FSEM100.23       When Women Ruled Russia Fall Semester 2010
Professor Paul Steeves Monday and Wednesday  12:00-1:15 p.m.
Office: 310 Elizabeth Office Hours: 9:45 daily and by appointment
e-mail: psteeves@stetson.edu  Please do not hesitate to send e-mail messages.  But be sure ALWAYS to begin the subject line with "100.23"; if the "100.23" is not there, your message could  be lost. telephone: (O) 822 7538
(H) 734 0061

This is the official syllabus for the course.

The subjects covered in it are the following:

Course Content
Course Format
Active Participation
Academic Integrity
Special Needs
Links to:

Calendar of Assignments 
On Rewriting

Course Content:  In this class we will be analyzing an unusual period in the history of Russia. Almost continually for 70 years, from 1725 to 1796, the supreme authority in Russia was held by five women, the most famous of whom was Catherine the Great. During this time Russia's identity changed very much, both externally, in terms of territorial expansion and its role in European affairs, and internally, as it absorbed modern values imported from the West. These changes had both negative and positive aspects. In this period Russia became a major European power. It also changed domestically by incorporating European standards into an established Slavic tradition.

This course deals with much more than the politics of female rule. We must look at the experience of women who were not ruling, both nobles and commoners. We will access that experience through literature, painting, religion, music, and memoirs.

Course Format:  This course is a "First Year Seminar."  Here is how FSEM courses are described at Stetson's web site (http://www.stetson.edu/firstyear/fyseminar.php):  "Working closely with select Stetson faculty to explore a single topic, students will learn how to join an intellectual conversation at a significantly higher level than they have been accustomed to in high school. Entering students will be able to join an academic community of thinkers, learners and researchers who are committed to maintaining the rigors and rewards most typically associated with a liberal arts education. Through their active participation in the First Year Seminar Program, first-year students will acquire the skills necessary for success in college and, therefore, life."

The word "seminar" carries the connotations of a class that does not have lectures given by a professor; that does not have examinations to assess content learned; that requires a great deal of oral discussion by the students; that expects collegial coopration among students and with professor; and that is "writing-intensive," including the creation of at least one substantial research paper.

Texts: In order to minimize expense, the content in this course will be based on sources that are available on-line (see Calendar of Assignments).  The only  "textbook" for this class is the Guide to Writing at Stetson University, which is required in most First Year Seminars.

Grading in this course: At the end of the semester the instructor assigns the student a grade that indicates the instructor's evaluation of what the student has achieved in the class, based on the standard of Stetson University's definition of grades:

"Grades . . . represent the instructor's final estimate of the student's performance in a course. The grade of A (+ or -) may be interpreted to mean that the instructor recognizes exceptional capacity and exceptional performance. The grade of B (+ or -) signifies that the student has gained a significantly more effective command of material than is generally expected in the course. The grade of C or C+ is the instructor's certification that the student has demonstrated the required mastery of the material." (Stetson University Bulletin, 2008-2009, p. 37).
In its most natural interpretation, this statement means that C is the grade that students should expect to earn for fulfilling the course requirements. To merit a higher grade, the student will take the initiative to find and master more material than is required formally and to show evidence of doing extraordinary work. That something extra could include active intellectual curiosity in class, helpfulness toward other students, demonstration of such things as understanding alternative interpretations of questions addressed by the seminar, acute critical thinking, and creative perspectives on concepts.

Your semester grade will reflect the instructor's evaluation of the following requirements in this seminar:
            Active participation in class discussion (35%)
            Writing assignments and exercises (35%)
            Research paper (seven steps) (20%)
            Debate (10%)

Active participation:  To be a diligent participant you must attend class regularly, be prepared when you arrive, pay attention, raise questions, and interact critically and respectfully with the opinions of your colleagues and instructor.

Attendance.  Attending class regularly is absolutely necessary because participation is an important part of your grade. Under ordinary circumstances, a student with four absences will fail the course. At Stetson University there are no "excused" absences. If you miss a class, it would be to your advantage to explain to the instructor why you were absent (an e-mail message will be appreciated).

Classroom Etiquette:  Acceptable participation in this class means that all participants will be expected to conduct themselves in ways that are appropriate to the academic environment and are respectful to colleagues. Respect for the academic process includes the following basics:  Participants arrive for class by the announced start time and they are prepared to talk intelligently about the topics of the scheduled readings; participants dress in a way appropriate for an academic venue (i.e., not for intramural sports or the beach, etc.); participants will not exit from the group (in the absence of real emergency) before the session has concluded by mutual consent.  Electronics:  Use of electronic devices is not permitted in the classroom. Exceptions are granted in cases of a documented ADA or analogous provision; in addition, if there is a circumstance where receipt of an emergency telephone communication might be expected, the following steps will be accepted: (1) give the instructor a statement indicating briefly why an emergency notice may be expected; (2) set the cell phone to signal by vibration only; (3) sit near the door; (4) immediately leave the room to take the call if it arrives.

Writing Exercises:  Instructions for writing assignments are given in the Calendar of Assignments.  All writing assignments in this class are to be submitted in hard copy in double-spaced printout.  The information in the essay must be documented in a proper format. No late papers will be accepted. No extensions of deadlines will be granted.

After papers have been graded and returned, students may rewrite them for resubmission and regrading; for information, consult "On Rewriting." For help in writing your essays, consult the Guide to Writing at Stetson.

Academic Integrity: Stetson students are expected to help each other with their studies. This means that they should review the materials of the class together, share their research efforts, and proofread each others' papers. But the work that is submitted must be the student's own. Any violation of this expectation is a serious infringement of academic ethics and will be handled with severity. It is also imperative that students not do things which would interfere with others' successful completion of assignments; this aspect of academic cooperation pertains especially to libraries and computer labs.

The student must be careful not to commit a violation of academic integrity or even to appear to do so. The minimum penalty for violation will be a failing grade for all work in the course up to the time of the violation. Violations also will be reported to the Stetson University Honor Council. The standards of academic integrity expected of Stetson students are stated in the Honor Code.

Special Needs:  If you anticipate barriers related to the format or requirements of this course, please meet with the instructor so that we can discuss ways to ensure your full participation in the course. If you determine that disability-related accommodations are necessary, please register with the Academic Resources Center (822-7127; www.stetson.edu/arc) and notify the instructor of your eligibility for reasonable accommodations. We can then plan how best to coordinate your accommodations.

Calendar of Assignments. This calendar states the assignments for each class meeting.

The Academic Resources Center at Stetson University posts at this link a good number of files that address important matters for academic success:  Stress Management; Time Management; Test Anxiety; Reading Strategies; and a lot more. Check them out.

Notice:  General Education Assessment, Informed Consent: In order to assure that Stetson University is meeting its goals in providing an excellent General Education, the College has established specific General Education Learning Outcomes for all courses meeting a particular area requirement in the General Education curriculum. To monitor how well students are meeting those outcomes, instructors of those courses regularly submit work to the committees assessing each outcome. While the outcomes of these assessments are primarily for our internal use in monitoring and enhancing our curriculum, we may occasionally report the results of these assessments in published research or academic conferences. All such reports will include aggregate (not individual) data and will not include information that could identify the student or the instructor. While the use of this information within the institution is part of normal educational practice, you may choose not to allow data derived from your own work to be used for published reports or presentations by signing an “opt out” form in the Registrar’s office.