A Response Paper is a short informal paper (equivalent of 2 – 2 ½ typed double-spaced pages)
written about the required readings due in a particular week. They are designed to make class
discussions more interesting, to hone critical reading and writing skills, and to provide students
with a space in which to develop their own analysis of the materials (which can then be used as a
basis for methods/theory/analysis in other assignments). Ultimately, RPs provide students with
their own texts to use in class discussion/work and empower students to be more engaged in
participation. To this end, absolutely no materials from outside of the course may be used.
Response Papers will not be graded for spelling or writing style. Students may choose which
weeks they wish to write Response Papers; however, RPs are due at the beginning of the class on
the day that the material is due. Students who are absent may not make-up a RP that they
have missed. Once we have discussed the material, the opportunity to write about it in a RP has
passed. I will provide comments and feedback on the first RP. Subsequent papers will be
collected in order to note that they have adequately met the assignment requirements and
returned without comments to students. Response Papers marked “unacceptable” will not count
as part of the grade for this assignment and may not be re-written. Email attachments will not be
accepted. The Course Director does, however, reserve the right to require a student to submit a
pdf of an individual assignment via email, should the need for one arise.
*Please Note: A RP that is in violation of Academic Integrity policies may not be redone or
made-up, so that the student forfeits the grade for one of the RPs due that term in addition to the
penalties meted-out by the Department. This means that if a RP is found in violation the student
may get credit for a maximum of only 3/4 RPs due that term. Moreover, in addition to other
sanctions, a penalty of AT LEAST one half-letter grade will be deducted from the grade
earned for Participation.
Specific Requirements
– A Response Paper does not re-tell the “story” in the material but it does identify some of
the main ideas as well as the relationships of these ideas to course themes/issues and to
other course materials.
– The Response Paper should normally address the longer readings if there are several
readings for one class, or address several of the smaller readings rather than just one of
– Where appropriate, students may choose to “talk back” to the text(s) in their critical
analysis. They should consult the “Who Benefits?” Questions attached to the syllabus to
see if any of these are helpful in formulating their analysis for the Response Papers.
Sometimes they may not.
– A Response Paper may include links between the material and a student’s specific
experience, and/or links between the material and current events or popular culture although this should not constitute the main discussion of the paper.
– Response Papers are not required in formal writing format and will not be evaluated
according to spelling, grammar or writing style. They may be hand written; however,
they must use legible and complete sentences and be the equivalent of 2 – 2 ½ typed,
double-spaced pages.
– Response Papers are comprised solely of the student’s own analysis/work. Students may
not use any texts/materials from outside of the course (including online materials)
under any circumstances.
Response Papers will be “accepted” if they conform to the above guidelines. These will be
returned with a check mark and the instructor’s initials. Response Papers marked “unacceptable”
may not be re-written and will not count toward fulfilling the number required that term.

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