The centerpiece of the second half of our course is Salman Rushdie’s sprawling 1980 novel, Midnight’s Children. Over the course of three weeks, each student prepares a 5-7 minute micro-presentation to deliver in class. That presentation is paired with a post on the course blog that seeks to combine close reading skills with informal, multimedia research.
An additional requirement of at least one comment during the three-week unit ensures a level of information exchange, as students respond to each others presentations online (after formal responses in class) and compile additional web or print resources about the novel.
The purpose of our final exam is to “revisit” or review the broad range of places and texts we have covered in the course and to synthesize some of the questions and ideas that we have explored. The open format of the exam also allows you to decide which stories and concepts you will take with you into the future—”choose wisely,” as they say.
With that in mind, feel free to use the comments on this post to ask or answer questions about material from the course. In contrast to Facebook or other study forums that you might use, I may be able to provide assistance with issues that arise here. However, it is primarily an opportunity for exchange amongst students: you might share your notes, define terms or confirm data, post information or link to resources, however please DO NOT post outlines or specific plans for the essay portion of the exam—that is for each student to compose individually.
Like I mentioned in class, let’s try to incorporate more of our sources into the blog posts. Experiment, too, with embedding video, images, or other multimedia directly into your blog posts. Here are some tips for doing just that:
In the window for typing your post, look for the “Upload/Insert” button, and you can either upload a file to our WordPress (you will have to download the file to your own computer first) or paste in a URL for the image or other media. Alternately, Google Docs, Youtube, and other sites often have an “Embed” or “Share” code that you can copy onto your clipboard. Then, switch from the “Visual” to the “HTML” button above the post editor and simply paste the embed code somewhere between your paragraphs.
Finally, tag each of your posts with a “Category” (to the right side of the post editor): use “Midnight’s Children” PLUS whichever posting group you are officially in (Group A, B, or C).
Below, you’ll see that I have embedded the slideshow from Emily, Kimberly, and Luke’s presentation—love those book covers!
Finally, here is the official trailer for the new Midnight’s Children movie, which Rushdie himself has been somewhat involved with. Isn’t it interesting how a movie has to condense 150 pages down into a few seconds? What get cuts out when you put a book into movie format? Does the “voice” in this preview seem a lot different from Saleem’s storytelling in the novel?
To help us understand—and enjoy—the world of Salman Rushdie’s complex and expansive novel, Midnight’s Children (1980), we will begin each of the next six classes with presentations on Indian culture and history (including Rushdie’s own controversial contributions to them). Your task will be to carry out “semi-formal” research on the web, in the library, or through other sources and present your findings to the rest of the class.
More information is available in the email I sent on Tue. 10/16 and under the “Assignments” tab on Blackboard.