ENGL 320 Sonic Studies Course Policies

ENGL 320 Sonic Studies Course Policies


The following includes a list of the required texts and course policies. For access to assignment descriptions, follow this link. In order to access the course schedule of readings and daily activities, follow this link.


!!!NOTE!!!!: You will find additional required course readings on the Blackboard course site. I expect that each of you will print up copies of these texts and bring them to class, as you will be referring to them in class. I strongly advise that you make copies of files marked with an * on the syllabus at least a week in advance to guard against any last minute printing, computer, or access to internet problems. Folks who arrive to class without having hard copies of the assigned texts/readings in hand, not having read, or who are otherwise unprepared for class discussion will be marked as absent. I will be checking at the start of class to make sure everyone has with them HARD copies of the assigned pdf readings. If you are without hard copies of the assigned texts more than 2 times, your final grade will be lowered one full letter grade per each occurrence. Purchase or print up the assigned texts early—do not wait to try to purchase books (online or at the bookstore) at the last minute.


Required Texts


The Auditory Culture Reader (Sensory Formations) 2nd Edition by Michael Bull (Editor), Les Back (Editor), David Howes (Series Editor)

Paperback: 488 pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; 2 edition (December 31, 2015)

ISBN-10: 1472569024

ISBN-13: 978-1472569028

The Sonic Color Line: Race and the Cultural Politics of Listening

by Jennifer Lynn Stoever


Publisher: NYU Press; Reprint edition (November 15, 2016)

ISBN-10: 1479889342

ISBN-13: 978-1479889341

Radio and the Gendered Soundscape: Women and Broadcasting in Argentina and Uruguay, 1930-1950

Paperback – June 10, 2016

by Christine Ehrick

Paperback: 246 pages

Publisher: Cambridge University Press; Reprint edition (October 6, 2016)

ISBN-10: 1107438829

ISBN-13: 978-1107438828



Course Requirements


To pass this course you must complete all the major assignments, fulfill all the weekly assignments, and submit all the writing assignments on time. You are expected to attend all class meetings and to participate in draft workshops, in-class exercises, and classroom discussions. All proposals, drafts, papers, and final revisions must be handed in on time; failure to turn in a proposal on time, or to appear at a draft workshop without a draft is equivalent to turning in an assignment late (i.e., normally a penalty of one grade per late day).




Simply put, I expect you to be here for each class session. For simplicity’s sake (and in fairness to others enrolled in the course), I DO NOT distinguish between excused and unexcused absences. (Do not approach me with doctor’s notes.) Each person is allotted 2 absences, no penalty. For every additional class session, you miss or arrive unprepared for, your final grade for the course will be reduced one full letter grade per extra absence.


Office Conferences


There will be at least two mandatory conferences. Also, I am happy to meet with you in advance of a deadline to offer advice. You can come to my office hours or schedule an appointment with me. Please keep in mind that my job is not to proofread your work. When you come to a meeting with me, you should have some specific questions or concerns to discuss.



Peer Review

Our peer review sessions will happen in designated class sessions. In most cases, you will exchange your work with a class member prior to the peer review session so that they have time to review your work and provide feedback. We will spend these class periods reviewing both the projects/papers and the feedback. I take peer review very seriously as it is one of the most efficient ways to grow as a writer and thinker. Even professional writers spend countless hours writing, editing, and rewriting their work. Composing is a process that requires revision. Most importantly, this idea of revision goes beyond fixing mistakes. It’s about improving all aspects of composing, including its argumentative, aesthetic, and organizational attributes.

If you miss a peer review day, you must take measures to send your work to a classmate for comment outside of class. I will not accept projects that have not been peer reviewed.


Listening Assignments and Listening Responses

Sometimes I will assign listening assignments that will accompany the reading. I will give you plenty of advance waring so that you have time to prepare.


