This class is reading, analysis, writing, and discussion 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. Critical writing depends on clear
argumentation, use of evidence for every argument, and examination of presuppositions.
(See Grading Guidelines for Papers)
Academic honesty is expected of all students. Any inappropriate use of materials
or plagiarism will not be tolerated. (See Academic Integrity Policies on pg.
21 of the Columbia Catalog.)
- Class attendance is required because the discussions and films direct
the subject matter for exams and papers. (MORE THAN TWO ABSENCES WILL RESULT
IN FAILURE OF THE COURSE.)
- Students are asked to arrive promptly for class as a courtesy to all
class members. (2 LATE ARRIVALS WILL COUNT AS ONE ABSENCE.)
- 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.
- Informed class participation. Critical studies require questioning, analysis,
and testing of ideas. Regular informed participation in the discussion and
analysis is required to successfully complete the course.
- Oral Presentation. Each student will give a well-planned
5 - 10 minute "lecture" on a reading assignment. The speech should "teach"
the chapter to the group; it should not be a book report but should present
the important ideas and key concepts from the reading. Notecards, visual
aids, and handouts should be used. A grading sheet
will be distributed in class.
- Final Exam. The essay-style exam will require careful analysis, making
connections between all the texts: written, film, and video, we've studied,
and making supported judgments about those 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.
- Film Analysis for Each Film Studied (2-pg. form). Some of the films/clips
screened in class will be the occasion for a response analysis. 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.Use the Analysis
- One Critical Essay (10 pages). Papers will be developed out of student
inquiry and subject to revision. These essays will be graded on clarity
of expression-which includes accurate grammar and syntax. Papers will be
evaluated according to clear organization, clear presentation of a thesis
argument, and clear and abundant support from the texts for every claim
made by the writer (use of quotations and evidence.) Papers should be typed/word-processed,
double spaced, PROOFREAD, and follow any standard style manual. LATE PAPERS
WILL LOSE ONE LETTER GRADE FOR EACH DAY OF LATENESS. The instructor will
assist in the planning and development of these essays. Additional assistance
is available in the Writing Center.
Grading Scale and Standards:
Specific criteria for each assignment will be distributed when the assignment
is given in class. The Final Grade will consist of: Class Preparation (as
evidenced in participation) & Oral Presentation (20%), Short Film Papers and
Reading Quizzes (20%), Critical Essay (30%), and Final Exam (30%).
You are welcomed and encouraged to ask questions of, seek help from, and
generally keep in contact with the professor. Do not hesitate to email, call,
or stop by if there is a problem or question. If you are confused or wish
feedback-SEE ME! Questions are a normal and essential part of the learning
process-it is not a reason to skip class or avoid the teacher. Seek help early
and often-if you wait until the end of the term, it will be too late.
Grading Guidelines for Papers:
- 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
What you can expect from the Professor:
- The professor will not insult your intelligence by expecting less from
you than college-level work.
- The professor will provide suggestions, feedback, and critical evaluation
concerning all aspects of the learning process both in and outside of class.
- The professor will read drafts of papers and exams to provide feedback,
and will evaluate these fairly, honestly, and constructively.
- The professor will challenge you to think and ask Why?
- The Professor will respect all students by discussing and evaluating
ideas and not personalities--and will expect no less from the members of
- The professor will strive to maintain a bias-free classroom that judges
the merit of ideas not individuals. She will expect that all members of
the class respond to each other respectfully. Students who do not conduct
their intellectual work respectfully will be asked to leave the class.
- The Professor will bring not only her expertise but also her enthusiasm
for learning to our classroom environment.