INTD 100 Syllabus

Professor: Kate Durbin

Email: *Please see email guidelines below

INTD 100: Monsters and Fairytales

“A nightmarish figure dwelling somewhere between genuine terror and high camp, a morbid repository for the psychic projections of diverse cultures, an endless recyclable mass-media icon, the vampire is an enduring object of fascination, fear, ridicule, and reverence.”

-back cover of The Vampire Lectures by Laurence Rickels

“Monsters…serve as the ultimate incorporation of our anxieties—about history, about identity, about our very humanity. As they always will.”–Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Monster Theory

"Fairy tales are not unique the contrary, these stories circulate in multiple versions, reconfigured by each telling to form kaleidoscopic variations with distinctly different effects."-Angela Carter

Goals: Freshman Writing

Freshman Writing Seminars introduce Whittier students to Whittier’s Writing Program. These seminars, themed courses designed by faculty from all disciplines, delve into challenging intellectual questions which freshman explore in class discussions and in essays. Composition instruction emphasizes writing as a process involving the constructive critical collaboration of the author, the author’s peers, and the instructor. Seminar size is limited to 15 students, and seminar content differs each year. Each seminar is 3 units and is taken for a letter grade.

Through analysis of complex texts chosen to frame a central course theme students sharpen critical reading and thinking skills. 

Students transfer and apply these skills to writing assignments designed to teach the use of description, narration, exposition, analysis, argument, and synthesis as developmental strategies but not as ends in themselves.

Students are also introduced to research-based writing, writing under time pressure, and correct mechanics of language. 

Extensive revision is emphasized as integral to the writing process. 

Objectives: Freshman Writing

The student identifies, summarizes, and critiques the arguments presented in class readings.

The student demonstrates the ability to write an effective essay which states and supports a thesis.

The student demonstrates the ability to communicate clearly, in written and oral form, conclusions about complex problems.

The student evaluates the mechanical strength of his/her own writing.

The student develops a habit of revision.

The student writes a final analytical paper of more substantial length supported by research.

The class readings will act as prompts for critical thinking about and engagement with others’ writing. As a key part of a community of writers, you will actively critique your peers’ work. Lively and regular engagement in the classroom is also necessary to your success in INTD 100. This class, which emphasizes the process of writing, will require a considerable workload, and moves at a rapid pace, so you must be prepared to commit a substantial amount of time to each assignment.

Why Monsters? Why Fairy Tales?

Monsters have been with us since the dawn of storytelling. From the chupacabra of Latin America to Dracula of Eastern and then Western Europe to the boogeyman of suburban childhood to the globalized threat of the zombies of 28 Days Later to the sparkly North American vampires of the Twilight series, monsters have long provided us with clues to better understanding the various cultures from which they spawned—in particular, to understanding cultural fears and desires. Three persistent cultural fears and desires monsters remind us of—and of which we will talk about at length in this class—are long-standing human feelings toward difference (the Other), sex, and death.

Monsters have stalked us throughout the centuries, mutating with the times and yet still remaining stubbornly socially unacceptable and often undead. In this course, we will explore how the monster’s trajectory through culture, time and space reflects our own.

Fairy tales are rife with monsters--from the big bad wolf to the witch in Sleeping Beauty. We will examine the ways in which the narratives of fairy tales have shaped various social norms and taboos for centuries. We will look at the ways in which these archetypal narratives still pop up in our world today, even where we least expect it. We will also look for the ways in which some of these narratives have shifted with the times to reveal cultural shifts in values.

Required Texts and Supplies

The Norton Classic Fairy Tales the Second Norton Edition edited by Mary Tatar  ISBN: 978039397277

The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter ISBN: 9780143107613

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson ISBN: 9780765357151

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Bedford St. Martins Edition edited by Johanna M. Smith  ISBN: 9780312191269

For MLA formatting and citation requirements, you may choose to use the OWL at Purdue website  or to purchase MLA Handbook 8th Edition ISBN: 9781603292627

Always, always bring the book you were assigned to read to every class meeting unless informed otherwise by your Professor.

All books are available in the Whittier College Bookstore, and also can be purchased at (please choose 2-day delivery if you order online, and order immediately).

Course Requirements

Students will write several essays, one of which is an in-class essay. The course will also include in-class quizzes, writing process work, Peer Reviews, and other group work. Students will compose first drafts of most of their essays, in addition to other pre-writing activities such as outlining and brainstorming. They may also receive the opportunity to share some of their writing aloud with the entire class, as well as with one another in Peer Reviews. Any work done in class cannot be made up if missed.

Note: To insure participation and on-time attendance, there will often be a daily reading question at the beginning of class which functions both as a critical writing assignment and a reading/participation quiz.  These quizzes are absolutely unrepeatable and impossible to make up.

You must do your reading regularly. Anyone who does not regularly do well on reading quizzes will not pass the course.

Written Assignment Standards

Any writing done outside of class must be typed and follow the conventions of MLA style (see Owl at Purdue's MLA Style Guide). All outside assignments should be in twelve point Times New Roman or Garamond fonts, with one-inch margins, and black ink only. Do not use title pages or report covers; follow the MLA guidelines for formatting. All copies must be submitted on time. In addition, please think ahead when it comes to printing out, stapling essays, etc. Never turn in faded printing or unstapled documents.  Never turn in any assignment without your name, my name, the date, and the class time, typed in the far left corner. Points will be taken off for failure to follow these basic instructions.

Very Important Note: While you will be turning in hard copies of your rough drafts and a few other assignments, you will be required to turn in your final drafts electronically via Moodle only. The same formatting and MLA guidelines apply to these Moodle assignments, as does the fact that they are due at the beginning of class. All of your Moodle assignments will receive notes and scores electronically only, which is very convenient, organized, and helpful for both you and me.

