Writing Workshop II: Heaven or Hell?
This is a research, critical and creative writing class focusing on the themes
of heaven and hell. You will be improving computer and library skills as you
continue the recursive processes of reading, thinking, writing and reflecting
on your development as a writer.
- Do you ever feel as if you're living in or at least visiting a hell on earth?
- What makes a place, person or situation "hellish?"
- Can we create a heaven on earth?
- How would you describe your fantasies or beliefs about heaven?
- Do humans enter a heaven or hell as a reward or punishment for their actions
- Why do most utopias turn into dystopias?
- If the binary nature of heaven or hell bothers you, how would you solve
your research problems by analyzing the ambivalence of reality with its degrees
of heaven and hell?
As in all of Keefer multidisciplinary classes, there are group projects, individual
paths, core material and the class project.
Groups: Humanities majors can analyse the heavens and hells
of literature and philosophy; Social science majors can research utopias and
dystopias; and health science majors can describe the subjective hells of a
specific disease or disability.
Individual paths: Plan the semester to make the most of your
talents and research interests by choosing a topic that you love (on the theme
of Heaven or Hell) and keep your focus on self-directed learning.
Click on the following sites for information about the readings:
and selections from the
Click here for
personal descriptions of heaven and hell. Feel free to describe your heaven
or hell in
Test your memory, intellect and fortune with Keefer's original cybergame show,
YOU BET YOUR SOUL!
- To improve library, community and online research skills through ORIGINAL
research into the heaven and hell of your choice;
- To identify, define and solve the problems inherent in your research topic;
- To complete a MYfolio (as messy and cathartic as you like) including weekly
assignments, in-class writing, a daily journal about your PERSONAL exploration
into heaven and hell, research notes and all the projects;
- To do a CRITICAL analysis of classical readings on heaven and hell such
as Dante's Inferno, Sartre's No Exit, William Blake's The
Marriage of Heaven and Hell, the Bible, Albert Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus
and Plato's Republic, and the Portable Nietzsche;
- To practise in-class writing every week, culminating in a midterm paper,
5-7 pages on your research area.
- To complete a WEBfolio with samples of your best poems, stories, multimedia
and photos, as well as a 6 page internet outline/description of your research
in html form;
- To improve your logic and oral communication skills with an ARGUMENTATIVE
class presentation on your research topic, followed by debate and rebuttal:
- To SYNTHESIZE all your work into a research paper (15 pages) that turns
your hell into a heaven, your heaven into a hell, or creates a mixture of
the two. This paper should include a synthesis of the best of your expository,
argumentative, critical, creative and descriptive writing on your research
subject, meticulously ORGANIZED around a central thesis (question, statement
and dilemma) that is developed through every paragraph of the paper. You may
choose MLA or APA documentation, but you must be consistent. The paper is
accompanied by a 3 page BIBLIOGRAPHY of books, articles, audiovideo material,
interviews and online sources.
- To upload your paper and webfolio by December 12 and to fully participate
in CYBERPERFORMANCE II: HEAVEN OR HELL?
Course Requirements and Grading
The most important requirements are attendance and participation. You cannot
get an A if you miss more than one class. If you miss more than 3 classes,
you will not even get a B. When you miss class, you must ask classmates for
notes, submit assignments and check online for any changes. The professor gives
special attention to those who come to class, not to those who are absent. Class
participation will be evaluated by punctuality, discussion, in-class writing
and the performance of your chosen role for the semester as an expert consultant
to the rest of the class in one or more of the following areas: library research,
word games including spelling and vocabulary, grammar, logic, software/hardware,
web design, psychology, literary analysis, or creative exercises. You may also
be asked to play God, Satan, a tormented existentialist or one of Plato's philosopher
kings/queens. All weekly assignments and in-class writing will be marked Excellent,
Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory. Final grade is based on attendance, participation,
weekly assignments, midterm, final paper and webfolio and participation in CYBERPERFORMANCE
II: Heaven or Hell?
on flexibility, endurance, posture, coordination, balance, focus and strength.
Everything displayed on this web site is required reading. You must also obtain the following books:
at the bookstore under Prof. Keefer or at the library:
Online Research (1996 or latest edition)
With Good Reason (logic book)
No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre
The Bible: first three chapters of Genesis, the Gospel according to St. Matthew
The Inferno by Dante
The Republic by Plato
The Portable Nietzsche
here to read summer 97 students projects
about the various hells of environmental pollution, job stress, manic depression, Dora's
Brave New World, living with Aids, mind body duality etc.
here to visit NYU students in HELL.
here to visit NYU students in HEAVEN.
here to read William Blake's Heaven and Hell.
here to read Albert Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus.
here to read about Baby Boomers and Existentialists.
Clickhere to return to Keefer's home page.