience with the writing process, documentation and citation, and the application of the key concepts from the primary social science texts to concrete examples from literary and cinematic texts of different historical, geographic, ethnic, and national perspectives. It also gave students a certain amount of choice in the pairing of texts for Essay #1.


In addition, the primary literary and social science texts, as well as part of their independent research on U. S. foreign policy for Essay #2 became an integral part of their knowledge base for the final essay. The assignments also moved from applying concepts and integrating select “controlled” sources to moving towards interdisciplinarity as the wealth of texts grew with students’ own historical and contemporary research. In addition to lecture, the assigned reading, writing, and group discussion, students’ understanding was expanded by documentaries, attending relevant cultural events, book reviews, select websites, academic databases (ProQuest, Historical New York Times), and student presentations on their independent research on American foreign policy in different select countries of their choice.


  1. Briefly describe what you noticed about students’ work in response to the integrative assignment, particularly evidence of disciplinary grounding and purposeful integration. Attach excerpts from students’ work if possible.

The most obvious difficulty for students, as is often the case with any written work, was developing thesis statements that were specific. This difficulty is also a standard issue in writing, but instead of just simply failing to be specific in how something is similar and/or different to something else, students were struggling to identify particular concepts from the primary social science texts or how the concepts manifested themselves in the literature or film. One reason for students’ difficulty was the complexity of the application. Students weren’t just being asked to compare and contrast something which they were failing to specify, they were having to understand specific concepts first, then to consciously select a perspective to apply to literature and film, and later, to compare and contrast the texts across various historical, geographic, ethnic, and national perspectives in relation to their portrayal of colonialism and imperialism.


Despite the complexity of the task at hand, students struggled, especially initially, with understanding the concepts and terms from the social sciences, not to mention understanding the thematic issues at work in the literature and film. This struggle with both literary and social science concepts was apparent in their thesis statements mentioned above; a greater understanding would have allowed for more specific use of terms in the thesis statements. Students also struggled to recognize historical patterns and continuity. Finally, and to return to their writing, students struggled, once again as is often the case, to integrate sources (primary and secondary) and make concrete connections through the use of specific examples from the social science materials, literary texts, and films.
By the time of the last assignment of the semester, students demonstrated more comparative thinking and their attempts at making connections were stronger, more creative, and more consistent. This improvement can be seen most easily and clearly in more complex and specific thesis statements. Students were also better able to apply the theoretical concepts from the social science materials to the novels and films. Also, within the development of the essay, students’ applications of an abstract idea or concept to a concrete example became stronger and more consistent as well. In addition, students seemed to have a better understanding of today’s world and its connection to the past, and they seemed more interested and critically aware of the events going on around them.


  1. Please share your reflections on this assignment and your general assessment of the work students did in response to it, including questions you now would like to pursue.

Overall, making this paper the last versus the first of the semester (because of the difficult nature of both Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now) has significantly improved students’ work. Furthermore, the additional historical and social context for both time periods, as well as a semester of dealing exclusively with colonialism and imperialism, has allowed for a greater and more nuanced understanding of both texts and their relationship to America’s foreign policy today. In addition, making students use both the novel and the film alongside independent research on the historical context and contemporary issue forced them to examine racism, colonialism, and imperialism as occurrences that are intricately linked to each other. The assignment from the previous incarnation of the Learning Community, though it gave students a range of choice, did not hold them accountable for both texts and allowed for a myriad of approaches to analyzing the texts that ranged from a close reading of the differences in characters, thematic issues, to a possible critique of empire and racism. The revised assignment provided for a more focused analytic framework and demanded an interdisciplinary approach to answer the writing prompt.


One of the questions to pursue now is how to bridge the gap better between Belgian colonialism and America’s involvement in Vietnam and whether or not Essay #3 on Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now should precede Essay #2, which asks students to compare U. S. foreign policy in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with their independent research on U. S. foreign policy in the aftermath of World-War II. Providing students with the historical comparison of the Belgian Congo and the U. S. in Vietnam may provide a more solid analytical framework for students to build on when asked to consider historical continuities of past colonialisms with U. S. foreign policy today.
Some obvious flaws in the final assignment, sequence of assignments, choice of texts etc. . . can, at least, be partially attributed to this being the first time the course has been offered in this format: both instructors team-taught together for the first time, and not all of the earlier assignments in the sequence were presented to students as clearly or concretely as they could have been.


  1. If you are submitting a revised assignment, please include a description of the original assignment and the revised assignment, and highlight the changes, particularly in terms of the questions raised in #2 - #6 above.


SEE ATTACHED OLD ASSIGNMENT BELOW (Spring 2007)
LC Spring (Mini-Research Essay on Heart of Darkness)

Paper Topic #1 ENG 102/ENH 202

Spring 2007: Finley
All essays must be 5-6 pages long, not counting the Works Cited page, and must follow Modern Language Association (MLA) style and format. All students must only use the assigned essays, text, and sources for their essays, and all essays must incorporate at least 4 of the assigned secondary sources as part of the cited research in the essay.
1). Make an argument for how Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness (3-77) is or is not a

“racist” text as argued by Chinua Achebe in his essay “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness” (336-349).