Class Citizenship

The class citizenship grade is based on your role as a student and colleague irrespective of essay grades. This portion of your grade will take in account your preparation for class, your completion of any homework assignments, your participation in class discussion and writing assignments, your adherence to the rules for class etiquette, and your presence at conferences with me.


Class Etiquette

During this course we will discuss a wide range of topics, some of which may be sensitive or even alienating for you; I urge you to keep in mind that we all have different personal experiences, diverse beliefs, and opinions about such topics. We will learn a great deal through discussing various views and perspectives if we make a commitment to listening to each other and to honoring each other’s backgrounds, values, and feelings. We will treat one another with respect and dignity at all times. While I lecture, I expect your full attention. Distractions (talking, laughing, etc.) can be problematic for me as well as for your fellow classmates. Such behavior will harm your grade.


 Please make sure cell phones are turned off and computers powered down at the start of class. Anyone checking email, text-messaging, getting up to leave class, etc. will be marked as absent


Graded Essays and Projects

When I return your work to you, I ask that you wait 24 hours to contact me about the grade. Please use those 24 hours to review your work and read my comments carefully. Once you’ve done that and 24 hours have passed, I will be happy to meet with you to offer further comments or answer questions. Please keep all graded material until the end of the semester.



By enrolling in this course, each student assumes the responsibilities of an active participant in UMBC’s scholarly community in which everyone’s academic work and behavior are held to the highest standards of honesty. Cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and helping others to commit these acts are all forms of academic dishonesty, and they are wrong. Academic misconduct could result in disciplinary action that may include, but is not limited to, suspension or dismissal. To read the full Student Academic Conduct Policy, consult UMBC policies, or the Faculty Handbook (Section 14.3).



Before each major assignment you will submit a brief proposal (1 or 2 paragraphs) that explains your ideas and ambitions for the assignment. This will allow us to have a dialogue about what your plans are for the assignment. Proposals will also serve as a space to communicate any questions or concerns you have about the assignment.


Statement on Nondiscrimination

The University of Maryland Baltimore County is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to programs, facilities, admission and employment without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state or federal authorities. It is the policy of the University to maintain an academic and work environment free of discrimination, including harassment. UMBC prohibits discrimination and harassment against any person because of age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status. Discrimination or harassment against faculty, staff, or students will not be tolerated.

Note: UMBC encourages qualified persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any kind of accommodation in this course or have questions about physical access, please tell the instructor as soon as possible.



I have high expectations for you. When this semester ends, you will not be given your grade—you will have earned it. This syllabus shows you how it is possible to earn a competitive grade in this course. Turning that possibility into a probability will entail a lot of reading, writing, listening, and speaking; above all, it will involve a lot of thinking. You will have to possess (or quickly develop) intellectual curiosity and a capacity to engage enthusiastically with complex material.

You will also have to work hard. However, as I hope you have already discovered, hard work can be satisfying, not only when it is rewarded but also when it is directed toward a worthwhile goal. If you make an active intellectual commitment to the class, if you are eager to learn, and if you persistently hone your abilities, you will do well. To attain your learning goals, you must recognize that your university education constitutes your full-time job. According to NSSE (National Survey of Student Engagement) guidelines, for every hour spent in class, you need to devote another two to three hours to academic work outside class. To do well, you will thus need to augment your almost six and a half hours a week of work in the classroom with an average of 10 to 12 hours a week of related work outside the classroom. Your ultimate goal, however, should not solely be to achieve a good grade for the course but to make significant progress in your own career of lifelong learning and writing.

Now, you know something about what I expect from you. What can you expect from me? I am here to help you learn to think critically. If you ask me something that I don’t know, I will work with you to discover the answer. I will show you why learning to think and write critically is important. By challenging you to reach high standards, I shall help you to educate yourself. The workload will be demanding, but I shall never give you busywork: everything I ask of you will be aimed at making you a more accomplished writer, a more discerning reader, a more effective speaker, a more perceptive listener, and a more astute thinker.