I'm teaching a senior seminar on Race in/and early modern drama this spring, and spending some time looking at a variety of critical readings. I've already ordered the plays, and have some documentary stuff ready to go.
Traditionally, I've organized senior seminars like this:
First few weeks: theory, criticism, then a play or lit text, historical texts
Second few weeks: more theory, criticism, plays!
Third few weeks: start students on research project, plays!
Final few weeks: lots of work on research project, a play or lit text
In some ways, this works really well. reading theory/criticism early sets the agenda, and then we're well prepared to talk about plays.
BUT, because I start them on their research projects early (and they tend to write good projects as a result), they usually write their research projects on one of the texts we read in the second few weeks.
I'm wondering what would happen if we read some plays fast in the first few weeks, then in the second few weeks, read theory, criticism, other historical texts, and then in the third three weeks, go back to the plays in more depth, and such?
How do you organize courses when you want students to produce a strong research project at the end?