Assignments & Grading


The assignments in this course are structured to bring the 1980s to life in order for you to grasp the magnitude of the events, people, and places of that decade in the production of what we imagine to be “America.” In-class participation, quizzes, and a course field trip will help keep you on top of your assigned readings and the meanings within, while the Facebook posts will allow you to do your own research further into our readings and engage in conversation beyond the classroom. A final exam and Wikipedia contribution will help you to put together the impact of the decade both as a whole and then in researching a key event, person, film, artwork, or artist from the era and sharing that knowledge with the public. Two TAs, Emma Durgin and Jenna Gershman, will help with grading, co-post on Facebook, and offer study sessions for the exam.

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, timeliness, and contributions made in class, all 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 13th

Facebook Posts (20%): 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 is “Like” as you will and keep the conversation going!

  • The first Fb post and comments will be due the week of September 18th.
  • Posts are due every Monday by 9:30 a.m.
  • Two comments are due every Wednesday by 9:30 a.m.

Pop Quizzes & Prepared Quizzes (20% total): You will have a series of pop quizzes throughout the semester as well as two quizzes with prepared assignments. A pop quiz means the content is unknown in advance; a prepared quiz means you will be given the assignment in advance and then asked an essay question about that material. The two prepared quizzes will focus on 1980s film culture and art and artists.

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 11th at 5 p.m. via email.

Final Exam (25%): 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! The exam is on December 15th 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.



Students of Trinity College are held to the Student Integrity Contract, which can be found in full in the Student Handbook. Your work will be graded according to the rubric designed by your instructor. Cheating and plagiarizing will be dealt with according to university guidelines. Respect and responsibility are core to your life as a Trinity student—enjoy applying, developing, and even honing them in our time in this course. If you have a documented disability and have been approved for academic accommodations, please present your accommodations letter privately during the instructor’s office hours over the first two weeks of the semester. If you do not have a letter, but have a disability requiring academic accommodations, or have questions about applying for accommodations, please contact Lori Clapis, Disability Coordinator.



  • Moffitt, Kimberly R, and Duncan A Campbell, eds. 2011. The 1980s: A Critical and Transitional Decade. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books.
  • Kushner, Tony. 1995. Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. New York: Theatre Communications Group.
  • Molesworth, Helen. 2012. This Will Have Been: Art, Love, and Politics in the 1980s. Chicago, IL; New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
  • Course packet. Pick up from Seabury T-407 (Veronica Zuniga) after September 15th.



The website can be found at The Facebook page will afford a space for constant, brief conversations and idea sharing, while the WordPress site will be a space to record and share your papers and contributions to the course timeline. For more on WordPress, see the course page for how to make a post, navigate the dashboard, add media, make a comment, etc. Learning new technology as you share work is an incredible skill for internships, jobs, and graduate school—jump in! Finally, you will learn the JSTimeline code, giving you some experience worth bragging about in cutting-edge collaborative, participatory technology.