Participation (10%)

This course is not a lecture but a seminar: you are expected to do all readings, elaborate questions about the texts and their contexts, and actively participate in class discussions. Your participation grade will be affected by your attendance, punctuality to class, and above all by your active engagement in class discussions.

Oral presentations (10%)

You will do one “kickoff” presentation (10-15 min) and two keyword presentations (5 min) throghout the semester. The kickoff—a football metaphor—implies that the presenter is responsible for getting the game started. Ths type of presentation does not require you to provide historical or biographical information culled from Wikipedia, and does not require any Power Point. Instead, the kickoff presentation requires a careful and detailed reading of the work, and should offer a brief critical commentary as well as mapping out a number of key topics and questions for class discussión. The presenter will then lead class discussion for another 10-15 minutes. Keyword presentations are brief, casual and conversational presentations on keywords suggested by the professor every week.

Response Papers (30%)

Every week you will write a response paper based on the readings. Response papers should not be summaries nor mere paraphrases. They need not inform the reader (in this case, the seminar participants) of things we could all glean from the readings, but situating them within their historical, intellectual or polemical context, could be useful. Response papers should present a critical and dialectical engagement with the texts, which could mean clarifying a concept or notion, fleshing out implicit ideas or presuppositions, reconstructing, analyzing or debunking an argument, drawing consequences or exposing what remains unsaid in the text. Your response should focus on passages, concepts or ideas that intrigued you. Particularly fruitful are perplexing or seemingly enigmatic formulations, dense passages, conceptual turns, but also moments of dissonance or inconsistencies.

Your oral presentation hand-out counts as a response paper, and you can skip one, for a total of ten. From these, you must choose (and indicate at the time of handing them in) five response papers to be graded.

Extension: one page, single-spaced.

Midterm Exam-Commentary (20%)

The midterm exam will gauge your familiarity with the works read during the first half of the semester as well as your critical acumen as an interpreter of theoretical texts. You will choose one from among three passages and write a critical-philosophical commentary on the text. The commentary should begin by framing the passage within the general argument of the work, gauging its relative significance in relation to it, and providing any crucial information omitted from the passage in question. You should then begin a systematic exposition of the passage, fleshing out tacit or implied arguments, filling in all lacunae or elisions, and clarifying all relevant notions, concepts or key terms.

This is an open-book take-home exam.

Extension: three to four pages, single-spaced.

Final Paper (30%)