Requirements & Grading

[Family Game is a drama remaking a popular movie of the same name.]

This Unusual Semester
From the most positive perspective I can muster, this will be an unusual semester. It is also likely to be really difficult and challenging. We will share some challenges, for instance the work of learning online, figuring out zoom, managing our emotional responses to the news cycle. But in other ways, each of us has vastly different responsibilities, privileges, resources, and opportunities. We are all in it together but that togetherness cannot erase structural inequalities. And in many ways, the pandemic has made those structural inequalities even more visible.

My primary goal this semester is to help make our class a space of joy and creativity. I know that all students are working hard and dealing with challenges that are invisible to me. I will try to be clear, communicative, and flexible. At the same time, I ask students to be patient with me, as I figure out the best ways to use new technology and respond to your messages. Please do you best to communicate with me. Although I will always do my best to respond to emergencies quickly, the volume of email I get means that it will usually take me two work days to respond to any message (i.e. not including the weekend, when I try to stay away from email). If you have a question, I highly suggest you sign up for office hours so we can talk it over.

You are always welcome to reach out to me with questions or concerns. Please also consider exploring this website, consulting the lectures or your lecture notes, and asking colleagues in the class, all of which are great sources of information.

Weekly Schedule
This course will meet twice a week on Zoom, Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:30am to 12:50pm (Ann Arbor time). The course is meeting synchronously. There are no additional meetings although you're always welcome to sign up for my office hours.

Requests to Students
To make our online learning more accessible and possible for everyone in the class, I ask you to consider these requests:
- Please use earphones in any meetings. Listening without earphones will create an echo for everyone.
- Please use the chat function to signal when you have a question or want to share a comment. You don't have to type out your whole idea, but please type "question" or "comment," so I know to call on you.
- I will not require any student to have their video camera on. But if you decide not to turn on your camera, we'll need to figure out other ways to include you in the lecture or discussion. Please reach out to discuss what would be possible for you.
- I will record all class meetings to share with students who are unable to attend. These recordings will be protected an only shared within the class.

I understand that students might be learning and working in difficult situations, for instance rooms with other people or spaces in which the student might not feel comfortable saying their ideas out loud. If you have an idea or question that you do not want to say out loud because it doesn't feel safe to you, please feel free to share that entirely in the chat.

Illness and Other Absences
If you are unable to complete course work at any point in the semester, please email me as soon as possible. I don't need to know your private business or the details of what's going on. I will talk with you (by email, phone, or zoom) and set up revised plans for submitting your work and keeping up with the class.

As a group, we will read two books together. I worked hard to find interesting books focused on relevant topics that are also free through open access.

Ekaterina Hertog. 2009. Tough Choices: Bearing an Illegitimate Child in Japan. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Allison Alexy. 2020. Intimate Disconnections: Divorce and the Romance of Independence in Contemporary Japan. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

You can download versions of each of the two books, so you should be able to read offline.

Grading and Requirements
**Discussion Questions: 25% of final grade
Discussion Participation: 25% of final grade
Final Project - Process Assignments: 25% of final grade
Final Project - Final Version: 25% of final grade
** Assignments marked with stars will be graded credit / no credit. This means they cannot be turned in late without an excused absence. Please see more details below. Also note that an "A" is 94.0 and above.

Because of the context we are working in now, this is going to be a semester with extra challenges and difficulties for everyone. For that reason, I have worked to make grades generally and graded assignments as low-key as possible. For instance, I have created many assignments as "credit / no credit." Please note that I don't want any student to be stressed about grades and welcome you to talk with me if you find yourself feeling that way.

Class Participation
This is a seminar course and fundamentally involves lots of discussion. I welcome student questions and comments in each lecture and will create many opportunities for these. Your ideas will be front and center. Please come prepared to share your thoughts, questions, confusions, and excitement. I am well aware that there are different ways to participate in a discussion, and if you feel reluctant to jump into the conversation, please talk with me in office hours so we can come up with some strategies for you. In general, excellent participation in discussion includes: coming prepared to discuss the readings and films assigned (i.e. do the homework), listening well to other students’ thoughts, responding to them, sharing your ideas, being willing to change your mind, and reflect on any changes you might experience. Please ask questions and share your ideas – and be aware that we will regularly ask this of you in class.

