MLS 675: ECONOMICS IN LITERATURE
How do we make a living? What do we do and how do we organize ourselves to provide for our necessities? How do we relate to others and the natural environment in the quest for survival and economic advancement? What are the advantages and benefits of our way of life? What are the costs and consequences of that way of life? How does human nature affect our economic behavior? How has human nature been shaped by economic necessities and environmental constraints over the course of time? How do prehistoric adaptations to economic and other realities continue to affect modern humans and their way of life? Are ethical questions and religious ideals relevant to matters of economic survival and the hard realities of the material world? Are some ways of making a living better than others? How do we evaluate them? Are commerce and market capitalism the best economic systems that humanity can devise? What may be the most appropriate criteria for judging economic success or failure? These and other questions are explored in this course from the perspective of literary, philosophical, religious/ethical, scientific and other texts and materials.
Texts (available at University Bookstore)
Patrick Murray, ed., Reflections on Commercial Life: An Anthology of Classic Texts from Plato to the Present (Routledge) ISBN 0-415-91196-6
Charles Dickens, Hard Times (W.W. Norton/Norton Critical Edition), ISBN 0-393-95900-7
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath (Penguin/Viking Critical Library), ISBN 0-14-024775-0
Films (on reserve at Reinert Alumni Library for 4-hour and overnight checkout -- may also be purchased or rented from commercial outlets):
A Beautiful Mind (2001), dir. Ron Howard, starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly, based on Sylvia Nassar's biography of John Forbes Nash (Reinert Library call number PN1995.9B55B438 2002).
Wall Street (1987), dir. Oliver Stone, starring Michael Douglas & Charlie Sheen (Reinert Library call number PN1995.9.S87 W355 2007).
The Matrix (1999), dir. Andy & Larry Wachowski, starring Keanu Reeves & Carrie-Anne Moss (Reinert Library PN1995.9S26M38 2001).
See also miscellaneous materials available for this course on Blueline(blueline.creighton.edu) (log on with your Creighton NetID as the username and the corresponding password)
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
World Bank, Global Poverty Monitoring
U.S. Census Bureau
U.S. Census Bureau: World Population "Clock"
U.S. Census Bureau: World Population Past and Future
United Nations: Social Indicators
United Nations Statistics Division (Economic, Demographic, Social, Environmental, Energy and Development Statistics)
United Nations Population Information Network
US Economic Indicators (including Sales Figures, Gross Domestic Product, Corporate Profits and Other Statistics)
The National Debt
Bureau of Economic Analysis, US Dept of Commerce
Federal Reserve, US Flow of Funds Accounts
1) Two papers (25%)
Students will write two short analytical essays (around 5 typewritten pages each) responding to prompts from the instructor regarding the possible significance and implications of selected textual passages, images or other materials. Essays will be graded on the basis of relevance to and engagement of the course ideas and concerns, close attention to details, clarity of thought and writing, analytical depth, and insight into the economic significance of the materials under analysis. Papers must follow the guidelines provided by the instructor. For standards used in the grading of essays see Grading Standards and Procedures, and Grading of Essays and Other Written Work.
2) Pop Quizzes (25%)
A number of unannounced quizzes will be administered during the semester testing students' observance of the reading assignments as well as comprehension of major concepts, terminology, facts and ideas presented in the lectures and class discussions. Students will be allowed 10 minutes for the completion of each quiz.
3) Term Project, Annotated Bibliography and Project Presentation
Each student will do a term project which may be a paper (5-10 pages of interpretation, analysis and/or research); creative writing (short story, play, or set of poems -- also 5-10 pages); an original art work (painting, sculpture, drawing, instrumental and/or vocal music composition and performance, a play skit or other dramatization, dance choreography and performance, collage, film, live or recorded performance piece, etc.); or other (including documentaries, websites, field research/interviews, etc.). Students may also propose projects in media and forms not listed here. All work must be clearly relevant and related to the class materials. All works must be created during and for the specific purposes of this course. ALL PROJECTS MUST INVOLVE SCHOLARLY RESEARCH. Each project, regardless of the medium used, must be accompanied by an ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY including at least 10 (ten) sources -- each entry must include full citation/bibliographical information and a brief (one paragraph minimum, one page maximum) discussion of the relevance of the cited item to the project. Each student will make an IN-CLASS PRESENTATION (10-15 minutes) describing, explaining, and/or performing her/his project. All projects must be approved by the instructor in advance -- students will submit a brief, one-paragraph PROJECT PROPOSAL (see Schedule below for deadline) describing the topic, medium/materials, ideas to be explored in the project, and a tentative list of sources to be consulted. Students choosing to write a formal paper must follow the MLA, APA, or Chicago formatting styles or the guidelines provided by the instructor. For further information on the writing and grading of essays see Grading Standards and Procedures, and Grading of Essays and Other Written Work. In general, all projects should feature the following (creative projects in the visual arts or other media not involving writing may be accompanied by a written reflection if the student feels the need for explanations beyond those offered in the presentation and the bibliography):
a) Addressing of a specific problem or problems (past, present or future) of the economic practices of human groups.
