How your final grade is calculated

Attendance and class participation 10%
Three essays (total) 60%
Final paper 30%


Special note

Academic accommodations are available for students with disabilities who are registered with the Office of Disability and Support Services. Students in need of disability accommodations should schedule an appointment with me early in the semester to discuss any accommodations for this course which have been approved by the Office of Disability and Support Services, as indicated in your DSS accommodation letter.


Attendance and class participation

As citizens of this class, we all have the responsibility to contribute to the discussion and activities of the class. Failure to take part in class discussion or Blackboard exercises, inability to answer specific questions from the readings and projects, or inadequate involvement in group projects will impair other students' opportunities for learning.

As a result, attendance and participation are required for this course. Absence in more than two classes will harm your final grade. Failure to participate in the ways outlined above will also reflect poorly on your participation grades. Students are to come to class having finished the required readings by the date they are assigned. Bring the assigned readings to class with you. If the reading comes in digital form (a PDF, a website, etc.), print it out and bring it with you.



You are required to write three of the following four essays. If you write all four, I will count the three best grades toward your final grade in the course. In all of these essays, you should strive to incorporate and cite the relevant readings and lectures as much as possible.

Essay 1: Find three primary sources about QOL. How do these illustrate diverse understandings of QOL: its domains, its conceptual tensions, etc.? Minimum 3 pages + separate photocopies or extensive quotations from these sources. Due February 12.
Essay 2: What's at stake in conceptualizing QOL as a subjective versus objective condition? Which of these two views of QOL do you think is more useful, and why? Your essay should address examples and issues raised by the readings. Minimum 5 pages. Due March 6.
Essay 3: What lays behind the problem of work-life balance that troubles so many families today? Why is this such a contemporary and (perhaps quintessentially) American problem? How have the QOL expectations we place upon work and family contributed to this problem? Minimum 5 pages. Due April 8.
Essay 4: Is there a politics of QOL? How do movements to promote the greater good through sustainable urban development and voluntary simplicity reveal faultlines within modern society? Minimum 5 pages. Due April 22.


Final paper

You have free choice of topic and format for this paper. Minimum 8 pages. For instructions, click here. Due May 14 of finals week.