The Body Politic

A number of you were interested in the trope of the body politic. Here are a few excerpts from King James I’s speech to Parliament in 1609.

The State of Monarchie is the supremest thing vpon earth: For Kings are not onely Gods Lieutenants vpon earth, and sit vpon Gods throne, but euen by God himselfe they are called Gods. There bee three principall similitudes that illustrates the state of Monarches: One taken out of the word of God; and the two other out of the grounds of Policie and Philosophic In the Scriptures Kings are called Gods, and so their power after a certaine relation compared to the Diuine power. Kings are also compared to Fathers of families: for a King is trewly Parens p atria, the politique father of his people. And lastly, Kings are compared to the head of this Microcosme of the body of man.” (emphasis mine)

[Just] as for the head of the naturall body, the head [of the body politic, the monarch] hath the power of directing all the members of the body to that vse which the iudgement in the head thinkes most conuenient. It may apply sharpe cures, or cut off corrupt members, let blood in what proportion it thinkes fit…” (emphasis mine)


Important Deadlines

Here is a list of Assignment Deadlines:

Paper 1

  • Tuesday, September 25 at 9:00 am in my email: Paper 1 Draft Due
  •  Wednesday, September 26 two hardcopies (one for instructor and one for student) at start of class: Paper 1 Feedback Due
  •  Friday, September 28 in hardcopy or by email at the start of class: Paper 1 Final Due

Paper 2

  • Tuesday, October 30 by 9:00 am to my email: Paper 2 Draft Due
  • Wednesday, October 31 two hardcopies (one for instructor and one for student) at start of class: Paper 2 Feedback Due
  • Friday, November 2 in hardcopy or by email at start of class: Paper 2  Final Due

Term Paper

  •  Friday, December 7 in hardcopy or by email at start of class: Term Paper Due


Book List

In the interest of saving money, a number of these texts can be found for free online. I encourage, however, using these particular print copies since they have useful footnotes and include both extensive information on context and important scholarly criticism. Whether you print off an online copy, read on screen, or buy a print copy, all texts must be brought to class (laptops welcome, but see Course Policies). All other readings will be posted on our Sakai site.

*Note: Books that can be only be found in print copy are listed in blue. This book list contains only books that we will read in full (or of which we read the majority). Please see Syllabus for a complete list of course readings.

  • William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Norton Critical Edition (2004)
  • William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Norton Critical Edition (2004)
  • Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis in Three Early Modern Utopias: Thomas More’s Utopia, Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis, and Henry Neville’s Isle of Pines, Oxford World Classics (2009)
  • Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Norton Critical Edition (2002)
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Norton Critical Edition (2012)
  • Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Harper Classics
  • Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, Scholastic (2008)

Course Policies

Course Skill Sets

There are three core skill sets that this course aims to build, exercise, and refine:

1) Critical Thinking Skills

2) Effective Writing and Revision Skills

3) Effective Communication and Listening Skills


In order to maximize the skills gained during the course, it is imperative that students:

i) attend all classes (see Late Penalties and Missed Classes)

ii) thoughtfully engage with (ie., read carefully) all class readings, and come prepared to share and discuss your ideas in class

iii) listen respectfully to the instructor and fellow students

iv) turn in all papers and feedback assignments on time (see Assignments and Late Penalties and Missed Classes)


Cell Phone Policy

Please turn all cell phones on “silent” during class unless you are expecting an emergency call or text. If your cell phone rings during class, I reserve the right to ask you to get up and dance to the ring tone of my choice. If you send a text message during class, I reserve the right to send a text message from your phone to my darling mother in Canada.


Laptop Policy

In the interest of saving you money, I permit using free, online versions of a number of the texts we will read for class. I also understand that some students take better notes on the computer than they do by hand. For these reasons, students are permitted to bring a laptop for class use during our weekly meetings. Please resist the urge to send emails, play online games, or check facebook! It is distracting for other students to see you creeping on your friends’ facebook walls and photos, so please be respectful of your fellow classmates and use your computer for note-taking purposes only. Remember, this is a small seminar class — it will be easy to spot who is taking notes and who is tweeting about what the weather. If you are repeatedly found using your computer for purposes other than note-taking, I reserve the right to deduct percentage points from your Participation grade.



