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Course Conduct

 

In the course of our studies, we will be questioning deeply held beliefs and ideologies. Some students may feel uncomfortable with some of the questions we will be asking. While some of this discomfort is an expected aspect of learning, a few ground rules will help us delve into and engage with these issues and topics productively: 

1)     Speak respectfully to and about everyone in the class. Racist, sexist, heterosexist, ableist, anti-Semitic, and other prejudiced remarks are absolutely inappropriate for our classroom discussions. This does not mean that we must be “politically correct” or refuse to comment, but remarks that stereotype people are not necessary to make your point as we analyze these issues in our classroom. Likewise, be considerate of differences among us; when we assume that everyone else is just like us (for example, when we assume that everyone shares our own religious beliefs, or that everyone can walk or see or hear), we unavoidably exclude those who are not like us—even when we think we are speaking for everyone. Part of the objective of this course is for us all (myself included) to more fully recognize our false assumptions about others and how we speak and think about others.

2)     Keeping this policy of respect in mind, I encourage you to express your disagreement with anything said in the readings or in class, including anything I say. (Don’t worry about your grade; you will be graded based on your knowledge of and willingness to engage with the course material, not on whether you agree with me. You can disagree with me and still earn an excellent grade in the course.) Criticize points of view, opinions, statements, behaviors, social patterns, and institutions (just avoid criticizing people.) A good strategy here is to always verbally locate yourself in your argument, and never put the other person on the defensive. For example, you might say “I think that statement is sexist because it . . .” rather than “You are sexist if you think that.” The other person may then offer a rebuttal about the statement, rather than having to defend herself or himself personally.

3)     Your own experiences are welcome in our discussions, but please be sure that they are relevant to the topic being discussed. This is a classroom—not a group therapy session or confessional, so please do not share any experiences that will make you feel unsafe, and keep information shared by others confidential. (If you decide to discuss this shared information outside the classroom, please omit names and other identifying characteristics of classmates.) Of course, you are in no way expected to volunteer personal information, and you should not demand it from other class members. Avoid essentializing others’ experiences (or your own) based on superficial characteristics such as gender, race, etc. That is, please don’t expect others to “represent” certain groups, or assume that your statements necessarily represent others. Assertions such as “Well I’m a woman/lesbian/Asian-American/etc., and so I speak for all women/etc. when I say . . .” rarely represent others at all.

4)     Everyone in the class has the right to make mistakes, including the instructor. In fact, making mistakes is one of the most effective learning strategies. We are all engaged in a learning process here, so be kind to others—and to yourself—when mistakes are made.

 Course Policies

·        Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated; violators will be reported and prosecuted. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the definitions of plagiarism, cheating, illegal collaboration, etc. in the CSU guidelines at: http://adminservices.clayton.edu/studentlife/Student%20Handbook/handbkcode.htm Students who violate these policies may be formally charged with academic misconduct. The minimum penalty in such cases will be a zero on the assignment and an F in the course. As university regulations stipulate, students guilty of academic misconduct may also be suspended or expelled.

·        Unless otherwise noted, papers should be word-processed, double-spaced, in a standard 12 point font, and with a one-inch margin. Staple pages together in the upper left corner.

·        Please save paper. I cannot stress this enough. Do not append cover pages, folders/binders, etc. to your papers, and please try to use recycled paper. I will award extra credit to those who print multiple-page assignments double-sided.

·        Proof-read and edit all assignments, and be sure to provide proper bibliographical citations for any sources referenced. Please use MLA style. (Refer to The MLA Handbook in the library for correct formatting.)

·        Don’t waste space rephrasing questions or formulating lengthy introduction and/or conclusion sections in your assignments; you will often have a limited page allowance, so use your space wisely.

·        For clarity, please use correct grammar and spelling, and write in active voice (rather than passive voice). Be sure to italicize or underline all titles, and watch your use of gendered language (e.g., do not refer to “he/him” or “man/Man” when you mean “she or he,” “they,” or “human”). I encourage you to use the Center for Academic Assistance in the Library; they are quite helpful. You can reach them at 770/961-3470 or joannquattlebaum@mail.clayton.edu to make an appointment.

·        Turn off cell phones, beepers, and any other distractions during class & screenings.