ENGL 244 A: Reading Drama

Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 2:30pm - 3:20pm
CDH 101
steph hankinson
Stephanie Hankinson

Syllabus Description:

ENGL 244 syllabus winter 17.docx

University of Washington, Winter 2017

English 244: Reading Drama

Imperialism, Revolution and the Stage: Global Drama of the 20/21st Century


Instructor: Stephanie Hankinson

Office & Hours: Padelford B5C // Tuesdays 12:00-2:00pm (or by appointment – not during midterms or finals)

Email: skh216@uw.edu

Location & Time: CDH 101 // MTWTh 2:30pm -3:20pm

Class website: Canvas, English 244A


This course is organized around the broad themes of political and cultural revolution, the overthrow of imperial oppression, and interrogating the status quo of powerful social authorities as represented in drama from around the world during roughly the last century. This course will examine the treatment of revolutions in contemporary drama in a variety of ways, from the political and historical, to the economic and cultural. Through reading widely across dramatic texts from a range of geographic and cultural contexts we will ask questions like:


What is at stake in staging the overthrow of imperial governance? How does a nation, community or an individual form an identity in the aftermath of a revolution? Are the leaders and catalysts of revolutionary social and political change inherently villainous, heroic, or some nuanced combination of the two? How does revolutionary drama both speak to historical formations and reinvent histories through poetic, literary, and dramatic interpretation? What are the possibilities and challenges for audiences who watch performances of revolution on stage? What are the social, political and cultural contexts that inspire playwrights to write dramas of revolution? Perhaps most importantly, what new perspectives or critical frameworks can revolutionary drama give us concerning our electric, dangerous global political climate of Trump-takeover, Brexit and ISIS?


Note that since this course fulfills the “W” requirement, you should expect to do a great deal of writing (in the form of in-class exercises and formal, graded papers). Class time will be student-centered and discussion-based, so it is very important that you come to class prepared to engage with challenging texts and topics. This specific 200-level English class will also require you to attend a live theatrical performance during the quarter outside of regularly scheduled class time. Seeing this performance is crucial to completing your major writing assignments and thus crucial to passing the course. Please keep this in mind when registering for ENGL 244.


Primary Course Texts:

R.U.R. – Karel Čapek (1920)

Toussaint Louverture – C.L.R. James (1934)

Eclipsed – Danai Gurira (2010)

Richard III: An Arab Tragedy – Sulayman Al Bassam (2014)

Hamilton: The Revolution – Lin-Manuel Miranda (2016)




Course Objectives.

  1. Students are able to contextualize and analyze the materials or topics covered, historically, politically, or culturally.
  2. Students are able to perform competent close readings across a range of dramatic, literary and scholarly texts.
  3. Students use writing opportunities as a space to develop sound metacognitive practices and critically reflect on their reading practices through writing.
  4. Students have an appreciation for and understanding of literature and drama’s relationship with broad interdisciplinary constellations.
  5. Students address, through writing and rigorous discussion, new lines of inquiry and engage a range of scholarly perspectives concerning the theme of revolution, drama as literature and its relationship to culture, history and society.



Participation (in-class engagement, group work and peer review): 25%

Weekly Discussion Posts: 20%

Midterm Paper & Proposal: 25%

Final Paper & Proposal: 30%



You will turn in one midterm paper (1500 word minimum) and one final paper (2200 word minimum). You will be given direction for each paper, but you will also have some freedom in determining your own topics. In advance of each paper, each of you will submit a proposal so that we can discuss your topic ahead of time.


You will also be assigned several smaller informal writing tasks—including but not limited to our course discussion board (prompt on p6). Those other than course discussion board will factor into your Participation grade.


This class requires a lot of reading: it is essential that you keep up with the reading assignments in order to effectively participate in class and to be successful in your graded written work.



You might be wondering what this word means. Participation includes attendance active participation in class discussions and group work, which must adhere to the rules of classroom etiquette (see below), and completion of homework by assigned deadlines, according to the guidelines you are given. Note that this course requires a heavy reading load and a high level of engagement from each student. Participation is crucial to your success in this course. Unexcused absence beyond two classes will begin to affect your participation grade. If you feel you are falling behind please arrange a time to meet with me or see me during my office hours.

It also includes:


-     Coming to every class on time and prepared (do your reading carefully!)

  • Listening actively to your classmates’ ideas

-     Passing grades on in-class quizzes (often reading based)

  • Volunteering thoughtful comments regularly in discussions


Late Work Policy & Grade Scale.