Duke University defines the act of plagiarism as “when a student, with intent to deceive or with reckless disregard for proper scholarly procedures, presents any information, ideas or phrasing of another as if they were his/her own and/or does not give appropriate credit to the original source”. In other words, plagiarism is presenting the ideas of others as though they are your own.

Plagiarism will result in a zero grade for the paper and will be reported to the Office of the Registrar. Once reported, plagiarism can result in suspension or expulsion. Any form of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated in this class.

Please consult this Plagiarism Tutorial for more information on how to avoid plagiarism.


Classroom Conduct

This course is designed to be engaging, insightful, rigorous, and fun. Please come to class open to new ideas and methodologies, willing to share and participate in discussion, and, whenever possible, ready to laugh.

Late Penalties and Missed Classes

Late Penalties for Papers

Penalty for Late Drafts (Paper 1 and Paper 2):

As a course geared to build effective writing,  revision, and communication skills, students will provide feedback on their fellow classmates’ papers. Because this feedback counts towards 10% of the overall grade (5% for Paper 1, 5% for Paper 2), it is imperative that the drafts for Paper 1 and Paper 2 be submitted on time (see Assignments) for the instructor to distribute them to fellow students. If a draft paper is not submitted on time, it will not be circulated for feedback and 10% of that Final Paper’s grade will be docked unless a documented excuse is provided.

Penalty for Late Final Papers (Paper 1 and Paper 2):

2% will be docked for each day that a final paper is late (including weekends) unless a documented excuse is provided.

Penalty for Late Term Paper

2% will be docked for each day that the Term Paper is late unless a documented excuse is provided. Given the date necessary to submit final grades, the Term Paper cannot be accepted after December 10 at 9:00 AM.


Missed Classes

Much of the learning and intellectual growth of this class occurs because of student interaction, discussion, and feedback. For this reason, consistent attendance is necessary for the course to succeed as a whole.  While I strongly encourage students to attend all classes, each student is permitted 2 classes of unaccounted absence during the semester. All further absences will deduct 1% from your Participation grade  per class missed unless a documented excused is provided. Because each student provides feedback on their fellow classmates’ papers, missing a Paper Workshop class (September 26 and October 31) will result in a 10% deduction from your grade of the respective Final Paper unless a documented excuse is provided.

Please see  Duke’s official policy on Class Attendance and Missed Work. This site explains what is considered a legitimate excuse for missed classes or work and provides necessary forms.

Duke Community Standard

Duke University is a community of scholars and learners, committed to the principles of honesty, trustworthiness, fairness, and respect for others. Students share with faculty and staff the responsibility for promoting a climate of integrity. As citizens of this community, students are expected to adhere to these fundamental values at all times, in both their academic and non-academic endeavors.

The Pledge
Students affirm their commitment to uphold the values of the Duke University community by signing a pledge that states:
1. I will not lie, cheat, or steal in my academic endeavors, nor will I accept the actions of those who do.
2. I will conduct myself responsibly and honorably in all my activities as a Duke student.

The Reaffirmation
Upon completion of each academic assignment, students will be expected to reaffirm the above commitment by signing this statement: .I have adhered to the Duke Community Standard in completing this assignment.

Students’ Obligation to Report Potential Cases of Academic Dishonesty
Under the Duke Community Standard, students affirm their commitment not to lie, cheat, or steal in academic endeavors, nor accept the actions of those who do.

Thus, a student who has direct knowledge of a potential case of academic dishonesty is required to:

  • Provide a signed written statement of the observed behavior to the appropriate faculty member and/or to the Dean of Students Office within one week of the alleged occurrence; and
  • Provide the name or identity of the person(s) alleged to have committed the violation(s).

The observing student is encouraged first to confront the person(s) alleged to have committed the violation(s) for at least two reasons: 1) to correct any misassumption about alleged act(s), and 2) to let the accused student(s) know that the situation is being reported so that accused student(s) might choose to self-report as well. (Accepting responsibility to the faculty member and/or the Dean of Students Office prior to the reporting of an alleged offense will be considered as a positive factor in the determination of an appropriate sanction.)

Students who knowingly do not fulfill this obligation are themselves subject to sanctions.