[Fiona Staples, Saga cover]

Discussion Questions
The most regular assignment in this course should take no more than a few minutes a week: By 5pm the day before our class meets, every student must email me FOUR open-ended discussion questions that directly concern the reading due. These questions should not be inquiries for more factual information. One quick way to decide if you have generated a discussion question is to ask yourself if you could find the answer to your question by searching the internet. If you could – if you are asking for facts – then it is not a discussion question. All questions will be graded on a credit / no credit basis, which means as long as you turn in four open-ended questions on time, you will receive full credit. To be clear, when you are assigned multiple materials in the same session, you need to turn in four questions total, not four questions for each item assigned.

In order to keep things organized, I ask that you send your discussion questions only to < >. If you have other questions or want to contact me about anything else, please use my regular email address: aalexy [at]

I ask you to send me your questions because I am interested in what has made you think, what you think deserves more attention, or what is puzzling. More generally, I want to reinforce the idea that we should all be generating questions as we read, rather than looking for the "right" answers. Further, as I will discuss in class, it is actually quite difficult to come up with good questions and learning to do so is a skill. Please take this opportunity to be creative. Don't be afraid to ask big questions, but please keep that day's readings in mind. Always feel free to think across the readings and discussions.

The discussion questions can be a helpful resource when you’re trying to figure out how to approach the course projects. Think through the questions that have been posed (your own or those written by your colleagues) and see what sparks a possible project.

Here are some good and bad example discussion questions for the Ahmed reading, due for our second meeting:

A discussion question: Do you identify as a feminist? Why or why not?
Not a discussion question: When did Ahmed write this book?
Notice that the second question is really asking for a fact, or reading comprehension. That’s not an open-ended question.
Also not a discussion question: I found Ahmed’s tone really alienating, do you agree?
While it might prompt conversation, and you’re welcome to share such a thought in our class discussion, merely asking a yes / no question isn’t creating a discussion question. Your questions need to be open ended.

I look forward to your questions.