Hi everyone: My name is Gisele Baxter; some of you already know me from other classes. I’m the Faculty Sponsor for this course and so am responsible for grading your term papers/projects. I’ve been at UBC since the dawn of time 1997, teaching sessionally in the English Department; my teaching/research interests include 20th/21st century literary and cultural studies, pop culture, near-future dystopias, children’s literature, the Gothic inheritance, gender studies, and composition (academic and technical writing).
I want to establish some basic guidelines for the term paper/project, so that it can be evaluated fairly and so that it will enable the course to meet the standards of an honours-level seminar. I’d like some feedback, and any questions or suggestions you might have, so I’m posting the material below, and am happy to field questions either online or perhaps via a visit to class (that was supposed to happen much earlier in term but various elements of the unforeseen intervened).
The topic of your paper will be up to you to develop, with the broad guideline that it should engage with issues/texts relevant to the concerns/approach of the course. Beyond that, there are some considerations given that this is a senior seminar: all papers should be 8-12 double-spaced pages in length, should employ at least four secondary sources (in other words, should have a strong research component and go beyond just close textual reading), should employ some recognizable and relevant critical/theoretical framework (i.e. should go beyond “different but similar” comparisons or subjective responses) should use MLA documentation/citation, and should be technically proficient (i.e. should be revised and proofread thoroughly before submission). That still leaves a lot of flexibility: you might choose to pursue cross-disciplinary/multi-disciplinary approaches, incorporation of visual/multimedia material, some subjective situation as the writer (of the sort normally discouraged in academic writing), etc. I’m happy with collaborative projects so long as the collaborators are happy with getting each the same grade; in such cases the paper would be 12-16 pages long and would require at least six secondary sources.
Any questions/suggestions? Post them here as comments (I am very comfortable with online discussion), or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org; my office is Buchanan Tower 427 (poster for this course and Darth Vader postcard on the door), and my office hours are MWF 10-10:50 a.m. and by appointment.
All best, Gisele Baxter.