Assignments and Grading

Summaries and Questions [SQ]


Discussion Leading [DL]


Discussion Responses [DR]


Analytical Essays [AE]


Self Study Writing Assignments [SS]


Midterm Exam 1


Final Writing Assignment








Final Grade Values
1000 Points Possible

920 to 1000 = A

         900 to 919 = A-

880 to 899 = B+

820 to 879 = B

800 to 819 = B-

780 to 799 = C+


720 to 779 = C

700 to 719 = C-

680 to 699 = D+

620 to 679 = D

600 to 619 = D-

599 & below = F


Track your progress on Blackboard


My Office Hours: Fridays 11:00 to Noon

Descriptions of Assignments


Discussion Questions: Each student will co-direct a discussion session in class, each time in cooperation with two other student respondents.  I will assign the dates and the specific students for each discussion.  The two students should come up with four discussions questions (two each) and consult with each other in advance to be sure that the questions are sufficiently different and that together they should generate a comprehensive discussion of the reading assignment(s) for that day.  After completing the questions, one of the two students should compile them into a single document.  That document must be sent to me via email by 5:00 PM, two days before the class discussion.  I will approve the questions or suggest alterations.  The final list of four questions should be posted as one document on the discussion board by 8:00 PM the evening before the discussion.  List each pair of questions under the name of the discussion leader who wrote them.  Each student should then write responses to his or her own two questions.  Those responses should be at least one substantial paragraph each.  Do not post these responses but bring a printed copy to class.  At the end of class on the day of the discussion, one of the two students should give me a paper copy of the four questions along with the responses from both students.

Š      Any of the following will result in a 10 point reduction each: late submission of the questions for my approval, late posting of the questions on the question board, late submission of the responses.

Š      If a student does not show up in class to lead a discussion, s/he receives no points for the assignment, a 10 point reduction from the participation score, and an undocumented absence.

Š      For a good explanation of how to compose a good discussion question, go to


Discussion Responses:  I will assign a date for each student to act as respondent, in cooperation with another student.  Each time, students will compose written responses of no less than one full paragraph for each of the four posted questions.  These responses should be submitted to me on the day of the discussion, at the end of class.  No need to post the responses.  Late responses will not be accepted.

Š      Any of the following will result in a 10 point reduction: late posting of the questions on the question board.

Š      If a student does not show up in class to act as respondent, s/he receives no points for the assignment, a 20 point reduction from the basic participation score, and an undocumented absence.


Analytical Essays: The paper counts for 40% of the total grade.  It is an opportunity to develop your knowledge and thinking about a focused topic concerning possession, divine madness, or ecstatic states in South Asia. I also ask you to bring in at least two different approaches to your


Exams: The two in-class exams give you the opportunity to show your knowledge of the content of the course readings and lectures, and to apply their theoretical aspects to case studies that we have studied in class.


Class Policies

Participation” means (1) wakeful presence, (2) preparation of reading assignments, (3) active involvement in class interactions, (4) punctual arrival at the beginning of class, (5) having the assigned text and/or printed article in hand (running out of pay-for-print does not justify coming without the text), and (6) completion of all in-class writing assignments, (7) keeping of any appointments made outside of class.  Lack of any of these will affect the grade, excessive lack is reason for dismissal from the class. Participation will be evaluated after the last class before Spring Recess and at the end of the class.  For this purpose there will be two participation scores.

Attendance is required, though I will allow three free days-off during the semester.  Without regular attendance, students do not tend to do well in the class.  A note from a doctor, dentist, coach, or funeral director will render any absence excused.  The note is due to me within one week of the absence.  Without such a note, of after the one week period, the absence will not be excused.  Please note that a phone call or email message saying that you are ill is not sufficient, nor is a note from the health center confirming an appointment. Leaving class early will result in an absence.  Each unexcused absence results in a 20 point reduction from the final score. 

Website, Online Syllabus, and Computer Failure. 
This online syllabus can be accessed through the Blackboard course page but I recommend that you bookmark it so as to bypass BB when it goes down.  Computer failure is not a valid excuse for a late assignment.  Broken or unreliable computer?  Use the computers at the college.  The syllabus is my best projection of how our time will be organized.  I might alter the assignment schedule as appropriate or necessary, but I will not change the grading policies.

Academic dishonesty
in any form -- including plagiarism of self or others, falsified documentation of a doctor
s note, etc. -- will not be tolerated.  Cheating of any kind results, without exception, in an F” for the course.

Food in class:
Class is not the place to have a meal.  Very quiet snacks are acceptable.

Electronics in the class: 


Š      Use of cell phones and smart phones is not allowed in the classroom at any times (please turn them off at the beginning of each class period).  Anyone who is seen texting will be asked to leave the classroom and will be counted as absent for that day.  Continued use is grounds for dismissal from the class.

Š      Use of computers and readers is not allowed in the classroom at any time, unless the student is authorized through student services to use one as a result of a disability.  The reason for this policy is the widespread misuse of computers in class when allowed.  The reduced cost in using downloaded texts does not outweigh this problem; plus it is important for students to be able to make notes and marks in their texts.

Email:  Please Note


Š      Students are responsible for checking the online syllabus and their email every day.  I will announce any and all changes via email -- e.g., a changed deadline or altered reading assignment.

Š      I do not accept any assignments by email unless I have indicated in the syllabus that the assignment should be sent by email, or we have made prior arrangements.