Professor Stephen Bluestone
Office: 110B Ware Hall | Telephone: 478-301-4010 | email:
Office Hours: 9:30-10:40 a.m. (T/Th) and by appointment
FYS 101 Fall 2009
English 237 Fall 2009
English 333 Fall 2009
FYS 102 Spring 2009
English 235 Spring 2009
English 382 Spring 2009
FYS 101 Fall 2008
English 237 Fall 2008
English 332 Fall 2008
FYS 102  Spring 2008
English 235 Spring 2008
English 340 Spring 2008
This page is designed to be printed 
Fall 2008
“Composing the Self”

Prof. Stephen Bluestone
Class meets in 103 Willingham (4th hour, as well)
Office:110B Ware Hall
Tel. 478-301-4010; email: Bluestone_SE@Mercer.Edu
Web site:
Office Hours: Tues/Thurs 9:30-10:40 am; and by appt.                            Preceptor: Alice Crisp
Email: Alice.M.Crisp@student,
Tel. 404-409-0984

Available in Mercer College Bookstore:
  • Aristotle, The Nichomachean Ethics
  • Beckett, Samuel, Endgame
  • Conrad, Joseph, The Secret Sharer and Other Stories
  • The New York Times
  • The Little, Brown Handbook
  • Salinger, J. D., The Catcher in the Rye
  • The Mercer Reader
  • Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

Subscriptions to The New York Times will be available through the Mercer Bookstore. Hard copy subscriptions are required. Subscriptions begin on August 23, 2006.

FOURTH HOUR: Tuesday @ 5, 103 Willingham


                        COURSE AIMS AND EXPECTATIONS

The general subject of this seminar is “Composing the Self.” Works studied will include selections of fiction, drama, and philosophy. Additional material may be included on a handout basis. There will also be one class session each week (the extra hour) devoted to a discussion of current events and world culture, based on our reading of The New York Times. Reading and writing assignments will be given on a class-by-class basis. I have found that a seminar format requires flexibility rather than strict adherence to a set plan. So be prepared to be flexible.

1. General participation and attendance (10%). Students are expected to attend every class and actively contribute to discussion. There are no unexcused absences; attendance will be taken at all classes, and the instructor should be notified by e-mail or telephone or in writing if an absence is unavoidable.

Class contribution takes several forms. Students may ask questions at any point during a class; students and teacher may engage in question-and-answer dialogue; the class as a whole may engage in open discussion, sharing ideas and attempting as a group to deepen our understanding of the material. Students should work at participating effectively in all these formats. Class participation will be evaluated on the basis of evidence of preparation and thoughtfulness about the material. The most important criterion, in my view, is whether one’s contribution to class discussion contributes to the learning of others, including myself. I especially encourage students to share their opinions and to back them up. I like vigorous and civilized discussion.

Several outside events will be scheduled. Attendance will be required, and there will be advance notice as to time and place. More about these events in class.

2. Oral presentations (10%) will be made to the class of selected material. These presentations will involve a debate and discussion format (Aristotle) and character point-of-view exercises (Salinger). These presentations will be graded on the basis of understanding of the material, insight, preparation, and effective organization.

3. Written work. Papers (70%). Several critical papers will be assigned on themes and topics to be discussed; one of these papers (the final one, due on the class final exam day) will be a major piece of work between 8-10 pages in length and will involve scholarly research using at least two off-line sources. These papers are to be well organized and thoroughly proofread.

The format of the first sample student paper in The Little, Brown Handbook in the chapter entitled “Two Research Papers in the MLA Style,” is to be followed; bibliographic and “Works Cited” formats are to be found in the chapter entitled “Using MLA Documentation and Format.” Any paper that has not been spell-checked or does not follow format guidelines will receive an automatic “F.” All corrections and editorial changes indicated by the instructor must be made before the next paper is submitted, otherwise the grade on the following paper will be "F." I call this the “Magic Check” process. No exceptions.

All papers submitted for a grade must be kept in a plain tab folder in which each assignment will be placed and handed in with new work. For example, when the second paper is submitted, it must be accompanied in a plain tab folder by the first paper, along with all previous graded work.  All papers are due at the start of class from the author on the specified due date; papers not handed in on time will be penalized one letter grade per day.

4. Other work (10%) will include logs (as assigned) of readings in The New York Times. This work will be collected once a week at the start of the fourth hour, read, graded, and returned. This work will consist of well-written one-paragraph summaries of articles chosen from various sections (options will vary through the semester) of the New York Times.

In addition, from time to time there may be factual quizzes (announced in advance) on reading assignments and material covered in class. It is important that students take careful notes during class discussion.

5. General grading philosophy. Grades on the papers (and in the course) will not necessarily be averaged; much weight will be given to improvement. Each student's written work will be assessed on an individual basis, with emphasis on consistency and the achievement of higher standards as the course proceeds. Periodic evaluations will be made of each student’s contribution to the seminar; see the attached form with this syllabus.

In addition to the assigned work, each student may do extra assignments based on the course reading, campus events (films, plays, concerts, etc.), as well as outside reading. This work will be read and graded and included in the above-mentioned folder. Thus, much work in this seminar may well be individually generated. I call this process making the case for the “A.”

Note: it is course policy that all assigned work (papers, quizzes, exams, etc.) must be completed in order for a student to pass the course.

Further note: An optional final exam is available for those who select it. In my opinion, only those students who feel they are between grades should select this option. The grade on this exam will be used to determine which of two grades (higher or lower) the student will receive.

Another note: the averaging method may be elected by a student if that student so chooses; this must be done at the start of the course. Notify me within a week of the start of the semester. After one week, there can be no changes in the grading system.

6.  The Mercer Honor Code is in effect at all times in this course. The consequences of violating this code are serious, and all students should be aware of this.

7. The in-progress evaluation form is attached to this syllabus.

Students with a documented disability should inform the instructor at the close of the first class meeting or as soon as possible.  If you are not registered with Disability Services, the instructor will refer you to the Student Support Services office for consultation regarding documentation of your disability and eligibility for accommodations under the ADA/504.  In order to receive accommodations, eligible students must provide each instructor with a Faculty Accommodation Form from Disability Services.  Students must return the completed and signed form to the

Disability Services office on the 3rd floor of the Connell Student Center.  Students with a documented disability who do not wish to use accommodations are strongly encouraged to register with Disability Services and complete a Faculty Accommodation Form each semester.  For further information please contact Disability Services at 301-2778 or visit the web site at











                         FYS 101 IN-PROGRESS SEMINAR EVALUATION


This form is to give you feedback on your classroom performance in FYS 101. The goal of this evaluation is to help you do well in FYS 101. Two categories will be evaluated: (1) evidence of preparation for class (not just whether you did the reading assignment, but whether you show knowledge of it and thoughtfulness about it) and (2) your contribution during discussion to the learning of others (this includes, but is not limited to, your willingness to state positions and defend them, to follow up your statements and opinions with clarifications and explanations, and to raise the intellectual level of classroom exchange). Performance on The New York Times assignments will also be entered.


Unexcused absences will also be recorded. (Note that an unexcused absence will result in an “F” for the evaluation period; this includes absences from the fourth hour, as well.)

















It goes without saying that the Mercer Honor Code is in effect at all times in this course.