DIG 215 Guidelines

Instructor Info

Dr. Mark Sample
Office: Chambers 3286
Office Hours: MW 3-4:30pm and by appointment

Learning Objectives

By the conclusion of the semester, students will be able to:

  • Apply specific discursive and theoretical concepts to the analysis of representations of death in 21st century popular culture
  • Describe significant cultural shifts in the relationship between death and technology over the past 100 years
  • Create original multimodal work that communicates informed theoretical and speculative perspectives on some aspect of death and technology
  • Engage in intellectually valuable discussions about culture and technology
  • Analyze literary, cinematic, ludic, or theoretical perspectives of death, horror, and disaster in the 21st century with original insights, evidentiary reasoning, effective use of sources, and awareness of multiple perspectives and cultural contexts

Reading and Other Course Materials

There are two books to purchase for DIG 215:

In addition to these two novels, there will be various journal articles, book chapters, and online material to read throughout the semester. I strongly urge you either to print out the material or to use a PDF application to take notes on the digital version of the material. You are required to bring the day’s reading to class with you.

We will also watch several videos, which are either available on Netflix or through the Residence Life movies site.

Please be aware that some material we study this semester may disturb you. We will encounter scenes of graphic violence, substance abuse, explicit language, sexual content, and references to abuse. Research shows that emotionally challenging material can still be engaged in productive and intellectually rigorous ways, provided you are prepared with coping strategies that allow you to regulate your emotional response to that material. I am always willing to help you strategize appropriate approaches to our course material.


There are five major assignments over the course of the semester:

  1. Weekly blogging
  2. Postmodern Horror Snapchat Story (Project 1)
  3. Comparative Contemporary Horror Analysis (Project 2)
  4. Haunted Media Project (Project 3)
  5. Final Analytical project

In addition to these five tasks, this class places a high premium on engagement. It is essential that everyone has carefully considered the day’s material, attends class, and participates. I also expect students to bring the day’s readings to class, marked up with notes and annotations. Missing class outside of excused absences will lower your final grade. Religious observation, medical emergencies, or college-sanctioned commitments count as excused absences.

Grading Specifications

DIG 215 will use an unconventional form of assessment called “specifications grading.” All of the details are available on the Grading Specifications page.

Inclusive learning

I am committed to the principle of inclusive learning. This means that our classroom, our virtual spaces, our practices, and our interactions be as inclusive as possible. Mutual respect, civility, and the ability to listen and observe others carefully are crucial to inclusive learning.

The college welcomes requests for accommodations related to disability and will grant those that are determined to be reasonable and maintain the integrity of a program or curriculum. To make such a request or to begin a conversation about a possible request, please contact the Office of Academic Access and Disability Resources, which is located in the Center for Teaching and Learning in the E.H. Little Library: Beth Bleil, Director, bebleil@davidson.edu, 704-894-2129; or Alysen Beaty, Assistant Director, albeaty@davidson.edu, 704-894-2939. It is best to submit accommodation requests within the drop/add period; however, requests can be made at any time in the semester. Please keep in mind that accommodations are not retroactive.

Academic Integrity

Students at Davidson College abide by an Honor Code. The principle of academic integrity is taken very seriously and violations are treated gravely. What does academic integrity mean in this course? Essentially this: when you are responsible for a task, you will perform that task. When you rely on someone else’s work in an aspect of the performance of that task, you will give full credit in the proper, accepted form.

Another aspect of academic integrity is the free play of ideas. Vigorous discussion and debate are encouraged in this course, with the firm expectation that all aspects of the class will be conducted with civility and respect for differing ideas, perspectives, and traditions. When in doubt (of any kind) please ask for guidance and clarification.

Classroom Courtesy

While this course embraces the digital world it also recognizes that digital tools and environments complicate personal interactions. Studies have shown that students who use laptops in class often receive lower grades than those who don’t. Even more worrisome are studies that show laptop users distract students around them. I permit laptops and tablets in class, but only when used for classroom activities, such as note-taking or class readings. Occasionally I may ask students to turn off all digital devices.

Messaging or other cell phone use is unacceptable. Any student whose phone rings during class or who texts in class will be responsible for kicking off the next class day’s discussion.

Late arrivals or early departures from class are disruptive and should be avoided.