ENGL 220

Robotic, Erotic, Electric
Televisual Nightmares, Seductive Hallucinations, & Naked Psyches in Literature, Film, Art, and the Web

William A. Nericcio | memo@sdsu.edu
Director, MALAS; Professor, English y CompLit

earest human and transhuman citizens of English 220, Spring 2011 @ SDSU, on this humble page you will find the various  laws of our 21st century literary/cultural studies estate--the little gates, cages, locks, and handcuffs as well as the meager statutes, ordinances, edicts, and principles that allow our experimental collective to prosper! Let me underscore that you have absolute intellectual freedom in our province, BUT to receive that delicious right you must also succumb to the reasonable responsibilities outlined in this, our passport. After all, we want to have a blast, be the best literature/film studies class on the West Coast, even! But to do that, we need some peace and quiet--a safe asylum within which to forge our imaginative cyborg-laced imagination, to amp our lucid hallucinations. So, then, when you walk into Peterson Gym 153, also known as the 'lair of the transhuman', these are some of the ground rules:


When you enter this room for class you will have finished the reading that appears on the day-to-day class calendar! Coming to a university literature/film/cultural studies class without doing the reading is like a gardener trying to raise roses without getting her/his hands filthy with shit, a surgeon trying to operate without a scalpel, a fireman without an ax, a streetwalker without, er, well, I better stop there.  Do the readings.  Do them twice if you can MAKE the time! I know, you are saying to yourself, "they don't make me read in my other classes" or some other sort of nonsense..... well here, you must! Please think twice about joining us if you have not finished the readings--the quality of our class depends upon your dedicated work and your relentless and independent curiosity. Without your periodic intellectual donations, the class is likely to evolve into a boring, even painful waste of time. 

DIRECTIVE 1.2389 Beta-Tango67_MAC_PCkaputALPHA:

Your laptop will be asleep IN YOUR BAGS during class--or, better yet, resting in your dorm room or apartment. Have you noticed how anytime a student uses a laptop in an auditorium there is a "cone of distraction" alongside and behind the student using a computer? This is usually due to said student surfing the web via wi-fi perusing erotic delights or god knows what. I was recently at a cool (ok, it was slightly boring, I confess) lecture by a noted  writer--as I tried to listen to her, in front of me, a diverted student, there, no doubt for extra-credit, was perusing sites like these (nsfw or school). So, laptops are GREAT for entering your notes AFTER class, but they will not be allowed in our lecture hall.  If you have an issue with this, schedule a meeting with me during office hours the first week of class. Don't end up like this former student from another Engl 220 I taught back in the day:


DIRECTIVE 1.311893 Zed-BogieViperCell:
cellYour beloved magnificent iphone, your cherished blackberry, your fetishized razr, your primordial pager will be off, off, OFF; if for some reason you are expecting an emergency call, set it on VIBRATE (for privacy, pleasure, or both!) and sit in the back near an exit after letting me know in advance that you are expecting an emergency phonecall. Cellphones KILL collective spaces of learning with their ill-timed, annoying clattering rings, bongs, squeaks, chirps, and themes. Yes, the trauma of that delayed text, Yes, the horror of that missed hook-up call, will no doubt send you to years and years on an analyst's couch, but we, the rest of us will gain some silence, a kind of sanctuary without which ideas wither on the vine. 

Law 1.499556 Charlie-Delta_Thief:

PLAGIARISM is for cads, thieves, and idiots who desire an "F" for the class. Plagiarism comes from the Latin word, "plagiarius" which means kidnapper, plunderer, or (get this!) thief--not a GOOD thing. In the university, plagiarism refers to the art and crime of presenting other people's work under your own signature, cutting and pasting copied crap from wikipedia--definitely a BAD thing. While your professor is forbidden by CSU/SDSU code from tattooing the word LOSER on the foreheads of guilty students, he can promise that felonious students will be remanded to the state-authorized SDSU executioners.  Read THIS as well--SDSU is SERIOUS about this shit, so don't take any chances!  Rely on your own mind and your own precious imagination!

Other Requirements!!!!


You will be asked to write TWO Imagination Challenges--aka 4 to 5 page essays--during the course of the term. Please note that you will never be compelled to write about something you absolutely loathe. Please see me or your amazing GTA during office hours as brainstormings essay topics is totally cool. There will be an Examination Festival (aka, the FINAL) on the last regularly scheduled day of class: Monday, May 9, 2011.  Your final is comprehensive; it assumes you have read all the books and screened all the movies that are part of our required work. If you do the work, the final is a breeze--even "fun" if you can believe it. If you slack off, you will find the final as enjoyable as a surprise guest appearance as a victim on Dexter.


There will also be a couple of in-class Panic-Inducing Challenges otherwise known as "check that you did the reading carefully and on time quizzes." You can expect these miserable quizzes from time to time, the number of quizzes depending on how many of you are nostalgic for high school. In other words, if everyone acts like a talented university undergraduate, we will enjoy FEW if any quizzes during our robotic erotic semester. The whole point of this class is to work together, the idea being that we convert our boring, somewhat high-tech classroom into a chaotic, unpredictable and exciting intellectual laboratory. Missing class, you miss as well the whole point of the adventure. So please bypass no more than two classes during the term. Miss MORE than two classes during the term and your grade will decay in an ugly way: examples: your hard-earned A- will morph into a B; your "gentleman's C-" will appear on gradeline as a "D." Ditching this class too often will be as fun as a case of the flesh-eating virus.


One of your required "readings" is actually a small, plain, brown journal; you are responsible for bringing it to each and every class--think of it as a prehistoric palm pilot.  You are encouraged to decorate it uniquely so that you can recognize it and retrieve it quickly when returned to you by your GTA or Professor.


  • 33% Quizzes, In-class "Panic-Inducing Challenges"©, Journals, and class participation/attendance 
  • 33% "Analytical Imagination Challenge" aka The BIG Essay 
  • 33% Final Examination Festival 
  • 1% Chutzpah, ganas, will, and drive.


Why 'office hours'? I expect you to visit me in office hours at least once during the semester. Additionally, you are encouraged and welcome to visit your GTAs. At SDSU, it's easy to fall through the cracks, to feel that you are nothing but a number or some warm pile of sentient flesh filling a seat. In order to underscore that the person teaching you is somewhat human, please make a point to take the time to introduce yourself in person. My office hours will be on Mondays from to 1 to around 4 or so in Arts and Letters 273. If these hours are inconvenient, do not hesitate to call me at 594.1524 either to schedule an appointment or discuss your questions via telephone. My E-mail address is: memo@sdsu.edu