Critical Responses
About every two weeks students prepare 2-3 page critical responses (for a total of six), due at the beginning of class, in which they discuss the last two weeks' readings, synthesize class discussions, voice questions about readings, and provide short analyses of the material. These responses should be insightful, focused, and fresh. Most importantly, critical responses should show that you have read all readings carefully and that you have engaged with the ideas presented in readings and in class.

Final Paper
The final paper (minimum six pages in length) asks that you synthesize and elaborate in some of the concepts and ideas presented during the semester. The paper can be a more extended discussion of specific concepts we have studied, or it can be a creative exercise inspired by our readings. Think of the final paper as an opportunity to flesh out particular questions or issues that have come up and you find interesting.

All papers--critical responses and the final paper--must employ correct MLA documentation to receive an A grade.

Please review this page for more information about papers.


Final Exam
UVSC policy requires that each course ends with a final examination. The final exam in this course will take place during the scheduled exam period and will encompass a "performance" of your final paper. We will discuss details of this final exam in class. You must attend the final exam to pass the course.


Attendance is required. The course is structured around student participation and in-depth discussions of readings. In addition, many assignments, instructions, and potential changes to the calendar are given in class. You will complete class successfully and comfortably if you keep up your reading and writing, and if you come to class prepared to discuss the readings. Students are expected to arrive on time. In case of an absence, it is the student's responsibility to find out what was covered. After three absences, your course grade may be lowered by one step (e.g., A to A-, B+ to B, D to E, etc.). A student with more than seven absences cannot pass this course.

Preparation for class discussion includes the following steps:

  1. You have located the day's reading, and have printed it out

  2. You have read the reading carefully and have thought about questions and comments to make in class

  3. You have brought the print-out and discussion questions to class

In-class Writing
In-class writing assignments will happen almost every day. These are short reading quizzes and warm-ups for the subsequent class discussion. Each quiz is worth 5 points. They cannot be made up in case of an absence.

Late Work
I generally do not accept late work. In case of a problem or delay, students need to talk to me ahead of time.

The final grade for this course will be determined as follows:

Critical Responses


In-class Writings


Final Paper


Final Exam





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