Class Policies & Expectations

Attendance & Participation: You must be present in class, both physically and mentally, with readings and assignments completed. If you’re not present, you won’t learn all of the information – from me and from your classmates – that you’ll need to succeed in this course. Be respectful of your peers’ ideas even (especially!) in critique; all students should feel comfortable exploring new ways of thinking in an environment that is safe and adventurous. Even if new ideas make you uncomfortable or angry (and since we learn about systemic injustice, some of them ought to), you’ll engage them openly and actively.

This is an upper-level seminar, which means it’s based on discussion, and also that discussion should not start solely with me. One way to measure our success as a group and for me to evaluate your learning is if you talk more than I do. While I know that not everyone is eager to participate in discussion, we really do all learn more when many people talk. If you have a question, no matter how small, someone else is also likely to have it, and your comments are important to other people’s learning. To earn participation credit, you must ask substantive questions and make substantive comments or attend office hours appointments several times a semester. Excessive unexcused absences (i.e. more than two) or frequent lateness will lower your final grade, and will deprive the rest of us of your wisdom (really and truly).

To avoid distracting yourself and others (and me!), you must put away your cell phone/device before class (the only one allowed out is mine, airplane moded, for timekeeping); if you need to have access to your phone for some reason, talk to me ahead of time. If a phone rings or buzzes during class or if you are texting, we’ll laugh and I’ll ask its owner to turn it off. If it happens again, I’ll take it for the duration. You may absolutely use laptops/tablets for taking notes and looking at readings, but not for texting or Facebooking. (Hat tip to Ryan Cordell)

CUNY Deadlines: You should be familiar with all CUNY (and Queens College) deadlines: Please also check your QC email regularly, as that is how the college gets in touch with you; you can also set it to forward to another email address.


Grammar: Proper grammar is a loaded topic. On the one hand, ideas of what constitutes proper grammar are often elitist, classist, and racist. On the other, wielding grammar fluently will help you into certain conversations and will help readers understand you. In your writing for me, you should be careful to avoid fragments, run-ons, and passively-voiced phrases, all common errors that will obscure your meaning and make it seem as though you haven’t edited your work.

Plagiarism & Academic Integrity: Plagiarism – the use of someone else’s ideas without proper attribution – is a serious academic offense, and I have a zero tolerance policy. If you use someone’s work without quotation marks (for exact words) and without both in-text citation and Works Cited, you will automatically fail the assignment, and potentially the course. You may also incur college discipline: see CUNY’s policy ( Writing at Queens offers advice on how to avoid plagiarism (

Self-Care: If you are feeling overly stressed at any point, please visit the Counseling and Resource Center (first floor of Frese Hall). You can set up a session by calling (718) 997-5420. Health Services is on the third floor of Frese: (718) 997-2760 or The Office of Student Services is in Kiely 206: (718) 997-5573 or I am also always  happy to chat with you about anything affecting your life or academic work.

As an educator, I fully support the rights of undocumented students to an education and to live free from the fear of deportation. If you have any concerns in that regard, feel free to discuss them with me, and I will respect your wishes concerning confidentiality. Furthermore, I am committed to resisting any and all attacks on immigrants, including threats of deportation

Universal Learning & Accommodations: In the spirit of Universal Learning, I work to build and maintain an equitable environment that’s conducive to learning for all. I ask that we all use inclusive language in all discussion and work: this means being attentive to and respectful of gender, race, origin, sexuality, and socioeconomic status. (I encourage you to use the singular “they” in place of the generic “he;” the latter erases women and non-binary folks.) If you have a need for accommodation, please inform me after the second class with paperwork from the Office of Special Services (Kiely 171; (718) 997-5870). (Hat tip to Cynthia Lewiecki-Wilson)

Writing Center: Located in Kiely 229, the Writing Center is staffed by tutors trained to help you revise your writing at various stages. They offer individual, in-person tutoring Mon-Th: 10 am-2 pm and 3-8 pm; F: 10 am-1 pm; and Sat: 10 am-2 pm. If you think you need extra help, or if I ask you to set up a regular session, you should make an appointment now at least one month prior to a due date. You may also submit work online via their e-tutoring option, available 24/7. Call (718) 997-5676 or visit