The work for this course will be divided as follows (and please note that I will be posting more specific assignments for each of these categories as the semester progresses):
I. Participation (15%). A seminar is, at its heart, a social gathering that produces and relies on informed conversation. We learn from saying what is on our mind and listening to how others respond to those ideas. Participants in this seminar should come to every class prepared to discuss the week’s readings, participate in the activities we have planned, and otherwise contribute to the learning of the group.
II. Seminar Presentation (15%) Each student will work in a small group to present on a collection (a museum, archive, or other formal grouping of objects).
III. Course Blogging (20%). Students will contribute regular assigned posts to our course blog, npobjects.wordpress.com. (Please see the schedule for writing prompts, which will be updated over the course of the term). We will use this blog to extend conversations outside of the classroom that begin in seminar, to explore key readings and ideas within the course, and to share work in progress over the course of the term. Think of this as an essay assignment that you are writing incrementally, devoting the work and thought to it that would any other writing assignment. Also, please observe the following give-and-take guideline: every time you post your own work to the blog, offer at least two comments on someone else’s work. Blog posts for Wednesday class meetings will be due by 5:00 p.m., the Tuesday before our class.
IV. Collaborative History Project (25%). Each member of our seminar will contribute to an ongoing project that tells the history of New Paltz through objects. We will present our findings to the campus and New Paltz community in our end-of-term class celebration on Wednesday, May 13th at 9:30 a.m.
V. Final Project (25%). Your final project will focus on an object, either of historical significance, or from everyday life, and trace its development and history through time. By midterm you will develop a proposal for your project, which can be a traditional essay, a digital project, a creative piece, or some combination of these. It is my hope that this project will somehow intersect with your honors thesis work, though this is not a requirement.