Two students are assigned each week to help lead the discussion. Everyone else must (and the discussion leaders may, but are not required to) write a response paper on the readings. The response papers must be circulated to the entire class at least three hours before the class meets (i.e. the night before or early in the morning of class) by email.
The response papers (3-5 pp.) are of the following alternative forms (1) understanding; (2) application; (3) extension:
- Select a passage from the reading that strikes you as puzzling or jargon ridden. Rewrite the passage as best you can in your own words. Analyze what your version does better and what it fails to capture of the original. The goal is to identify the stakes of the arguments, historical or social perspectives of the author(s), and the degree to which arguments are specific to their contexts or generalizable.
- Find an item in the newspaper or current journal that relates to the week's reading. Apply the analysis of the week's reading to the current item.
- Take your own current intellectual research project, or experiences you have had in a lab or work situation, and creatively apply the week's reading to it; do this iteratively with different weeks' readings to gain a multiple theoretical perspective on your project.