Points Breakdown

Quizzes, Reading, Class Participation and Peer Review: 200

Essay #1 Partial Draft: 50

Essay #1 Final Draft/Revision: 150

Essay #2 In-Class Essay—200

Essay #3 Creative Component--200

Essay #3 Critical Essay—200

Total: 1000

Grade Scale and Rubric

Please note that individual rubrics for each major assignment, as well as for your in-class reading quizzes and activities will be provided on the course blog. We will cover them in class as well. Please review these carefully and ask questions if you have them.

Attendance &

On-Time Work Policies

As your success depends on regular attendance and active participation, regular attendance is required.  Work done in class—quizzes, group work, Peer Reviews, etc.—cannot be made up under any circumstances, and you will not be allowed to make up work completed after you arrive. You will also not receive participation credit if you are not in class to participate! Participation credit is primarily given for sharing your thoughts aloud during class discussions--so please speak up. I am aware some students are shyer than others. While there will be plenty of opportunities for you to share in smaller groups with one another, I also ask that you share your thoughts with the larger group from time to time. One vital skill that is important to learn in college is speaking in front of others, and here you are among friends. I never judge any of my students for giving “wrong” answers—instead, our dialogues are a vital part of the learning process in class. You are not being judged for your thoughts, and on the contrary, I am thrilled to hear them.

If you have to be absent and a hard copy is due, please make arrangements with a classmate to turn it in for you, or turn in your work to the English Department office on the second floor of Hoover before the start of class (I will pick it up before class begins).

No excuses for late work, barring written, professional proof of illness or emergency, will be accepted without prior notice. These must be sent no later than the day the assignment is due.

This policy also applies to absences. If you would like an absence to be excused, you must have written, professional proof of an emergency. 

All homework assignments and essays are due no later than the beginning of class. Late papers will not be accepted under any but the most extreme circumstances, and written proof will always be required.

Also, please remember that final drafts are due via Moodle only.

Note: You are allowed two unexcused absences, free and clear, during the semester. Use these wisely, as you cannot make up missed in-class work (missing a discussion and reading quiz or two won't harm your overall grade but more than that will, and missing workshops and other important class days will certainly harm your grade). Please note that after two unexcused absences, the instructor reserves the right to lower your final grade by one letter score per absence.

Please note that reasonable accommodations can be arranged through Disabilities Services. This includes things like more time on in-class exams, distraction-free testing, and more.

Peer Review/Workshop Notes

Please note that workshop/peer review days are vital days to be in class. If you miss these days, it will only mar your success in the course. On workshop days, you will review each other's writing, giving help to your peers and  gaining valuable insights into your own writing processes.

Do not miss peer review days. You will bring two hard copies of your papers on these days, and they need to be done to my instructions. If I say 3 pages, typed and double-spaced, don't bring in 1 and a half pages.

Please note that in order to ensure that everyone during the workshop gets a fair and helpful exchange, that anyone who does not have a paper with them on workshop day that is to the required specifications, and anyone who does not physically print out their work, will be asked to leave and take an absence for the day.  

Class Conduct

Our goal is to create a calm, focused space in which we can learn and enjoy doing so.

Cell phones should be quiet and out of sight for the entire duration of class.  Absolutely no texting and no taking phone calls during class (including stepping out of the room to take a phone call). If I see you looking at your phone once class has started (even just pulling it out of your pocket), I will ask you to place it safely on the podium until the end of class.

Please be respectful and do not talk while others are talking, or while I am talking. Raise your hand before speaking. 

You are welcome to bring food and drinks into class provided they don’t become a distraction.

Please remain alert and focused during class. Absolutely no slumping over on your desk or sleeping. 

Note: If you prefer to take notes on a laptop or iPad please discuss this with me. In general, I prefer for you to take notes on paper, so as not to disrupt the focus of our attentions in class, but I am willing to make exceptions with good reason.

Email Etiquette

If you have a question about the reading, homework, or an assignment in the course, please first ask a responsible classmate or the class Writing Associate. If you cannot get your question answered sufficiently, then feel free to email me. I ask you to first inquire with them before emailing me, as I have 60 Whittier writing students, and I need to focus my time on preparing for our classes and grading your work.

If you miss a class session, please do not email me asking what you missed. Get your updates from a peer in the class.

When you email me during the week, you can expect a response within 24 hours. On the weekend, it is 48 hours.

Title IX

Whittier College is dedicated to providing a safe and equitable learning environment for all students. Sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, dating violence and domestic violence, is prohibited by the College. You are encouraged to report any incidents to the Title IX Coordinator, Cynthia Joseph, at 562-907-4830 or For more information about reporting and prohibited conduct, please see the Sexual Misconduct Policy at

Disabilities Services

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact Disability Services.  Student Disability Services is located on the ground floor of the Library building and can be reached by calling (562) 907-4825.

Please note that classroom accommodations for disabilities should firstly go through Disabilities Services, and that your Professor requires an email from Disabilities Services with specific accommodations laid out in order to accommodate.

Academic Honesty Statement and Policy

Please review the Whittier College Academic Honesty web page for the most recent college policy on academic honesty at

Final Thoughts

A composition class requires hard work and is time consuming.  Double check your schedule to be sure you have allotted enough time for this class.  The rule of thumb is to expect to work two hours out of class for every hour in class.

This will be one of the most important classes you take—one that will affect how you do in your other classes as well as your job performance after graduation.  Work hard.  Do well.  Your hard work will pay rich dividends beyond your academic career.

*A syllabus is a contract. Your continued attendance in this class means that you have read, understand, and agree to all of the expectations, policies and guidelines in this syllabus.