Late work will not be accepted in this course without my permission. If difficult life circumstances arise you must contact me at least 48 hours before the assignment is due in order to be given an extension. Keep in mind, asking for an extension does not mean you will be given an extension. But I understand that “life happens” so please, come and talk to me in advance of assignments.


All informal and formal writing assignments are graded on the university’s four-point scale. Your final course grade would also be submitted to the registrar according to the 4.0 scale. Below is the grade breakdown for the UW 4.0 scale:


4.0 = 95-100 A+

2.8 = 83 B-

1.6 = 71 C

3.9 = 94  A

2.7 = 82 B-

1.5 = 70 D+/C-

3.8 = 93  A-

2.6 = 81 B-

1.4 = 69 D+

3.7 = 92 A-

2.5 = 80 C+/B-

1.3 = 68 D+

3.6 = 91 A-

2.4 = 79 C+

1.2 = 67 D+

3.5 = 90 B+/A-

2.3 = 78 C+

1.1 = 66 D

3.4 = 89 B+

2.2 = 77 C+

1.0 = 65 D

3.3 = 88 B+

2.1 = 76 C

0.9 = 64 D

3.2 = 87 B+

2.0 = 75 C

0.8 = 63 D-

3.1 = 86 B

1.9 = 74 C

0.7 = 62 D-   lowest passing grade

3.0 = 85 B

1.8 = 73 C-


2.9 = 84 B

1.7 = 72 C-



Academic Integrity.

Plagiarism, or academic dishonesty, is presenting someone else's ideas or writing as your own. In your writing for this class, you are encouraged to refer to other people's thoughts and writing--as long as you cite them. As a matter of policy, any student found to have plagiarized any piece of writing in this class will be immediately reported to the College of Arts and Sciences for review. If you have questions about proper practices of citing sources and other’s ideas please meet with me.


Zero Tolerance Policy:

This class takes a zero tolerance policy toward words or actions that insult, demean, or belittle any individual or group of persons based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual preference, ability, economic class, national origin, language, or age. Academic freedom, freedom of speech, and freedom of discourse DO NOT protect racism or other acts of harassment and hate. Violations of this Zero Tolerance Policy may result in removal from the classroom and actions governed by the student code of conduct will be taken.




If you need accommodation of any sort, please let me know so that I can work with the UW Disability Resources for Students Office (DRS) to provide what you require. More information about accommodation may be found at http://www.washington.edu/students/drs/.


Writing Help.

The Odegaard Writing and Research Center (OWRC) offers students, staff, and faculty at UW free, one-to-one, 45-minute tutoring sessions for any writing or research project, as well as for personal projects such as applications or cover letters and resumes. their tutors and librarians are trained to collaborate at any stage of the writing and research process, from brainstorming and identifying sources to making final revisions and tying up loose ends. For more information, or to schedule an appointment (more than 500 available per week), please see their website (https://depts.washington.edu/owrc) or come visit the OWRC in person on the first floor of Odegaard Undergraduate Library. See your instructor for other campus writing resources.


Campus Safety.

  • Always call 911 if you or others may be in danger.
  • Call 206-685-SAFE (7233) to report non-urgent threats of violence and for referrals to UW counseling and/or safety resources. TTY or VP callers, please call through your preferred relay service.
  • Don't walk alone. Campus safety guards can walk with you on campus after dark. Call Husky NightWalk 206-685-WALK (9255).
  • Stay connected in an emergency with UW Alert. Register your mobile number to receive instant notification of campus emergencies via text and voice messaging. Sign up online at www.washington.edu/alert.

For more information visit the SafeCampus website at www.washington.edu/safecampus.


Counseling Center.

UW Counseling Center workshops include a wide range of issues including study skills, thinking about coming out, international students and culture shock, and much more. Check out available resources and workshops at: http://depts.washington.edu/counsels/


Career Center.

UW Career Center offers career counseling and planning, workshops and career fairs, a listing of part-time jobs on and off campus, and much more: http://careers.washington.edu/students


Q Center.

The University of Washington Q Center builds and facilitates queer (gay, lesbian, bisexual, two-spirit, trans, intersex, questioning, same-gender-loving, allies) academic and social community through education, advocacy, and support services to achieve a socially-just campus in which all people are valued. For more information, visit http://depts.washington.edu/qcenter/.



Foundation for International Understanding through Students: FIUTS is an example of a campus organization that can bring together your social and academic learning. "FIUTS is an independent non-profit organization which provides cross-cultural leadership and social programming for UW's international and globally minded domestic students. FIUTS is local connections and global community!" FIUTS also offers a free international lunch on the last Wednesday of every month beginning with a lunch on September 28 from 11:30-1:30 in the Kane Hall Walker-Ames room. Consult FIUTS' web site for a detailed calendar of events and links to many resources http://www.fiuts.washington.edu.



