In addition to keeping up with the reading and participating in discussion, this class has the following requirements:
You will give two presentations in the course of the semester.
1. Pedagogical class presentation. Once in the semester, each student will take responsibility for running the class for approximately half of the session (we will do this in groups if there are more students than weeks available). You will give a short presentation focusing on areas of particular interest to you, then lead class discussion. I encourage you to bring additional material such as images or video clips and to explore pedagogical strategies you might use if you were teaching this material at the undergraduate level. I will meet with you in advance of your presentation week to help you plan.
2. Conference-style presentation of research. The last week of class and finals week will be given over to presenting and discussing your seminar paper research. You will give a short presentation, for which I encourage you to prepare visual aids, and the class will discuss your ideas and offer feedback for your final paper. Where relevant, we will also discuss possible venues where you might present and later publish this research.
You are required to post biweekly blog responses, which you may make at your own blog or post on our class site at AmericanFuturesIUP.wordpress.com. On the first day of class, I will demonstrate some options for free blog hosting for any students interested in creating an academic online presence; whether you make your blog pseudonymous is up to you, but I do require the postings to be public. Your blogging may be informal and personal, but it should address questions raised by the texts we are reading and it should be written in a style that readers outside our class community will be able to understand.
You will write a seminar paper (15-20 pages) due on Monday May 13, which will be preceded by a proposal discussing your areas of interest, due in week 5; a 5-page short paper on the same theme (which may or may not be incorporated into your final paper) due in week 9; and an annotated bibliography due in week 12.
Attendance, Participation, and Grades
This is a graduate class; I expect you to want to be here, to be interested in thinking about scholarly production, to be prepared to spend time working through texts that can be difficult, and to be continually thinking about what might be possible in your own intellectual projects. The grade is not the point at graduate level, and if you show that you are deeply engaged and working hard, you will do well. If you are missing class, failing to do the reading, and not participating online, you will not do well. Please let me know if you are having problems that are affecting your attendance and participation.
You are more than welcome to bring your laptop to class, but please use it to participate: to access readings and the class blog, tweet or blog your notes, or find information online that will add to the discussion. Maintain the same respect in online participation as you would in the classroom, and check in with your fellow participants before you post their name in public. Be responsible about your own attention, and if you find that using your computer in class makes you tune out, close it or take steps such as deactivating your wireless connection.
If you have a question, look at the course website and syllabus before you email me. I will not read unsolicited drafts in email, though I will be happy to discuss your ideas and your writing in my office hours. You can expect a response to your queries within 24 hours; 48 if you email at the weekend. I will expect the same response times from you if I email you with a question. You may also DM or @ me on Twitter, @alothian, which may garner a speedier (if shorter) response.
Discussion, reading, and generosity
Some of the texts we will read in this class will challenge you, for various reasons; that is the nature of scholarly inquiry. Some texts may offend you. Some should offend you. But our aim as scholars should be to work in a spirit of openness, seeking to understand how each project is shaped by its origins, location, and investments and to discover what we can learn from it. For the duration of the class, your goal in encountering texts and screenings should be to read both critically and generously. You should try to approach your classmates’ written and spoken comments in the same spirit, while paying attention to the flows of power in the classroom. This does not mean accepting offensive or hurtful language, or hesitating to call out problems when you see them; it does mean working from an assumption of collaboration rather than confrontation and appreciating that we are all in a state of constant change and that what we say does not define who we are. If you feel that conversation has become uncomfortable for you or you are concerned that a problematic dynamic is developing in the classroom or online, please speak to me privately as soon as possible and I will do my best to make a change.
I will do my best to work with any student who requires accommodations and to minimize barriers posed by course structures and materials. Any student requesting academic accommodations for a disability is required to register with Disability Services (216 Pratt Hall). See http://www.iup.edu/disabilitysupport/default.aspx for more information.