Sherwood Honors Core

Unit B Syllabus

HNRC 101 Unit B | Offices: Sutton 347 | HSS 317 | Commonplace Coffeehouse - Email:

Unit B - How do we discern the good from the bad?

Students-Unit-B | Unit B Syllabus | Common Syllabus | student_blog_sites | unitb-thesis-paper-guidelines

Week 12


Conceptual Writing - Presentations


Read chapters 1 + 2, plus afterward, Goldmsmith's 7 American Deaths and Disasters. In your blog, consider how this project differs from Soliloquy. Does it aspire to the same idea of good/uncreative writing?


Presentation group A

Group A : Billy Zane, Capato Julie, Christian Jacob, Kossler Sarah. Dworkin - from Legion - link.Slides

  • recap (differentiating)

Introduction Goldsmith - Seven American Deaths and Disasters

  • discussion of method
  • consequence of choosing “signficant” subject matter
  • significance of transcribing semi-public documents
  • close read a passage

Own Conceptual Forays

  • methods
  • experience


  • Read Chs. 3, 4 Goldmsith

Thesis Papers - Step 1

UnitB-Thesis-Paper-Guidelines | Topic Brainstorming


A - Goldsmith

  • Goldsmith interviewed on the Colbert Report. External Link
  • Close reading of selections from Kennedy chapters
    • History, journalism, literature?
    • Transformative?

B - Reconsidering value frameworks

Frameworks for value and evaluation

Can we use any of these frameworks for 7 American Deaths and Disasters?

  • Eagleton: Period styles; values shift. Any era accepts certain ideals (enduring truths, original/individual expression, national representativity, group expression, novelty or revolutionary quality, audience pleasure) so “good” works are valued for different reasons in different eras.
  • Hernstein Smith: Not value, evaluation. Evaluative acts are ongoing (from author, reader choice, publishing selectivity, peer recommendations, establishment critics); value is not “in” the work but assigned, by some people, for some people, in accord with shared (tacit) assumptions.
  • Dodd: Genre. Any art (music, poem, story) must satisfy existing criteria to be considered.
  • Cage: Listening. “There is no such thing as an empty space . . . There is always something to see, something to hear. ” Focus less on ego-driven intention of an artist, more on effects for a reader/listener. Less interested in final evaluation of “good” than in the authentic experiment “act whose outcome is unknown”
  • Duchamp: Anything can be art, but is it good?: Even bad art is art. Museum or establishment critical standards lag behind the practice of artists themselves, and so they can/must be challenged by the individualistic (genius?) rule-breaking for art to be interesting.
  • Goldsmith: *Digital age contemporaneity“ (postmodernism): “In today's digital world, language has become a provisional space”; “contemporary writing requires the expertise of a secretary crossed with the attitude of a pirate: replicating, organizing, mirroring, archiving, and reprinting …”


  1. Reading: Goldsmith, Chs - 5,6
  2. Thesis Paper - post an alternative topic paragraph for your thesis paper. You might revise your homework from Tuesday or try a completely different approach.



Propose a thesis that involves a “value statement,” considering the discussion and logic that might follow. Make one link to a framework above, as well as one of the more “usual” questions about literature such as craft, language, form, theme, and characterization.

Example. Robert F. Kennedy

By recalling the assassination scene of Robert Kennedy through the speech of two eye-witness reporters, Kenneth Goldsmith offers a powerful and moving recreation of an historical tragedy. It conveys not only the facts of history but the emotional experiences of the attack and death. In this way, despite the unoriginal content, it achieves literary value by moving readers for whom literature should speak to our condition as citizens (Hernstein Smith).

Google Doc Workspace External Link

3 John Lennon Dec 8, 1980 - pp 73
4 Space Shuttle Challenger, January 28, 1986 - pp 101
5 Columbine April 20, 1999 - pp 121
6 World Trade Center September 11 , 2001 - pp. 127


Write Thesis Paper Proposal: proposal_details. Print out and turn in on Monday.