Assignments & Grading 2016


All papers must be double-spaced in Times New Roman font with 1” margins, using Harvard or Chicago citation format. All papers must be printed out and handed in at the beginning of class. If you are late the day a paper is due, your paper is also late. Print early!

Class Participation & Attendance (20%): Our class environment requires your active participation in order to produce a lively, focused, and productive classroom experience for you and all of your peers. Participation will be determined by attendance and contributions made in class, which are a major component of your grade. No screens allowed.

Initial Reflections (5%): This brief initial paper (2-3 pages, or around ~450-550 words) is to help gauge your understanding of and imagination about our period of study, including references from three trusted news sources. Due in class on September 12th & post to Wp site.

Facebook Posts (15%): This assignment affords us a shared everyday space to embrace and analyze the culture of the 1980s, all the while being able to share and comment on the exciting array of content that became available in that period. Our Facebook page can be found at “Like” as you will and keep the conversation going!

  • The first Fb post and comments will be due the week of September 19th.
  • Posts are due every Monday by 9:30 a.m.
  • Two comments are due every Wednesday by 9:30 a.m.

Two Short Writing Assignments (15% each): Through two short writing assignments, you will develop your abilities to express yourselves and begin to gain mastery over some of the different materials we work with as American Studies scholars. Each at a length of 3-4 pages, i.e. 750 to 850 words including references.

  • Analyzing 1980s Film Culture – You will research reviews and responses to two major 1980s films and compare them to describe how they served to frame and define gender, sexuality, and race for that period. Due in class on October 31st & post to Wp site.
  • Political Reading of a 1980s Artwork – After selecting an artist from the “This Will Have Been” show, you will research the cultural and political history of the moment of that art as well as the life of the artist. Due in class on November 30th & post to Wp site.

Wikipedia contribution (5%): The role of a critically engaged citizen requires the production of public scholarship and knowledge. As such, the work you have created must also be shared with broader audiences for their education as well. In the culmination to this course, you are required to make a substantive contribution to Wikipedia on a relevant entry to your research this semester. Due December 12th at noon via email.

Final Exam (20%): The final exam will include multiple choice and fill-in questions, short answers, and longer essay questions, all drawn from in-class readings, et al, as well as your class notes. Pay attention and do the reading! Exam is on December 16th at noon.

Field Trip (5%): While the 1980s was an era of family car trips, it was also filled with many journeys of the imagination, especially for children in front of their TVs and Nintendos, fueled by popular sugar cereals. One Saturday morning, you will dress in a 1980s outfit of your design, and spend the time experiencing 1980s Saturday morning culture on campus.