Along with drawing upon “direct quotations” from Conrad’s novella and Achebe’s essay,

students will be expected to cite (quote or paraphrase) from C. P. Sarvan’s “Racism and the Heart of Darkness” (280-285) and Hunt Hawkins “Heart of Darkness and Racism” (365-375), as well as from at least one of the following three essays: Edward W. Said “Two Visions in Heart of Darkness” (422-429), Paul B. Armstrong “Reading, Race, and Representing Others” (429-444), or Anthony Fothergill “Cannabalising Traditions: Representation and Critique in Heart of Darkness” (444-454).


Students must incorporate (paraphrase and direct quotation) and cite from Conrad, Achebe, Sarvan, and Hawkins, as well as one of the essays by the following authors: Said, Armstrong, or Fothergill for a total of at least 5 sources.
2). Compare and contrast Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness with Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of it in Apocalypse Now. Either explain how you see Coppola’s similarities to Conrad’s text, as well as some of his appropriate changes, are consistent with Conrad’s original theme, or explain how Coppola’s changes significantly distort or change Conrad’s theme and how.
Along with drawing upon “direct quotations” from Conrad’s novella and Apocalypse

Now, students will be expected to cite (quote or paraphrase) from at least four of the following essays: Mike Wilmington’s “Worth the Wait: Apocalypse Now” (285-288), Robert LaBrasca’s “Two Visions of “The horror!”(288-293), William M. Hagan’s “Heart of Darkness and the Process of Apocalypse Now” (293-301), E. N. Dorall’s “Conrad and Coppola: Different Centres of Darkness” (301-310) and Louis K. Greiff “Conrad’s Ethics and the Margins of Apocalypse Now” (484-491) and/or Margot Norris “Modernism and Vietnam” (491-499).

Students must incorporate and cite from Conrad and Apocalypse Now as well as essays from four of the following authors (Wilmington, LaBrasca, Hagan, Dorall, Greiff, and Norris) for a total of at least 6 sources.



This assignment has been revised in the context of a larger revision of the Learning Community’s theoretical framework. Yes, it is still ENG 102 First-Year Composition and ENH 202 World Literature After the Renaissance, but it was being team-taught for the first time by two English instructors, and from varied backgrounds: humanities and social science. This combination provided a selection of texts that revealed the underlying theme of colonialism and imperialism that had existed in the previous incarnations, but now within a more focused historical and social context. In addition to replacing a novel and using two different films, select primary social science texts were added, as well as an additional mini-research paper at mid-term that developed some of the independent research skills and contemporary context for the final assignment.
The reorganization of the texts allowed students to develop a semester of contextual background, reading and writing skills, and research experience before tackling Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now, two very difficult texts, and placing them into a larger, relevant historical context as opposed to only analyzing the film adaptation. In addition, having this as the final assignment, as opposed to the first, allowed students to incorporate their research skills from ENG 102 in a meaningful way with current events, and it helped students to see connections between the colonial past and events today that they would not have noticed before.
Students still had independent research topics on different countries, as in the past, but instead of students being able to choose any country, they chose from a master list of about 25-30 countries where U. S. foreign policy has left a definite and lasting footprint. Students also focused their independent research on their country’s relationship to the U. S. in relation to U. S. policy today in the Middle East. This research then also becomes part of the knowledge base for the final paper as students examine U. S. involvement in Vietnam as well overseas today. Students still do independent research on different countries, but now focus on American involvement during specific periods of time and its connection to the historical legacies of colonialism and the link to current U. S. policy, so students are still engaged in the CGCC campus-wide “SEE Your World” (Social, Economic, Environmental) theme, but in a much more focused and relevant manner in respect to the actual literature course content.

SEE ATTACHED REVISED ASSIGNMENT BELOW (Same as in Question #4)
Paper Topic #3 ENG 102/ENH 202

Spring 2008: Finley/Soza
Building from your final reading/viewing log of the semester, students should expand upon their comparison and/or contrast of Joseph Conrad’s critique of Belgian colonialism in the Congo as portrayed in Heart of Darkness and Francis Ford Coppola’s critique of American imperialism in Vietnam as depicted in Apocalypse Now. As you expand your analysis of the two critiques, integrate the current critique of contemporary American imperialism or foreign involvement.
Your thesis should answer the following question: How is contemporary American imperialism or foreign involvement a continuation of, or departure from, the colonialism in the Belgian Congo and American imperialism in Vietnam as portrayed in Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now?
Be sure to follow MLA format and style, write 6-7 pages, and include a Works Cited for 10 sources, including the novel, film, any four sources from class, and four new outside sources.


The database is protected by copyright ©sckool.org 2016
send message

    Main page