If you have any concerns about the course or your instructor, please see the instructor about these concerns as soon as possible. If you are not comfortable talking with the instructor or not satisfied with the response that you receive, you may contact the following English Department Undergraduate Program Staff: Colette Moore cvmoore@uw.edu.


Course Calendar


This is simply an outline for due dates and for the trajectory of the course; dates and assignments are subject to change. For example, I haven’t included the supplementary readings into the calendar but will make sure to do so with ample time for you to complete them. This requires you to keep careful tabs on changes and additions to our online classroom.


I’ll give you detailed assignment prompts well in advance of their due dates, and I’ll keep our day-to-day assignments calendar updated on our Canvas site. The calendar will change on the canvas page as we move through the quarter. You are responsible for checking the canvas page, as well as your e-mail, every day to keep up with the course changes and details.



Reading for today

Writing due today

Tues 1/3



Weds 1/4





“What is a Revolution?” – VCE History

[week 1 modules]



Literary autobio


Thurs 1/5


Why Read Drama as Literature? Readings

[week 1 modules – three short readings]


Oates/Jays discussion questios (due Monday)




Mon 1/9

Why Read Drama as Literature? cont.



Tue 1/10


Graham article on R.U.R.


First Readers (Group 1)

Wed 1/11


Graham article on R.U.R.



Responders (Group 2)

Thu 1/12


R.U.R. – Karel Čapek (introduction / prologue)

Synthesizers (Group 3)




Mon 1/16





Tue 1/17

R.U.R. – Karel Čapek

First Readers (Group 2)


Wed 1/18


R.U.R. – Karel Čapek



Responders (Group 3)

Thu 1/19

R.U.R. – Karel Čapek


Synthesizers (Group 1)

Midterm Paper Proposal due 11:59pm Sunday 1/22 on






Mon 1/23


Class screening of “Egalite for All: Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution”




Tue 1/24


Front Matter Readings from Toussaint Louverture


Foreword (Dubois vii-x);

Introduction (Høgsbjerg 1-28);

Editorial Notes (Høgsbjerg 41-44);

Author note (James  45) 


(First readers – Group 3)



First Readers (Group 3)



Wed 1/25

Front Matter Cont.


Begin Toussaint Louverture; Act 1 (pg 49-80)


(Responders – Group 1)



Responders (Group 1)



Thu 1/26


Toussaint Louverture; Act 1 (pg 49-80)


(Synthesizers – Group 2; report in class and post notes on Canvas)



Synthesizers (Group 2)




Mon 1/30

 Finish Act 1 discussion - led by synthesizers

Toussaint Louverture; Act 2 (pg 80-105)


(First readers – Group 1 -- posts should address Act II)



Tue 1/31


Toussaint Louverture; Act 2 (pg 80-105)




(Responders – Group 2)

Wed 2/1


Toussaint Louverture; Act 3 (pg 105-133)




(Synthesizers – Group 3)

Thu 2/2


Midterm Paper – Writing Workshop

**Bring Draft copy to class (at least 2 full pages of writing!) 








Mon 2/6

Margaret Litvin “Richard III: An Arab Tragedy - Review”


NPR Short Interview with Al-Bassam


Richard III (Wikipedia Page)


Author’s Introduction (xvii-xxii in Script PDF)


(First readers – Group 2)


Midterm Paper Due

Tue 2/7


Class Viewing: Richard III: an Arab Tragedy



Wed 2/8


Class Viewing: Richard III: an Arab Tragedy


(Responders – Group 3)


Thu 2/9


Raja Khaleel Al-KhaliliPolitical Villainy on the Modern Stage”


Graham Holderness “From Summit to Tragedy”


(Synthesizers – Group 1)







Mon 2/13

Raja Khaleel Al-KhaliliPolitical Villainy on the Modern Stage”

Graham Holderness “From Summit to Tragedy”

Author’s Introduction (xvii-xxii in Script PDF)

First Readers (Group 3)

Tue 2/14


Richard III: an Arab Tragedy (pg. 75-97)


Responders (Group 1)

Wed 2/15


Richard III: an Arab Tragedy (pg. 75-97)



Synthesizers (Group 2)

Thu 2/16



Richard III: an Arab Tragedy (pg 98-114)


Canvas Writing Assignment (30 points)