Participation Grades
Because some of your final grade for this course comes from your participation in discussion, I want to explain how that is graded and what you can do to improve your grade. Please notice that, in our discussions, quantity and quality are not the same thing. A high participation grade isn’t only about contributing a lot. Listening to other students, doing your best to build into the conversation as opposed to subtracting from it, and being willing to describe how your thoughts might be changing are all necessary to get the highest scores. Moreover, listening thoughtfully and respectfully are big components as well. Interrupting other people or talking over them will reduce your participation grade. I will be posting weekly grades in Canvas so you can follow your grade. Of course, I am also always happy to talk with you if you would like to gather strategies for improving your grade.

Office Hours and Consultations
I am always happy to talk with you, via email or in a video chat. Please sign up for office hours, and bring your ideas, musings, and / or rough drafts. I believe writing and learning are long-term processes and I will reward students who take this seriously. I am happy to talk through your ideas. You can sign up for office hours with me through google calendar.

Academic Honesty
My policies conform to the University of Michigan’s policies. Let me know if you have any questions.

Late Work
I understand that we are all under new pressures, but this course will still have deadlines. I have built this website to give you all information about assignments and work, so you can plan ahead and work ahead if that seems best for you. Please explore it and think about what might be difficult or tricky for you; I am happy to talk anything over if you would like.

I will accept work turned in past its deadline but the grade will be reduced three points for each day late. In the case of credit / no credit assignments, the assignment cannot be turned in late. The time recorded by Canvas is the official time I use. If something is due at 5pm and it comes in at 5:01pm, it will be late. If you have trouble meeting deadlines, I strongly recommend you convince yourself that work is due earlier than it really is. I'm happy to brainstorm with you about strategies for handling deadlines.

Course Recordings
All class meetings are recorded. Those recordings are available through Canvas. This means that only people enrolled in the course can see the recordings.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
I share the University of Michigan’s commitment to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Please talk with me if you have a disability and would be aided by any accommodation. Request for accommodations by persons with disabilities may be made by contacting the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) Office located at G664 Haven Hall. The SSD phone number is 734-763-3000. Once your eligibility for an accommodation has been determined you will be issued a verified individual services accommodation (VISA) form. Please present this form to me at the beginning of the term, or as soon as you get it. Everything is confidential.

Discomfort, Safety, and Learning
Learning can be a simultaneously wonderful and difficult process. I’m sure you have already encountered both – figuring out something that is undeniably cool or struggling with a task that makes no sense and never seems to end. I imagine you will have more of both experiences in college as well, but as we start thinking together, I want to call attention to a parallel paradox we will likely encounter as a group: the balance between productive discomfort and safety. Good learning can include some degree of discomfort but should never be or feel unsafe. If it’s not already clear to you, I think it’s very likely that learning about new materials – perhaps things that you never even realized you didn’t know – can easily make people uncomfortable. Having your world view, your sense of yourself in the world, shifted even a little bit can be a deeply emotional experience. My goal is never to shock you or make you feel uncomfortable, but I can imagine that might happen throughout the semester because it seems to be fundamental within the process of learning. To make such productive discomfort possible, I will work hard to make our course as safe a space as possible, and I ask you to do the same. I invite you to be kind, empathic, and honest, while sharing your perspectives, gut reactions, and analysis, and particularly any moments when you realize you have changed your mind. As you are working hard to engage new practices and beliefs, I will work hard to enable you to feel safe in the process of learning. If at any point, you feel that our classroom is lacking safety – if it does not feel like a safe space – please let me know immediately. I also ask you pay attention to your own moments of discomfort, to see how your thinking might be changing.

Other Problems and Dangers
With other members of our diverse community, I am working to make this university a safe space for all people. To those ends, please know that if you face violence, threats, bullying or other difficult situations, there are people trained to help you:

A food bank for the 30% of students and staff who experience food insecurity. The food bank is at 420 S. State Street.

Confidential support and academic advocacy can be found with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) on their 24-hour crisis line, 734-936-3333. Alleged violations can be non-confidentially reported to the Office for Institutional Equity (OIE) at Reports to law enforcement can be made to University of Michigan Police Department at 734-763-3434.

The Student Life office offers a portal to many services and types of support. Check out this long list of possibilities and feel free to contact them also if you, or someone you know, can’t figure out who to talk to.

If you are needing help and puzzled about where to go or who to talk with, feel free to reach out to me.