General thoughts: Participation consists primarily in your willingness and your preparation for taking part in discussion in class. You will not be graded on the quality of your ideas, so do not feel restrained from speaking up in class because you do not fully understand. Questions are as much a part of participation as observations are.
Grading Participation: Your grade will have both a subjective and an objective basis.
Subjective: A certain amount of your participation grade will be based on my own observations. Have I had to drag you into participation kicking and screaming, or have you spoken up, responded to me and other students, and posed questions on your own?
Objective: In order to participate at all you first have to do two things: 1) Show up; 2) Do the readings. Your attendance will have an impact on your participation grade. I may also occasionally ask you to write short (one or two paragraphs, no more than a page) reading reaction pieces. Sometimes these will be announced, sometimes they will not.