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Common Goals for Explorations in Scholarship SeminarsExplorations Seminars ask four questions:
As a way of addressing the goals outlined above, this course focuses on how literature intersects with the world we live in, particularly by examining issues of gender, race, and social class. The activities we engage in will enable you to develop not only the habits of mind required for a scholarly approach to literature but also to see clearly the place of literary study in a college education, the connections between literary study and other academic disciplines, and the relationships between theory and practice and between art and life. By the end of the term, you will have a clear sense of how to read and write about literary texts, of what it means to be a member of an academic community, and of how that community relates to and serves the wider community.
Course-Specific Learning OutcomesUpon satisfactory completion of the course, students will have gained experience in
TextsCresswell, Place: a short introduction
Tuan, Space and Place
Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Chopin, The Awakening
RulesClass Participation: As a member of this scholarly community, you are responsible for class discussion. My role in the class is not to give you the final word on the texts we consider but to coordinate your discussion of them. One of the premises of this course is that there are multiple approaches to texts. Class discussion allows us to unravel the complexity of the texts we read because during discussion we must account for our own opinions as we consider those of our fellow readers. Discussion and debate are not opportunities to win an argument as much as chances to enrich the entire group's understanding of the text being examined and the issues it raises. Though not necessarily formal, academic discussion has certain qualities that set it apart from casual conversation, and I will be evaluating you according to the following criteria in an effort to help you develop your discussion skills:
Classroom Behavior: Because our classroom space is devoted to textual analysis, it must therefore be free of distractions. To that end, I expect you to observe the following rules:
Writing Assignments: In addition to your journal and your informal in-class writing assignments, you will write three formal papers. These papers are the counterpart to class participation: whereas in class you will develop and test your ideas by voicing them in the group, in your papers you will develop and test your ideas through extended thought and multiple drafts. As in class discussion, you must be aware of your audience, but unlike class discussion you cannot change, modify, clarify, or correct your ideas once you turn the paper in. You will discover things about yourself and about literature as you write, but once you submit the paper it must stand on its own. Start early on these papers, and go through several drafts, not just correcting any errors you find but developing your examples and clarifying your explanations. If it helps, think of class discussion as rehearsal and the papers as performance. Audiences expect certain things out of a performance. As your audience, I hope to find your performance thoughtful, honest, careful, spirited, well-developed. At the very least, I expect the following -- papers are to be submitted through Moodle by the beginning of class on the due date; they must be submitted as a Microsoft Word document having the suffix .doc or .docx; your work must follow the proper manuscript form (MLA style) found in your college writing handbook purchased for your composition class. I may choose not to accept written work that does not conform to standards; if so, I will require you to rewrite the assignment. I will not accept late work without having given prior consent. For a clear idea of my grading scale for papers, please follow this link. I will return your papers to you in electronic form with my comments imbedded electronically. I will also send you a grading sheet that gives you a breakdown of the scores you earned in various aspects of your paper. For a copy of this grading sheet, please follow this link.
Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the most serious offence against academic honesty. As such, it has the most severe penalties. Put quite simply, plagiarism is the use of someone else's words or ideas without giving him or her credit. Anytime you quote directly or indirectly from a source, or if you paraphrase or summarize material from a source, you must document that act of borrowing. The papers you write for this or any class at Birmingham-Southern are documents by which your professors will measure your ability to collect and analyze data, understand concepts, and articulate ideas. Presenting another person's work as your own is dishonest and fraudulent. Any act of plagiarism will result in a failing grade for the assignment without possibility of revision. Intentional acts of plagiarism will result in a failing grade for the course. Please use the following link for an extended definition of plagiarism.
Class Attendance: Because the classroom experience is central to this course, you must be present in both body and spirit during class time. Recognizing that you have a complex life, I allow you two sick days and two personal days for the term. Any absences beyond those four will cost you a letter grade reduction per day absent on your final course grade. You will not be allowed to make up missed work unless you get permission from me ahead of time or unless I have been contacted by Health Services or your academic advisor about your extended illness.
Academic Acommodation: If you have a documented disability and need academic accommodations in this course, please speak with me privately as soon as possible so I can be prepared to meet your needs. Students with disabilities seeking accommodations must be registered with the Office of Accessibility, which will provide an academic accommodation letter to registered students who are responsible for sharing the letter and discussing accommodation needs with me. If you have not already registered with the Office of Accessibility, please contact that office as soon as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. If you prefer to call the office, the number is (205) 226-7909.
Contacting Your Professor: You may contact me by leaving me an e-mail message, a voice-mail message at my office extension, or a written note on my office door bulletin board or in my mailbox in the Humanities Office. An e-mail message will be the most effective method. Please understand, however, that your leaving a message does not constitute your having my permission for your request.
Course GradeThe final grade will be the average of the class participation grade (10%), presentations grade (10%), the short paper grades (20% each), the annotated bibliography grade (15%), and the documented research paper grade (25%). The first short paper focuses on what makes your neighborhood or hometown a particular place. The second short paper applies space and place theory to one of the two novels we will read together. The annotated bibliography provides notes on how you will use your research materials in your long paper, which applies space and place theory to a text or texts of your choice. The topic and scope of this final paper must be approved by me before you begin the research process.
Your papers should reflect extensive thought and multiple drafting, and you should draw on the writing skills you are learning in your writing class. In addition to the instruction in writing you get in both classes, you should make use of the tutorial support available in the Writing Center. Information about the Writing Center appears on its Web page, which you may reach by following this link. Remember that your assignments are both a learning tool for you and an evaluation tool for me. The more effort you put into them, the more you will learn and the better you will be evaluated. Please see the statement of my philosophy of grading that I have posted on this Web site.
Course ScheduleReading assignments are listed below on the days we will be discussing them in class. Take notes on the readings and your reactions to them, and come to class prepared to discuss the texts and the issues they raise. Note that I will be asking you to use the "Responses to Readings" Forum on our class Moodle site to respond publically to several of the readings. Writing assignments and examinations are listed below in boldfaced type.
Note: Five Explorations Lecture and Arts Events are listed below in red. Most are scheduled during the Common Hour in Norton Theater. You must attend at least three of these events, take notes on each presentation and your reaction to it, and be prepared to discuss them in subsequent class meetings as they relate to our readings in space and place theory. You will be required to write an essay response to these events on your final examination.
08/24 Introduction to the Course
John D. Tatter, Birmingham-Southern College, firstname.lastname@example.org