The Observed Life: Gossip, Secrecy, and the Circulation of Social Knowledge


Attendance and Participation
Regular attendance and active participation are essential.  Plan to attend every class meeting and to arrive on time, especially when we have guests visiting the class. If an absence is unavoidable, it is your responsibility to obtain any materials, notes, and instructions that you have missed.

For a classroom to be truly collaborative, everyone must feel comfortable expressing his or her ideas. We need to respond to each other with respect, even if we do not agree.

From the second week of the semester, you are required to produce a weekly blog post. Each post should be the result of 15-20 minutes of concentrated thinking and writing or at least one paragraph long (approx. 200 words). Make sure that your post is timely: that it reflects critically on a recent or future reading, draws connections to previous discussions and readings or comment constructively on someone else’s post. You will not receive credit if your post recapitulates thinking that has already been done, either in class or elsewhere on the class blog.

I will read your posts at least once a week. I may also refer to posts during class meetings and you should feel free to do the same.

Nancy Foasberg, the Humanities librarian who will be working with you on your Honors Essays, will also be responding on the class blog, when appropriate. Please may sure to read her advice and follow her instructions carefully.

I will arrange one-on-one conferences a couple of times during the semester, one to discuss your prospectus draft and one to discuss your essay draft in progress. If you must reschedule a conference, please let me know 24 hours in advance. Otherwise, I cannot guarantee that the conference can be rescheduled.

Plagiarism is a serious offence. See the Queens College Handbook if you’re unclear about what constitutes plagiarism. (It can be found at If you plagiarize once, you will receive an “F” on your paper or writing assignment (online or on paper) with no option for revision. If you plagiarize more than once, you will fail the course. There are no exceptions.

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