REL/PHIL 465 (3 hrs), Manchester College, Fall 2009
Dr. Steve Naragon [firstname.lastname@example.org]: Ad Bldg., #231c (Phone — office: 982-5041; home: 982-6033)
Prof. Kate Eisenbise [email@example.com]: Ad Bldg., #201 (Phone — office: 982-5348)
(1) Diana Hacker, A Writer’s Reference (recent edition).
A seminar is a class-format that arose at the very end of the eighteenth century in certain German universities. The word comes from the Latin seminarium, which means “seed plot.” It is the responsibility of each member of the seminar both to plant seeds as well as to nurture and otherwise encourage the seedlings of others, when it turns out that one of their seeds was viable and sprouted.
This seminar is an advanced study of topics in religion and philosophy, focusing on the research and evaluation of the current literature. It is an opportunity for religion and philosophy majors, near the end of their college career, to explore various topics in these two disciplines by reading — and presenting to each other these readings — from the recent professional literature, viz., scholarly journals, as well as essays written for the educated lay audience.
The first half of the semester will be given over to this free exploration and study of ideas, but during this time students should also be considering and exploring possible paper topics, as the second half of the semester will be devoted to researching and writing a major research paper (15-20 pp). Apart from learning a great deal about some particular topic in your discipline, this will provide you with an opportunity to develop your research and writing skills. The articles that you present to class should be directly related to your research project, and a significant portion of class time will also be given over to discussing research strategies.
Requirements and Grading
Readings. Study the readings closelyprior to class, and always bring them with you to class.
Class Participation. A seminar succeeds to the extent that its members attend regularly, arrive prepared, and engage in constructive discussion. A significant part of your course grade will reflect your contribution to the class discussions. Each class period will be graded following a 6 pt. rubric (see below).
Presentations. Seminar members will take turns presenting articles to the class (about six each). Everyone will have read the article closely, but the presenter will lead the discussion, and will be expected to have gathered together and studied any other materials useful for understanding the article. See the 6 pt. rubric, below.
Copies of the articles need to be distributed to the class at least 48 hours before we are to discuss them, and preferably one week before. If the article is in a digital format (.pdf, .doc, .rtf), then email it to me and I’ll post it to ANGEL (each member should then print off their own copy). If the article is in a paper format only, then give me a clean photocopy or the article and I’ll make copies for everyone and leave outside my office door.
Presentation Essays. Students will write a two-page (600 word) summary and response to each article they present to the seminar, due no later than the night before. See the 6 pt. rubric, below.
Please submit your 2pp. essays into the appropriately numbered “drop box” (E1-E6) on ANGEL. All seminar members are able to read all submissions made here.
Essays are due at midnight before the day of presentation.
Late submissions are docked one point per day late.
Research Paper. One research paper, due near the end of the term. This must be typed, 15-20 pp. It will be graded on the clarity and concision of your writing, grammar and mechanics (such as spelling), documentation (MLA please), and how well you appeared to have understood the topic itself. Please see the 10 pt. rubric, below.
One-fourth of this grade (= 10% of the course grade) is determined by successfully meeting certain deadlines: (1) topic [Mon, Sep 21], (2) thesis paragraph and preliminary bibliography [Mon, Oct 5], (3) annotated bibliography [Mon, Oct 26], (4) outline with summary paragraphs [Mon, Nov 16], (5) first draft (= the best paper you can write) [Fri, Dec 4], (6) final draft [Mon, Dec. 14].
Grading. Participation, the set of class presentations, and the set of presentation essays is each worth 20% of the course grade, while the research paper is worth 40%. We will use the following letter grade conversion scale: A (94-100), A- (90-93), B+ (87-89), B (83-86), B- (80-82), C+ (77-79), C (73-76), C- (70-72), D+ (67-69), D (63-66), D-(60-62), F (0-59).
Plagiarism. Avoid this or perish! Plagiarism consists of submitting the statements, ideas, opinions, or findings of another as if they were your own. It is not plagiarism to copy from or paraphrase a source as long as this is acknowledged and the source is properly cited. See the college Catalog for a fuller discussion.
Participation Rubric (6 points total)
Strong work (2)
Needs development (1)
Comments indicated a careful attention to the comments of others
Comments indicated some attentiveness to others.
Comments unrelated to what others said
Quality of contributions
Comments were relevant and reflected an understanding of the text(s) and previous remarks of other students
Comments betrayed a lack of preparation or lack of attention to the remarks of others
(3) The thesis is ambiguous or vague, or a significant aspect of the topic is missing or lacks support.
(2) The thesis displays a limited sense of the issue, or else support is nearly absent.
(1) There is little focus to the paper.
Organization and Expression
(3) The material is presented clearly and concisely; paragraphs are well-ordered and with good transitions; writing is fluent and clear
(2) Three or more problems [awk (awkward construction), WC (word choice), tr (transition), ¶? (paragraph?), TS (topic sentence)]
(1) Five or more problems.
(2) Good use of topic sentences; no errors of spelling, punctuation, or grammar.
(1) Three or more errors [circled misspellings, missing or incorrect punctuation].
(1) The sources used are properly incorporated (quoted/paraphrased) and cited (in-text/bibliography).
(0) See Hacker.
Reading, Presentation, and Discussion Schedule
Wed, Sep 2
Introduction to the class
Fri, Sep 4
Class will meet in the library.
Mon, Sep 7
Reading: Weinberg, “Without God”
Wed, Sep 9
Reading: Attridge, “The Case for Judas”
Fri, Sep 11
Mon, Sep 14
Wed, Sep 16
Fri, Sep 18
Mon, Sep 21
— Camp Mack Day —
Fri, Sep 25 Mon, Sep 28 Wed, Sep 30 Fri, Oct 2 Mon, Oct 5 Wed, Oct 7 Fri, Oct 9 —— Fall Break —— Wed, Oct 14 Fri, Oct 17 Mon, Oct 19 Wed, Oct 21 Fri, Oct 23 Mon, Oct 26 Wed, Oct 28 Fri, Oct 30 Mon, Nov 2 Wed, Nov 4 Fri, Nov 6 Mon, Nov 9 Wed, Nov 11 Fri, Nov 13 Mon, Nov 16 Wed, Nov 18 Fri, Nov 20 Mon, Nov 23 Wed, Nov 25 — Thanksgiving —