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Course Information

Instructor Info:Lise Sanders
Office Extension x5650
TA Info:Rhana Tabrizi
Term: 2014S
Meeting Info: Wednesday
09:00 AM - 11:50 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 104

This course is intended as a research- and writing-intensive seminar for first- and second-year students interested in pursuing independent projects in the humanities, broadly conceived, but focusing on the analysis of primary texts (e. g., literature, still and moving images, new media). During the first half of the semester, we will establish a foundation in readings selected from among canonical and recent texts in cultural theory and criticism. The second half of the semester will focus on the process of developing a substantial independent research project in five stages: prospectus, annotated bibliography, detailed outline, draft and revision. Peer review workshops will be a key component of the course, complemented by library research sessions and instruction in effective argumentation. Interested students should bring a one-page proposal to the first class meeting.

Course Objectives:


Attendance/Participation: This is a reading- and writing-intensive course based primarily on lively and informed discussion. Students will be expected to attend and participate fully in all class sessions; unexcused absences will negatively affect your final evaluation as well as your ability to share in the collaborative project of the course. Timeliness is expected: after one warning, if you are more than 15 minutes late to any class session, you will be marked absent. Two unexcused absences will result in no evaluation. In case of severe illness or emergency, a contingency plan for completing the course may be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

Reading/Writing Assignments: For the first half of the course, we will develop a shared vocabulary through in-depth discussions of primary and secondary source materials (readings and other relevant texts). For the second half of the course, we will read and discuss written work by members of the course. For these sessions, students will participate in a workshop-based peer review process, asking questions designed to develop the argument and offering constructive criticism (in the form of written comments) on each piece. This course will require at least six to eight hours a week of work outside of class time. I will be available to consult with students on projects and to read drafts, and will also facilitate a library research session and a writing workshop early in the semester. Please plan ahead, take advantage of available resources, and meet with me during office hours if you have questions or concerns.



Evaluation Criteria:

NB: Due to the workshop format of the course, all writing assignments must be handed in on time, at the beginning of each class session, and in hard copy; assignments will not be accepted by email. Any student who is two writing assignments behind at any point in the semester will not receive an evaluation for the course. In order for you to receive an evaluation, the final portfolio must be complete and handed in by the deadline stated on the syllabus. Final portfolios will consist of notes for presentations; prospectus, outline, annotated bibliography and draft(s) of the final research project; and the final version of the research project, substantially revised.

Incompletes are permitted only in emergencies, and only when negotiated in advance. Here is an excerpt from the College policy on incompletes (available in Non Satis Non Scire):

To record an incomplete, both student and faculty member will fill out the appropriate form to record the new negotiated deadline by which the student will complete all remaining work for the course. That date will not exceed the first day of the spring semester for a fall incomplete, and June 30th for a spring incomplete.

If the negotiated deadline passes without the faculty member receiving and recording the completed work from the student, the incomplete will be converted to a "No Evaluation." Faculty have one month from the negotiated date to evaluate the work.

Students experiencing exceptional circumstances that could make it difficult to adhere to any part of this policy should immediately be referred to CASA for assistance with accommodating circumstances.



Additional Info:

Sensitivity and Respect

The classroom is a place of academic discussion and scholarly engagement, but just as the personal is political, the intellectual can also be personal. All course participants should feel comfortable expressing their views in an atmosphere of respect. In particular, please be aware of your peers' preferred names and pronouns and use them in class.

The following is an excerpt from Hampshire's antidiscrimination and harassment policy (available at

Discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, age, color, national origin, religion, sex (including sex stereotyping), sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, genetic information, transgender status, or military service (henceforth, the “Protected Factors”) is in conflict with the mission of the College and is strictly prohibited by its Policy. Hampshire College is strongly committed to building an inclusive environment and will not tolerate any actions of any individual that violate this Policy.

A Note on Plagiarism

Plagiarism – passing off another person's words as your own – is a serious infringement of scholarly ethics, and necessitates disciplinary action on the part of the School Dean and the Advising Office. Please see the handout below for further details, and cite sources diligently in your written work.

Required Text (available at Amherst Books on Main Street in downtown Amherst)

Wayne Booth, Gregory Colomb, and Joseph Williams, eds. The Craft of Research, 3rd ed. (Chicago)

Note: All other required readings (marked with an X) will be posted on the course website and/or handed out in class. Please bring a hard copy of each day's required reading to class as we will work extensively with the text(s) in our discussions. (Laptops and other electronic devices pose a distraction and are not allowed unless specific accommodations are requested.)

Teaching Assistant

Rhana Tabrizi, Division III student in film studies, will be available to meet with students one-on-one and in small groups throughout the semester. Please contact her by email ( to make an appointment.