Instructor: Dr. Melanie
This course has been developed by a grant from the Lilly Corporation for the purpose of
3) Promote an understanding of how language empowers and oppresses members of different groups.
4) Create an awareness of how various social institutions and personal
relationships affect perceptions of race.
In order to accomplish this task, it is
necessary to also explore historical, political, economic and social conditions which
simultaneously shape and are shaped by communication. We will consider not only how
communication affects and informs racial and cultural identities, but we will also actively engage
in communication concerning these issues. At times, we will focus on communication
differences; at others, we will examine similarities.
Regular, punctual attendance is required. You are unable to participate, learn from your
classmates, and also share your insights with the rest of the class if you are not present. More
than three absences will result in your grade being lowered. You are responsible for
obtaining any handouts or materials in the event of your absence and should either make
arrangements with a classmate ahead of time to get your materials or you should pick them up in
my office. Please note that I will not continue to bring materials to class after they have
"S" courses are intended to provide emphasis on speaking and listening as a way to enhance
Three times during the semester, you will hand in a TYPED set of journal entries regarding both the readings and class discussions. Occasionally, we will view parts of films or television shows, or perhaps we will participate in some group activities. You should also consider these as you write your journal entries. I suggest that you write an average of 2-3 (double-spaced) pages per week. (This will become easier as the semester moves along.)
Journal entries should go far beyond, "I really liked this article" or "I disagreed with what he or she said in class." Instead, you should elaborate, dig, explore, carve out, and try to make sense of the materials we are considering. Draw upon your own experience. How do these issues fit in with your life experience? Under what circumstances would you change your mind? If you disagree with something you’ve read or heard in class, explain why you disagree and what alternatives you suggest. If you agree, explain how these things fit together and make sense for you. You will not be evaluated on whether I agree or disagree with your position, but on how thoughtfully you articulate it.
Given that these journals are worth 25% of your grade, you should take this assignment very seriously and your journals should reflect this. I recommend that you write on at least a weekly basis. If you procrastinate, it will be much harder to recall your thoughts and feelings about our course. Additionally, if you think of your journals as a means of recording your semester-long journey along this Race and Culture course, then you will see the value of regularly recording your thoughts so you can later reflect about where you started and where you’ve landed.
Journals will be due on the following dates: Sept. 25, Oct. 23, and Nov. 17. As per class policy, all journals are due at the beginning of class on these days and will be penalized for lateness at the rate of 10% per day.
While your final autobiography is not due until after Thanksgiving break, you should plan ahead. To aid in this process, we will work on the paper in stages. First, you will provide a general outline (not to exceed 3 pages) of what you will be discussing on Friday, November 3. By this time, you should at least have in mind the general idea/experience about which you will be writing. If you do not submit an outline by the due date, your paper grade will be penalized 5%.
Second, on Monday, November 27, you will workshop rough drafts of your paper with members of your group. On this date, it is expected that you will bring four copies of your paper to class, and during this period, the other members of your group will read and respond to your paper. Don’t simply use this as a proofreading session. Instead, if this workshopping is taken seriously it is an excellent chance for you to get constructive feedback from your peers, your audience, about your paper. As a reader, listen to the writer’s voice and give the kind of feedback that you believe will be beneficial and encouraging. As with the outline, failure to participate in the workshop will lower your grade on this assignment by 5%.
Remember, this autobiography takes the place of a traditional research paper. It should be taken at least as seriously as a research paper; it is revealing who you are and how you came to be. This paper will probably be more a reflection of you than any other paper you will write this semester, and in many respects, will be more challenging that summarizing an existing body of research.
I hesitate to give page requirements, but I estimate that this paper will be in the range of 8 to 12 pages. Papers should be proofread and error free upon final submission. Two copies of your final paper are due by 4:00 p.m. on Monday, December 4. If you wish, you may post your paper on the class website.
During the final week of classes, students will orally present their autobiographies to the class. Papers are not to be read, but are to be summarized and delivered in an extemporaneous style.
(1) Leading a class discussion on a specific topic
(2) Participating in a parliamentary style debate on a specific topic of value or policy.
Additionally, every week, I will post a question or comment from the readings for that week. You should check the class discussion board every Monday for that week’s issue and by Wednesday, you should make some response. Initially, the responses will only be seen by me. However, by the third week of class, I will open the discussion boards to all class members and you will be encouraged to interact with one another online. This discussion, as well as that which actually occurs in the classroom, will be evaluated and will be worth 10% of your final grade.
Standard American English inherently racist?
Last Updated 8/302000