Spring 2012
Great Books 495
Geat Women Authors
TR 9:25 to 10:50 Ryals 207

Mary Ann Drake, Ph. D.
Phone: Office (301-5616) Home (477-4399) e-mail drake_ma@mercer.edu
Home Page: http://faculty.mercer.edu/drake_ma/
Office Hours:
Calendar of Events                                                      Policies and Grades                             

COURSE DESCRIPTION: As is true of all Great Books Courses at Mercer, this is a discussion course designed to provide you with "great texts" and seminal ideas that inform our cultural values and ideas. Our class focuses on women authors. The texts are to challenge you, stretch you, force you to think, struggle, analyze, criticize, broaden, rethink, and reflect. Your reflective and rational processes will be tested by your peers during in-class discussions (and hopefully outside of class discussions) and with periodic writing assignments.

We will do a lot of listening, deep listening. We will avoid what William James cautioned against: “A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices."


_The Heptameron_ by Marguerite de Navarree, ISBN: 978-0-14-044355-4
Hildegard of Bingen _Mystical Writings_, ISBN 0-8245-1027-5
_Middlemarch_ George Eliot ISBN: 978-1-59308-023-5
_Poetry of Sappho_, ISBN: 978 0195 326 727

A Jane Austen of your Choice

PREREQUISITES: Successful completion of GBK 203 or the permission of the professor.


1.                   Regularly participate in thoughtful discussion with others about the reading assignments
               and the issues surrounding this course.
                   Write thoughtful, clear, insightful, organized, and grammatically correct papers.                  
                   Demonstrate the ability to think critically about issues raised in the texts, which means
               being able to:
                   Ask and answer critical questions at appropriate times,
                   React courteously and critically to texts and other’s arguments,
                     Judge the quality of texts and others’arguments,                                                           
                 Formulate your own substantiated arguments,
                    Locate underlying values and assumptions,
                  Recognize fallacies in reasoning,
                             Identify issues and conclusions,
              Discriminate tested beliefs from assertions and opinions,
                    And avoid jumping to conclusions.


 Attendance: Attendance is critically important since what you say and what your classmates say is part of the "text" for the course. Attendance includes lectures, films, and other required outside activities.

For each class day, unless otherwise specified, students are to bring in, on note cards, a QQTP, borrowed, with permission from the scientists. The letters stand for: Question ( a question from the day's reading), a (Q) quotation from the reading, and a (TP) talking point, that refers to the day's reading in relation to a previous reading.

Participation:  Once in class, your participation is essential. As we struggle with difficult questions, we need as much input as possible from everyone. Your class participation will be noted for each class period and graded as follows:

0-               Absent, not conscious, doing something else, or no text
2-3             Some involvement, but mostly unengaged
4-5             Present, but uninformed
6-7             Participates, but not consistently in meaningful ways
8                Participates in meaningful ways
9-10          Advances class discussion and we all benefit from your

I have set up the discussion board in Blackboard. Please feel free to use this medium for particularly sensitive issues, for topics we did not exhaust in class, for insights not brought up in class, and for your own pleasure and enlightenment.

Leading Class Discussion: Students, working in pairs, will be responsible for leading class discussion at least twice during the course of the semester.  I will circulate a sign-up sheet on the first day of class.  You will be graded on your ability to devise an interesting and relevant opening question, to direct conversation in meaningful ways, and to keep the discussion focused.   

Papers: There will be two required essays for the course, and one final project. The essays are to be four to five pages in length.

Some advice about papers:

·    Proofread your essays and final paper carefully

·    Keep a personal hard copy in case of loss or error

·    Never permit a person to borrow your document. Save your document to disk  and protect your disks.

·    Using the same material, even if you wrote it, for multiple assignments violates academic honesty.

I do not accept papers electronically!    


Participation including attendance -- 35%
Leading Discussion – 10%
Two essays @ 15% each
Final Project  -- 25% 

                  90-100 = A                                    77-79 = C+         
                  87-89 = B+                                    70-76 = C
                  80-86 = B                                      60-69 = D

It is the responsibility of the student to refer to the Policies and Grading Section of the syllabus.