Due by 11:59 pm Friday 2/17 (Canvas - All)








Mon 2/20

NO CLASS: President’s Day


Richard III: an Arab Tragedy (pg 98-114)


(First readers – Group 1) 

Tue 2/21


Richard III: an Arab Tragedy (pg 98-114) 


(Responders – Group 2) 

Wed 2/22


Richard III: an Arab Tragedy (pg 115-133)


(Synthesizers – Group 3)

Thu 2/23


Richard III: an Arab Tragedy (pg 115-133)





Mon 2/27


Hamilton's America - Screening in class

Lyra D. Monteiro “Race-Conscious Casting and the Erasure of the Black Past in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton


 (First Readers - Group 2)

Tue 2/28


Hamilton's America - Screening in class


Carrington OBrion “Why We Love Hamilton, A Musical About Men”


James McMaster “Why Hamilton is Not the Revolution You Think it is”


(Responders - Group 3)

Wed 3/1


Hamilton: The Revolution Lin-Manuel Miranda

(pg. 10-67) 

Listen: “Alexander Hamilton” to “A Winter’s Ball” – available on Spotify / iTunes


(Synthesizers - Group 1) 

Thu 3/2


Hamilton: The Revolution Lin-Manuel Miranda

(pg. 68-145) – available on Spotify / iTunes


Listen: “Helpless” to “Non-Stop”

Proposal draft due 11:59pm (Fri March 3) 




Mon 3/6


Hamilton: The Revolution Lin-Manuel Miranda

(pg. 146-213)

Listen: “What’d I Miss” to “One Last Time” – available on Spotify / iTunes

Tue 3/7



Hamilton: The Revolution Lin-Manuel Miranda

(pg. 214-261)


Listen: “I Know Him” to “The Election of 1800” – available on Spotify / iTunes


Wed 3/8



Hamilton: The Revolution Lin-Manuel Miranda

(pg. 262-287)


Listen: “Your Obedient Servant” to “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story”


Thu 3/9








Final Paper Due: Wednesday 3/15 by 11:59pm



Weekly Blogging Prompt & Rubric


Our course blog is an extension of our in-class learning community: a place where you can track your reading process through thoughts, reactions, and questions in informal writing. Your blog posts should be coherent and proofread, but you don’t need to have a fully formed thesis. In fact, you may find that you raise more questions than you answer in your weekly writing. You’ll also find that your classmates’ ideas and interpretations can serve as catalysts for your own analyses later in our formal writing assignments.


In addition to the assigned reading for each class period, you’ll need to keep up with the blog and come to class prepared to incorporate blog material into our in-class discussions. You do not need to read every single comment, but skim most, and read several posts that interest you more closely.


Our class will be divided into three different groups. Each post, whether you’re a first reader or respondent, should be 250 words minimum and quote directly from the text. Each week, you need only fulfill one role on the blog:


  1. First Readers: post initial reactions, insights, and discussion questions by the start of class. Quote from the text at least once.
  2. Respondents: build upon, challenge, or clarify first readers’ posts by the start of class. Quote directly from a classmate’s post, and point to at least one passage from that day’s reading.
  3. Synthesizers: you should read several of your classmates’ posts that interest you and take detailed notes which you will post on Canvas before your class discussion day. You are reading closely to make connections and raise new questions. Take notes, including 2 discussion questions, that you will bring to class and be prepared to contribute to class discussion. Do not forget to submit these on Canvas before coming to class.







Rubric: All discussion boards are graded on the four-point scale, and will be averaged to equal 20% of your total course grade. Your contributions as “synthesizer” are part of your participation grade. Each individual posts will be assessed according to this rubric:





Exceptional. The entry is focused and coherently integrates examples with explanations or analysis. It demonstrates awareness of its own limitations or implications, considers multiple perspectives when appropriate, and reflects in-depth engagement with the topic.


Satisfactory. The entry is reasonably focused, and explanations or analysis are mostly based on examples/evidence. Fewer connections are made between ideas, and though new insights are offered, they are not fully developed. It reflects moderate engagement with the topic.


Underdeveloped. The entry is mostly description or summary, without consideration of alternative perspectives, and few connections are made between ideas. It reflects passing engagement with the topic.


Limited. The entry is unfocused, or simply rehashes previous comments, and displays no evidence of engagement with the topic.


No Credit. The blog entry is missing or incomplete (does not meet the minimum length requirement).


Catalog Description: 
Critical interpretation and meaning in plays, representing a variety of types and periods.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Writing (W)
Last updated: 
August 4, 2017 - 11:00pm