Course Policies

David A. Davis
Office: 118 Groover
Office Hours: MF 10-11 & 1-2 and by appointment
Phone: (478) 538-6471

Course Objectives

  • To read and discuss works by southern and non-southern writers about the South written during the antebellum, Reconstruction, and New South periods.
  • To explore the relationship between literary works and their historical and social context by focusing on the issues of slavery, economics, and race in the South.
  • To learn fundamental techniques for literary research and criticism.
  • To cultivate essential skills in reading comprehension, analysis, and critical thinking.
  • To practice oral and written communication.

Course Requirements & Grading Policies
English 357 is a discussion-based course that uses a modified seminar format.  You success in this course depends upon attended every session prepared to contribute to our mutual understanding of the text. Attendance constitutes 18% of your course grade. Attendance grades are computed according to the following scale:























Entering class after attendance has been taken will count as a tardy, and three tardies will count as an absence. Missing class for a verifiable family emergency, participation in a university-sanctioned athletic event, or religious holidays will not result in a deduction from your final grade, but it is your responsibility to inform me of your absence.

During the semester I will administer six unannounced quizzes that will cover the reading assigned for the day of the quiz. Quizzes constitute 18% of your course grade. You are responsible for reading the entire work on the first day of discussion. You may replace up to two quizzes by writing replacement assignments. The replacement assignment requires that your write a six hundred word synopsis of the reading assignment due the day of the missed quiz. Replacement assignments should be submitted on the day of the second class meeting after the missed quiz. Any missed quizzes beyond the one automatically dropped and the two replacement assignments will factor into your quiz grade as a zero.

Your other assignments will allow you to practice your interpretive skills and to develop a significant level of expertise on the literature. You will deliver two eight-minute presentations on topics directly relevant to the day's reading assignment. Presentations will constitute 11% of your course grade each. One week after each presentation, you will submit an eight-hundred word encyclopedia entry on your topic. The entries will constitute 11% of your course grade each. Your most significant assignment will be a research-based interpretive assignment 20%

Papers will be submitted to my email,, by 6:00 pm on the due date. I will grade the paper electronically in Microsoft Word and return it with embedded comments. Papers will be returned to the initiating address, so be sure to send the paper from your own email account.

You may rewrite and resubmit a written assignment after it has been graded. Revised papers should be submitted at the beginning of the class meeting immediately after original papers have been returned. Revised papers should be accompanied by a self-critical analysis that explains how the paper has been improved. In cases of revision, the revised grade will be added to the original grade and averaged into the overall paper grade. Keep in mind that revising means more than correcting minor errors. In fact, a cursory revision could result in a lower grade. Papers submitted after the due date will automatically receive an F, but they may be revised to improve the final grade.
The students of Mercer University have a long, proud tradition of honorable conduct, and I expect all students in this class to continue that tradition. Cheating, plagiarism, or other acts of academic misconduct will result in prosecution from the honor court, who may censure, suspend, or expel a guilty student. If you ever have any concerns about plagiarism, please consult me, and I will be happy to discuss your situation confidentially.

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 website at

As a final note, I realize that you are busy and that unexpected crises sometimes arise, but as a general rule I do not give extensions on any assignments. I also do not excuse absences. If you have a major emergency or extended illness, you should contact Associate Dean Ed Weintraut to intervene on your behalf. I do not ever give extra credit assignments.