Here's what you should do to get started:
1. Acquaint yourself with Joseph O'Connor himself, the writer. At the left, click on the "Joseph O'Connor Background" and you'll find interviews, his website, and more.

2. If you are in Ms. Babine's class, click on the page that will give you an overview of postmodernism and what Dr. Duncan's class thinks we should know before we get going; if you're in Dr. Duncan's class, click on the page that will give you an overview of what Ms. Babine's fiction class thinks you should know. If you're wondering what the other class's syllabus looks like, click here. Posted in the Readings page are some readings that you may find helpful.

3. Both Dr. Duncan and Ms. Babine will be giving an overview of the Famine and the historical aspects of the novel, but you'll find more on the History page.

4. Read the "Imagination and Knowledge" handout that details how the project will work. Groups will contain students from both classes and will be assigned by the instructors.

5. Find the discussion link, which is next to the Edit button on each page. This is where you will be posting your Think Pieces and responding to your classmate/groups' conversations. You may want to take a "Help" tour of the wiki, if you've never used one before. The goal of the project is to produce a site that complicates and expands our discussions of what it means to read a text.

Imagination and Knowledge

Overarching Question:

  • (Writers) What does Joseph O’Connor need to know in order to support the imaginative world he creates? How has he crafted the world of the novel?
  • (Readers) What does a reader need to know in order to understand the world O’Connor has created? How does knowledge change your response to the imagined world of the novel?


To help writers understand how craft affects the reading experience, and to help readers understand how writers make their authorial decisions.


Students from both Dawn Duncan’s class (ENG 346-Empire to Independence, Concordia College) and Karen Babine’s class (ENG 252-Intro to Fiction Writing, Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln) will post their Think Pieces to our shared Wiki site. You will work in groups to illuminate and complicate the choices made and the effects of those choices. Cite the text when appropriate, craft in a way that demonstrates your own imagination and knowledge.

Topics: (Choose one aspect upon which to focus your think pieces, though there may be some overlap. If you want to make a case for bringing in some other aspect to support your focus, feel free to do so.)

· Perspective: Voice(s)/Point of View
· Character(s): Direct/Indirect Characterization
· Setting: Time, Place, Mood
· Narrative Movement: Structure, Plot, Conflict

How the Project Will Work:
Karen Babine's Eng. 252

Note: this is the prompt for Karen's class (Dr. Duncan's class will get their specific information from her, though it will be largely the same).

The Groups:
  • You will be divided up into groups within our class and then your group will be combined with a group from Dr. Duncan’s class. You will collaborate with your UNL group as well as with your Concordia group.
  • Dr. Duncan and I will post names and email addresses to our Blackboard sites and it will be your responsibility to establish communication between your two groups.

The Wiki:
  • You will turn in hard copies of your weekly two-page Think Pieces to me, as usual, but you will post one paragraph of insight to the appropriate page on the wiki. There will be a lot of overlap between craft elements and such, so don’t worry too much about posting your paragraph in the wrong place.
    • This means choosing one paragraph from your Think Piece—or you could write a paragraph on its own—and if you wrote on characters, you would post your paragraph on the “Characters” page. Include your name and identify yourself as coming from my class, from UNL.
    • You might think about things that we’ve talked about earlier in the semester and how they’re represented in the novel, you could write about an idea or discussion that came up in class—really, you could write about anything as long as it adds to our cross-class collaboration.
    • These paragraphs are to be posted to the wiki no later than 10:00 am on Fridays (3/30, 4/6, and 4/13).

How to Post to the Wiki:
  • Click on the wiki, sign in, and find the right page on the lefthand navigation. If you wrote on character(s), click on the “Characters” page. As I mentioned, there may be several places you could post your paragraph, so do not be afraid of posting in the wrong place.
  • Click on the “Edit” button.
  • Scroll to the bottom of whatever is posted there hit the return button to create a space between the paragraph above you and then paste your paragraph. Please try to match, as best you can, the formatting of the page (Arial font, same or similar size font).
  • One way you can format your paragraph:
    • [Your Name], UNL:
    • If you have any questions at all, please let me know.

The Final Collaboration Project:

  • I will be Skyping with Dr. Duncan’s class and she will be Skyping with our class, so each class will get to talk to and ask questions of the other class’s professor.
  • Our goal is also to have a conversation (whatever form that takes) with the author of our book, Joseph O’Connor, so we’ll be compiling questions you have for him and if we cannot coordinate a Skype conversation with him, we’ll do our interview via email and internet.
    • If you have a question for him, specifically, follow the above instructions and post the question to the “Conversations with Joseph O’Connor” page.
    • You will be working with your combined UNL-group and each group will be assigned to one of the craft elements. As a group, you will take the raw material posted there by your classmates, synthesize it, and create one master document that incorporates the perspectives that the raw material represents.
      • I might suggest a Google Docs approach, but it’s up to you how you want to do it.
      • I am not putting a length requirement on this document, but it will be graded on thoroughness and the contribution that it makes to the overall collaborative conversation.
      • This master document is due to be posted to the wiki no later than Saturday, 14 April 2012 by 6:00 pm.
      • Set up a Skype conversation between your UNL-Concordia group to discuss the ideas, information, and such.
        • To facilitate this, you might set up a Doodle Poll ( to find a suitable time for all of you to meet. I understand that trying to find a time when all 10-ish of you can meet will be difficult, but try. Skipping this Skype meeting will reflect poorly on your own contribution.
        • Then, on Monday, 16 April 2012, your UNL group will present your findings to the whole 252 class. Prepare a group presentation ten minutes long that incorporates what you’ve discovered, how your reading of the book has been informed, complicated, and illuminated by your work with the other class as well as your classmates.
        • Your participation and work here on the wiki be graded under “Out of Class Work,” and I will grade your work on the level of analysis and original thought.