Norman Mailer's America, Fall 2018

From Gerald R. Lucas
82034 HUMN 4472.01 Hybrid TR 12:30–1:45 CaOS 104 Fall 2018
Norman Mailer in 1969

Novelist, journalist, director, provocateur, pugilist — love him or hate him, Norman Mailer was an integral part of the culture of twentieth-century America.

This section of Studies in Culture will look at the decade of the sixties in America through the eyes of one of its most controversial artists and public intellectuals. We will examine “America” as it grew out of World War II, through the turmoil of the sixties though Mailer’s novels, films, journalism, and other cultural texts. This is the country that Mailer loved and hated, the country that made him who he was, and the country that all his efforts tried to make better. This is Norman Mailer’s America.

As this section of HUMN 4472 is taught partially online. Please be sure you are aware of the implications before attempting it.


Welcome to HUMN 4472, Studies in Culture. The document you’re reading is your syllabus. Everything you need for this class is on this page or linked off of it. Bookmark it now and return here if you get lost or confused.

Since this is a partially-online section, I have tried to make the lessons and procedures as simple to follow and to understand as possible. That said, there is bound to be a bit of confusion, at least at first. Do your best to work through it by carefully and completely reading this document (and links). I promise, there is an answer to your question. If all else fails, you may contact me or ask a question on the troubleshooting forum (see below) or when we have our class meetings. Trust yourself to follow directions and find the answers. Be careful and deliberate.

Also, use this syllabus as a model for how you should approach digital writing as a college student and a professional.

If you are uncomfortable making decisions, researching your own answers, and working on your own, you may be more comfortable in a traditional, face-to-face section. This course will probably be unlike any college course you have ever taken. It is designed to let you — the students — discover and create your own knowledge using the powerful digital devices and platforms we all have access to. I’m assuming, since you’re taking this class online, that you are comfortable with working by yourself, are confident in your ability to take risks, do not need the constant reassurance of an authority figure, and have a basic Internet literacy. You will learn more about my approach shortly.

For a head start on how to approach all work in this course, see “How to Do Well in My Class,” “Research & Response,” and “Be an Expert.” Again, read this document through carefully before beginning. You might want to take notes as you go, jotting down questions you have. I bet they are answered by the time you’re ready to begin the first lesson.

Course Information

Prerequisite At least a “C” in ENGL 1102
Description This course will explore a selected topic in cultural studies from a historical perspective and a comparative perspective. This is a writing intensive course.
Classroom Hours Three per week.

 Note: links below generally lead to three web sites: D2L, LitMUSE (my general course web site), and Please do not let off-site links confuse you.

Instructor Information

  • Gerald Lucas
  • Office: CoAS-117 (Macon campus)
  • Office Hours: MWTR 10-11 and by appointment
  • Phone: 478-471-5761

Since this is a hybrid online course, office hours will be virtual. I try to make myself as available as much as possible during the first couple weeks of a semester, including evenings and weekends. If you need to talk with me, email a couple of times you are available and we’ll arrange a video conference. Please do not expect a response after 5pm on weekdays or anytime during the weekend. I may be available, but I also need some down time. Thanks for your understanding.

Required Materials

Our study this semester will use the following required texts:

Your book should always accompany you to class, as we will make heavy use of it in our daily discussions. Please do not come to class without it: we need the book for class activities, in-class writing, and all aspects of our study. PDFs must be printed if they are used in class.

You should also bring an ink interface of some sort, as well as dead trees on which to take notes. Notes should not only reflect good listening skills, but individual interest in every topic discussed in class. You should not sit in class like you’re watching TV: learning requires active participation and enthusiasm.

All other materials, like cell phones, food, magazines, headphones, etc., should be left in your car. They are not needed for our class and should, therefore, not accompany you. I understand our contemporary need to be in contact with everyone all the time, but I cannot let this personal need distract the class. Therefore: cell phones should be put on vibrate or preferably turned off and put in your bag for the duration of class. In addition, I do not allow class discussions to be taped, so do not bring any voice recording devices into the classroom.

Please eat meals and snacks before or after class; while a drink is fine, please do not eat in class.

Finally, since class lecture and discussion will often touch on the controversial, this college classroom is not an appropriate place for children. Please leave them at home.