b) Objective research into facts involved in the specific problem under analysis (all projects must include an Annotated Bibliography of works or sources consulted).
c) Significant personal reflection on the nature and implications of the problem examined.
d) Constructive/creative reasoning regarding possible solutions to the problem analyzed.
4) Participation and Other Performance (25%)
In addition to other grades, the instructor will assess and grade each student's overall accomplishment, development, and involvement in the course. This grade will take into account aspects of a student's performance such as class participation, preparation, contributions, effort, attentiveness, interest, improvement, responsibility, etc.
5) Other Policies
Deadlines: Make-ups/extensions for a missed deadline will only be given in cases of documented serious illness or other valid, non-frivolous excuse such as documented participation in official University academic, service or sports events (it will be up to the instructor to determine and decide on the acceptability of an excuse). Otherwise, students must meet all deadlines specified in the syllabus.
Attendance Policy: An attendance measurement will be calculated equal to the percentage of total class time attended. The course grade may not exceed that percentage (i.e. if a student attended only 75% of the total class time, the course grade may not be higher than 75 or C, according to a 100-point scale where 90-100 = A, 87-89 = B+, 80-86 = B, 77-79 = C+, 70-76 = C, 60-69 = D, and 0-59 = F ). Notice also that, at the discretion of the instructor, any student missing more than 30% of the total class time may fail the course. All absences, regardless of the reason, are taken into account in the calculation of the attendance percentage.
Academic Honesty and Class Conduct Policy: All students in the class are expected to observe the University's guidelines on student conduct as described in the Code of Conduct and Creighton University's Student Handbook (especially the section on "Academic Honesty Policy" dealing with problems of plagiarism, cheating, etc.). All work turned in for credit in this course must be personal and original, produced during the given academic term and for the specific purposes and according to the guidelines of the given assignments. Any misrepresentations, concealments, or distortions of source, origin, collaboration or authorship of such materials will be considered forms of academic dishonesty and will result in failing the given assignment or, at the discretion of the instructor, the entire course. Problems such as repeated lateness arriving to class (or departing early), inattentiveness, and/or disruptive behavior will adversely affect attendance and/or the class participation grade. Seriously disruptive behavior can also result, at the discretion of the instructor, in more severe penalties, including failing the entire course.
Email Communication: The University considers a student's Creighton email address the official means of communication with faculty and administrators. All students are responsible for checking their email messages as they might contain important and time-sensitive information relevant to the course, including notifications on changes to reading and other assignments, deadlines, class cancellations or reschedulings, etc. A student who prefers to receive email at a different address must inform the instructor.
Special Needs or Accommodations: Any student requiring special arrangements or other accommodations, due to disabilities and or other special circumstances, is encouraged to request such arrangements from the Office of Disability Accommodations.
All aspects of the course will be graded on a 100-point scale where 90-100 = A, 87-89 = B+, 80-86 = B, 77-79 = C+, 70-76 = C, 60-69 = D, and 0-59 = F. For further information on grading see documents entitled "Grading Standards and Procedures" and "Grading of Essays and Other Written Work." At the discretion of the instructor, a normative curve may be applied to the grades at the end of the term. The course grade will be calculated according to the following formula:
|Term Project, Annotated Bibliography, and Presentation||25%|
Participation and Other Performance
CLICK UNDERLINED LINKS BELOW AND READ THE TEXTS AND STUDY QUESTIONS BY THE DATE INDICATED. MATERIALS NOT LINKED TO THIS SYLLABUS ARE AVAILABLE IN THE TEXTBOOKS, THE LIBRARY, OR BLUELINE (blueline.creighton.edu)
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Last updated: 09/17/2008