IDST 2315 ~ Fall 2004 ~ Americas Diverse Cultural Heritage
NEW (9-1-04) NOTE: the Cabeza de Vaca WHOLE TEXT is available on-line at http://www.eldritchpress.org/cdv/rel.htm This is the exact edition/translation we are using. If you can't get it at the bookstore, you can read it on-line.
REQUIRED Textbooks (available at the bookstore;
please use the edition listed)
Sherman. Reservation Blues. New York: Time Warner, 1995
Cabeza de Vaca, Alvar Nύρez. The Journey and Ordeal of Cabeza de Vaca: His Account fo the Disastrous First European Exploration of the American Southwest. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2003.
Louise. Tracks. New York: Harper Perennial, 1988
Olaudah. The Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African.
Mineola, NY: Dover (Thrift Edition), 1999
Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York: Plume Books, 1970
Helena Maria. Under the Feet of Jesus. New York: Plume Books, 1995
This course approaches the rich cultural heritage of America
through a multiplicity of often ignored voices and visions and from a variety
of disciplines. Using primarily history and literature, but also art, film,
and music, we will learn about, read, and reflect upon the cultures of Native
Americans, African Americans, and Mexican Americans (Chicanos). We will
examine the literature and some productions of these specific ethnic groups in
order to establish a conversation about general meanings and processes of
culture, identity, and aesthetics in human lives. Though under studied and
often under appreciated, the cultures we consider have contributed much to our
nation, often literally building it, and figuratively shaping it. Thus this
course aims to help us all to realize and appreciate more fully our heritage
as Americans and our human nature.
All coursework must be completed on time to receive full
credit. Late and make-up work will only be accepted with express
permission from the teacher (you must explain in advance and document why something will be late). All late
assignments, if accepted, will be automatically graded down by one full letter
grade per calendar day. With a legitimate excuse (documented medical/extreme
family emergency, or official school activity), only one test may be made up
without penalty. You will LOSE participation points (subtracted from your
overall point total) for each class absence after the first three (including
excused absences) at a rate of 20 points lost per absence.
Your grade in this class will reflect your overall participation and
enthusiasm, as well as your performance on specific tasks outlined below.
Consistency and improvement are considered. Prior to mid-semester, you will
receive feedback on your academic performance in this course.
exam (short answer and fill in the blank)
....15% (75 points)
written exam (short answer and essay)
exam (take-home essay)
-- up to 2 cultural event/movie evaluations
10 points each
This syllabus is a guide
and as such is subject to revision.
It is your responsibility as a student to attend class faithfully, note
and adhere to any changes in the syllabus, and to complete all work on
time. If you miss a class, contact me for any changes in readings or
assignments (by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: 445-3177). I DO NOT
keep track of what you have missed or must make up that is YOUR
I encourage you to communicate with me about any
concerns, problems, or questions you may have during the semester. I answer
all e-mails and am happy to see students during my office hours or by
Plagiarism and cheating
are unethical and unacceptable. If you have any doubt as to what constitutes
plagiarism and/or cheating, see me or consult your student handbook (see the
honor code). Violation of the policy will result in failure.
Faithful, punctual attendance
is mandatory. If you must be absent and have a documented excuse (legitimate
excuses include documented medical problems, documented extreme family
emergency, or a documented official school activity), be sure to inform me of
your absence, show me your documentation. You must always keep track of (and
still turn in on time) any work or assignments you miss. More than three
absences (including excused absences) in one semester will result in an
overall lower grade as well as on a specific assignment.
Classroom activities, lectures, and discussions require
enormous time and preparation and cannot
be repeated or re-created for one individual student at a later time or
date. The instructor will not repeat or make-up classes for you. Fellow
students may lend you notes & keep you informed, but duplicating a class
is nearly impossible.
Active, respectful participation
is required of all students. Respectful participation means listening to
others opinions, presentations, and ideas even if an initial reaction is to
disagree. Responses should be thoughtful, respectful, and based on readings or
class information. Critical thinking (the basis of all college education and
higher reasoning) requires you to attend to various sides of issues. You
should learn to evaluate, compare, and judge information based on reason and
logic rather than emotion. Active participation involves listening attentively
and respectfully as much as it involves speaking. Aggressive or rude behavior
will not be tolerated and will result in lower participation points.
Cell phones (or computers with internet access)
be turned off and kept out of sight during class period. Any violation may
result in lost participation points.
BREAKS during class
not allowed except in cases of sickness or extreme emergency. If you
leave during class (even briefly), without documented medical necessity, you
will be counted absent during that class period.
Any student requiring modifications due to a documented disability should make an appointment to meet with the instructor as soon as possible. An official letter from GC&SU documenting the disability will be required in order to receive accommodation.
a fire drill or other emergency, students will promptly and safely exit
the classroom in an orderly fashion according to posted routes and
teachers instructions, then congregate in the designated spot (the
front lawn) as a class until all students are accounted for or the
all-clear signal has sounded. If time permits, class will continue.
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