Wikipedia Contributions (50%)

Research for and contributions to Wikipedia. Contributions will be well-researched, supported, and written — adding overall significantly to the wiki. Entries to be edited are assigned and will correspond to our classroom discussions and readings.

We will use "The Man Who Studied Yoga" as our model entry for work on Wikipedia.

Daily Work (50%)

Everything else, including training, exercises, discussions, and workshops. Regular class attendance, question posing, and active participation in classroom discussion are required. Some assignments will occasionally count for daily work: reading quizzes, peer editing, the viewing of a film, and similar activities. Your participation in group activities and your preparation for class will be weighed heavily in evaluation: participation, effort, and attitude will count significantly.

Your grade will be negatively affected by:

  • Coming to class without your assigned readings — in book form, printed, or on a tablet (not a phone);
  • Texting or otherwise engaging in activities that distract you or your classmates;
  • Arriving late or being unprepared to begin promptly (see attendance policy); and
  • Sitting passively with an empty desk. If you make me ask you to take your materials out, you’re demonstrating your lack of engagement in the course and suggesting that you do not take it seriously.



Students are held accountable for knowing and practicing each of the following course policies. Consider them like the law: the excuse “I didn’t know” will carry no weight. In addition, students are responsible for reading, understanding, and adhering to all Middle Georgia State University student policies, including those linked on the Syllabus Policy page.[1]

Drop Date
October 10, 2019

Students may withdraw from the course and earn a grade of “W” up to and including the midterm date. After midterm, students who withdraw will receive a grade of “WF.” Students are encouraged to read the withdrawal policy before dropping/withdrawing from class.

Assignments and Deadlines

Your work represents you. Everything you turn in for evaluation should exemplify the very best of your professional self. Late work is unacceptable and will receive a zero. Technical problems do not excuse late work. Plan ahead and turn in your work on time. Last-minute work submissions are ineligible for revision for a higher grade.


Poor attendance will negatively affect your grade. You must endeavor to attend every class, and it is your responsibility to ask a fellow classmate what you missed; in-class assignments, like quizzes, cannot be made up. Too many absences will constitute class failure. Please read the attendance policy carefully.


Communication is integral to success, no matter what we’re talking about. In a digital world, these literacies are particularly important. Not only should you develop and perfect your communication skills while in college, you need to use those skills everyday with your peers and professors.


Evaluation depends on overall student performance: depending on the successful completion of all requirements, participation, and attitude. Some requirements are weighed heavier in evaluation, but all are essential to successfully complete the class. Letter grades are based upon a traditional ten-point scale. Grades for this class will be based on the point system.


Willful or accidental plagiarism will result in automatic failure of this class (with a grade of an “F”) and will be pursued to incite the utmost penalty for such dishonesty. Academic falsehood, in any form, will constitute class failure.


All writing in this course should be supported with both primary (readings I assign you) and secondary (sources you find yourself) texts. All suppositions must be supported with evidence, whether they appear on a forum post, a blog post, a Wikipedia article, or class discussion. In other words: research is an integral component of everything you do in this course. Any ideas that are not supported might as well not be written.

Lesson Schedule

Each lesson, beginning with "Introduction" under Table of Contents to the left, details what you're responsible for that week; I outline them below. Wikipedia work is detailed under lessons and will continue throughout the semester. These lessons are designed to keep you working consistently: try to set aside time daily where you can work on each lesson. This schedule guarantees a regular accrual of knowledge leading up to your major writing projects. Complete each activity in order, following links and reading carefully. Post logistical questions on the Help > Questions forum.

Do not try to do everything at the last minute or all at one time. You will not succeed and your grade will suffer.

  • Week 1: 08/14 & 08/16 — Introduction
  • Weeks 2–4: 08/21–09/06 — Advertisements and Short Fiction
  • Weeks 5 & 6: 09/11–09/20 — An American Dream
  • Weeks 7 & 8: 09/25–10/04 — The Armies of the Night 
  • Weeks 9 & 10: 10/09–10/18 — Why Are We in Vietnam?
  • Week 11: 10/23–10/25 — NMS Conference (no class)
  • Weeks 12 & 13: 10/30–11/08 — Film
  • Weeks 14 & 15: 11/13–11/29 — Work on Wikipedia
  • Friday, 12/07: Very last day to submit work


  1. See the MGA website's Syllabus Policy Page the policies linked thereon.