Grading and Requirements: There are four major assignments in this course, and each is worth 20% of your final grade. The remaining 20% is based on class participation; this includes regular attendance, as well as frequent and thoughtful contribution to class discussion. All absences should be excused. Missing more than three sessions throughout the semester will seriously jeopardize your participation grade. If you miss more than five, you should reasonably expect to fail the course.
General Expectations: 1. Come to class prepared not only to address all of the meeting’s readings, but to contribute to class discussion in thoughtful and accountable ways. Keeping up with the syllabus throughout the semester is absolutely essential. I’ve tried to make each individual reading assignment manageable. But be warned: unread pages can pile up very, very quickly!
You are also required to serve as an “inquisitor” for at least one class meeting during the semester. “Inquisitors” are responsible for kicking off class discussion by sharing a particularly interesting, difficult, poignant, or puzzling literary passage from the reading and raising one or two solid questions about it to the class at large. This is not a formal presentation. Think “dialogue” rather than “monologue” here. While you should plan to tell the class why you chose your passage, the more important thing is to come up with some thoughtful questions or points of contention that will help generate discussion. (Two helpful hints on this front: honest questions lead to honest responses, and the best passages to pick are the ones that made you think “WOW,” or even “WTF,” when you read them.) Whatever you do, you must let me know, via email, what passage you want to share by 10:00 PM on the evening prior to class. I will assign dates for inquisitors once enrollment settles.
2. Meet with me, in office hours or otherwise, to discuss your writing. As listed above, my office hours are Tuesdays 1:30-4:00, in New North 324. I’m also available by email appointment.
3. Turn in assignments on time. In all cases, late work is not acceptable. My policy is a simple one: for every day an assignment is late, 1/3 of a letter grade will be deducted. Exceptions may be made in documented cases of personal or familial hardship (severe illnesses, family emergencies, etc.). But please take note: the pressures of other exams, papers, or extracurricular activities are not an acceptable excuse for lateness. Plan now to structure your time wisely—and please don’t hesitate to take advantage of my office hours to help you work on assignments in advance of their due dates.