ENGL 103 A17: Case Studies in Research: Scheherazade’s Daughters: Storytelling and Eco-culture

M. Kashani

In this class, we will learn about what it means to research English studies as we study A Thousand and One Nights. The main focus will be on the storytelling techniques and structure in this text which serve as the vehicles to interrogate social problems, historical atrocities, femicide, and power structures to generate an eco-cultural system based on the interconnectedness of all things. We will try to find practical approaches to question around researching and analyzing a specific issue in the text: How do we shape a research project in which there is something important at stake, and how do we locate the arguments of others to pursue it? How do we build on the arguments of others, and how do we present and narrate our results? What does a well-researched and well-argued research paper entail in terms of the pursuit of knowledge, supported propositions, and effective writing? Apart from sections of the Nights, participants in the course can expect to encounter works set in both past and contemporary contexts, which variably facilitate conversations about relationships, desire, ideology, gender, sexuality, identity, and ethnicity. In the first half of the course, while building reading and writing skills, students will engage questions about the purpose and ethics of research and argumentation in relation to the historical perceptions, or misperceptions, of the Nights. Students will then proceed to develop research projects on the contemporary affects of the Nights in the second half through one-on-one meetings and discussions with their instructor. Students will prepare “annotated bibliographies” that track their research, and the course will culminate in the writing, revising, and final submission of a research paper with attached works cited. (There is no final exam.)