University of Central Florida

HUM 4933 & REL 4910

Humanities & Religious Studies Senior Research Seminar

Instructor: Bruce Janz

Term: Spring 2010

Time: Mondays 6-8:50

Room: CL1 309

Phone: 407-823-2273

Credits: 3

Course Page & Resource Page: http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~janzb/courses/

Section: 0001 Course Number: HUM: 11269; REL: 11270

Office Hours: Click here

Office: Department of Philosophy, Psychology Building223

 Email: janzb@mail.ucf.edu

The Fine (But Important) Print

This is the capstone seminar for the Humanities and Religious Studies majors. It is a capstone course, which means that it serves as a culmination of the undergraduate program. It is a seminar, which means that it will be participatory. Students will be expected to lead discussions on texts and topics in the course. We will be using a central theme, that of meaningful space, to consider the ways in which the humanities and religious studies can be used to understand and work within central issues of our time.

Required Texts:

  1. Tacita Dean & Jeremy Millar, Art Works: Place. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2005.

  2. Susan Herrington, On Landscape (Thinking in Action series). New York: Routledge, 2009.

  3. Papers and other assigned readings.

Requirements (see General Comments on Grading for more info):

CLASS FORMAT: The students in this course will be divided into subgroups, or cohorts, and as much as possible humanities and religious studies students will be in separate groups. Seminar presentations will be made in the subgroup; work-in-progress presentations will be made to the entire class. Part of each class will involve students working in their seminar groups, and part will be together as a full class. The intention is for students to discuss the material in the groups and then bring it to the full class for further discussion.


PARTICIPATION (5%, Assessed at the end of the term): Seminars cannot work without attendance, advance preparation of the participants, and engagement during the class. This grade will be a combination of these factors. NOTE: Missing more than two classes is not recommended, and I will reserve the right to drop a student’s final grade if that student has missed more than two classes. Remember, missing one class is the same as missing an entire week of the term. This supercedes what is in the Fine Print (see below).


SEMINAR PRESENTATION (15% (presentation) + 10% (responses), Due in different weeks, depending on the sign-up schedule): Each student is responsible for leading one discussion during the term. The schedule will be determined early in the term. This presentation will involve summarizing and clarifying the week’s assigned readings for the class, and coming up with discussion questions that can lead the seminar group, and contribute to the entire class. Students will be expected to go past the paper or papers that were assigned, to look at other scholarly work that will help to contextualize, understand, or critique the material in question. A handout will be required, which summarizes the presentation. Please see “How to Lead a Seminar” on the courses page for more information on this.


Other students in the seminar groups will provide written responses on the seminar, and you will have to put your handouts up on the wiki as well. The responses from others in the group will consist of both an assessment of the presentation style and comprehensiveness itself, and also a response to the positions in the week’s readings. There will be forms available for this. The 10% grade is based on the total number of responses in each subgroup over the term.


There is a wiki for each group (http://srs09-5.pbworks.com/). For more on wikis, see "How to Work with Wikis". The handout that is distributed should also be put up as a page on the wiki. Everyone in the class will have access to all wikis, but only the people in your group will be able to edit the wiki for your group. So, all presentation notes will be available to everyone.


PROSPECTUS with ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY (15%, Due: Feb. 22): A prospectus is a summary of what you intend to research and write about. It should be no more than 300 words, and needs to include an annotated bibliography of at least 10 scholarly sources (the word count of the bibliography is not part of the 300 words). It will be important to identify and generate a good question in the humanities or religious studies (that is, tell the difference between a question belonging to these disciplines and other kinds of questions), and give a clear idea on how you are going to address the question. For more on prospecti, see “How to Write a Prospectus” on the courses page. The bibliography will need to identify appropriate research venues to gain critical scholarly information about the chosen topic.


Note: This assignment will go up on the wiki, so that everyone in your group can see what you are working on. All annotated bibliography sources should be linked either to the paper that is part of UCF's collection, or to a publisher's link in the case of a book, or to an external website if it is a web source.


WORK-IN-PROGRESS PRESENTATION: (10% (wiki presentation) + 5% (turning in responses to others' presentations), due on April 12. Work-in-Progress presentations to be posted on the wiki; responses are done in class on April 19) There is a presentation of your paper, before you hand in a final draft (see below for more on that). April 19 will be a discussion day for the work-in-progress presentations. On that day, everyone will come prepared to talk about their own paper in their group, and each person will also be prepared to question and critique all the other presentations in the class that are on the wiki. Each person will hand in a short critique (on a form available on the wiki) after class on April 19. This will give you a chance to discuss your work, take students’ comments into account and produce a better paper.


TERM PAPER (25%, final version due April 26): This is a traditional academic thesis defence paper. The paper will be graded on your ability to identify an interesting and challenging humanities or religious studies question, state and defend a thesis, use scholarly sources, as well as your ability to work with interdisciplinary sources, theories, and analytic or critical approaches. Particular attention will be paid to the quality and development of your thesis and the clarity of the thesis development. As well, the paper will need to be clear on the disciplinary approach(es) and interdisciplinary methods that are used. The paper must be linked to your annotated bibliography (that is, on the same topic). All topics must be cleared in advance. We will discuss topics and format in class. Students will receive the comments in time to use them to improve their work. The paper should be ~2000 words.


FINAL EXAM: 15% of the grade will be based on the final exam.  The exam time is available on the official exam schedule, and will be held in the usual class room. The exam will include the required "exit questionaire". This will be a take-home final. This will be a take-home final, which means that the exam will be turned in on the final exam night, but will not be written in class on that evening.

Grade Distribution: I will record the assignment grades based on the percentage of the course grade during the term (that is, the final exam will be recorded as a grade out of 30, although it may be marked out of another number). The letter grade will be calculated only at the end of the course, based on full course grade. The distribution will be as follows:

A: 93-100

B: 83-86

C: 73-76

D: 63-66

A-: 90-92

B-: 80-82

C-: 70-72

D-: 60-62

B+: 87-89

C+: 77-79

D+: 67-69

F: 0-59

Schedule: Senior Research Seminar

There will be readings from the reading package and the website for each week (apart from presentation weeks). The reading schedule and more details on the weeks’ topics are available online.


Date Topic
Jan. 11 Course Intro: Space and Place in the Humanities and Religious Studies
Jan. 18 No Class - MLK Day
Jan. 25 Home and Hearth
Feb. 1 Landscape and Garden
Feb. 8 Urban and Developed Space
Feb. 15 Travel I
Feb. 22 Travel II
March 1 Travel III
March 8 No Class - MidTerm Break
March 15 Travel IV
March 22 Wilderness & Nature
March 29 Places of the Past: Ruins, Memorials, Forgotten Places
April 5 Non-Places & Pathologies of Place
April 12 Virtual Space
April 19 Work in Progress Presentations
April 26 Work in Progress Presentations


Click Here for The Fine (but Important) Print (details, guidelines, and parameters for the course) This document is part of the official syllabus for the class.