grade breakdown

Specific criteria for each assignment will be distributed in class. The Final Grade will consist of:

Class Preparation (as evidenced in required Attendance & Participation) (20%) +
Short Papers (40%) +
Final Exam (40%)

Note: There will be no make up exams in February Exam period.

course procedures:

This class is reading and analysis intensive. Students should expect to read and re-read, think and re-think all course materials. The course is designed to allow students to practice, develop and hone the skills of critical analysis. All reading assignments should be prepared carefully for each class meeting. Students will be expected to present commentary and questions on the assigned materials each class day. The course will be structured around student-led commentary and discussion, in a seminar format. A successful and productive course depends on informed student participation. This class is designed to challenge you intellectually.

academic integrity:

Academic honesty is expected of all students. Any inappropriate use of materials or plagiarism will not be tolerated.


1. Class attendance is required because the discussions direct the subject matter for exams and papers. (MORE THAN TWO ABSENCES will jeopardize your ability to pass this course.)

2. Students are asked to arrive promptly for class as a courtesy to all class members. (2 LATE ARRIVALS WILL COUNT AS ONE ABSENCE.)

3. Daily preparation of the reading material. Students will need to read and often re-read the daily reading assignment in order to participate in class. LACK OF PREPARATION WILL CONSTITUTE AN ABSENCE. Forms of preparation may include: note taking, lists of questions and ideas, outlines of the reading assignment, re-reading assignments for greater understanding.

4. Informed class participation. Philosophy is not a spectator sport, but requires questioning,
analysis, and testing of ideas. Regular informed participation in the discussion and analysis is required to successfully complete the course.

5. A Final Exam will be essay-style which require careful analysis, making connections between texts and ideas, and making supported judgments about texts and ideas. The exam will be planned with advance notice, including the opportunity for students to bring draft essays to the professor for comments and suggestions. Out of fairness to all class members, NO MAKEUP EXAMS WILL BE GIVEN.

6. Short Papers. Each film screened in class or assigned outside out class will be the occasion for a response analysis. This will be a focused response and analysis using our Film Analysis Form. RESPONSE PAPERS WILL BE DUE THE CLASS PERIOD FOLLOWING THE SCREENING. NO LATE PAPERS WILL BE ACCEPTED.Consult the "Guide to Humanist Film Reviews" and the Instructor's "Grading Guidelines for Papers" for more information. The goal is to move beyond plot summary into focused analysis of the film. A Condensed Film Analysis Form may be assigned.

grading scale

A - Essay is observant; well-organized; has a clear thesis; uses details to amplify the thesis argument; makes an argument, rather than letting the thesis speak for itself; uses clear paragraph structure; explains significance of details in sophisticated and convincing ways; grammar/syntax is free from error; uses written text for support and with powerful effect; conclusion/thesis argument is convincing and says something significant.

B - Above qualities are present in less complete form; states a thesis; uses argumentation to prove thesis; organized; uses evidence; uses text as support; language not quite as persuasive or clear as "A"essay.

C - Thesis not clear or not clearly argued; organization needs work; needs paragraph structuring; impact of argument (the "so what question") not clear; needs more amplification, examples, and/or text reference.

D - Paper needs a thesis; lacks details and evidence; thoroughness is lacking; writing lacks depth or is not well organized; grammar or syntax needs extensive work.

F - Essay is not turned in on time; does not fulfill assignment in any meaningful way.