You will turn in three short research essays (4-6 pages, 2 references) and one longer (10 -15 pages, 5 references) research paper in the course of the semester. Papers are typed, double spaced, and follow a conventional format for footnotes and references (such as MLA - see Hacker A Writer's Reference sections M and A).
Short research essays (4-6 pages, 2 references each; first drafts are due for peer review on 2/9, 3/9, and 4/13; final drafts are due in class on Friday 2/13 and 3/13, and 4/15. These essays are responses to the texts, movies, and class discussions. In these essays you address the "theme of the month": "Power?" in the first paper, "The Cost of Power" in the second, and "The power of words" in the third. In each essay, you develop a cogent and insightful argument about a movie or text we have discussed in class; while the first paper uses class material, the second and third require and outside source that you find and study independently. Feel free to work with anything that came up during our discussions: everything we have said is, so to speak, in the public domain. In all cases it is imperative that you develop your own, independent argument. I want to see you think!
The research paper is
due for peer review on 4/25; you hand over the final version in class on 4/27.
This paper is more involved; it is 10 pages in length (no less, and no more
than 15!) and it builds on 5 references: sources you find and study on your
own. (Of course Gwen and I will help). The paper addresses the general theme
of this class and is a further exploration and expansion of one of the papers
you wrote earlier in the semester. It is thoughtful and carefully argued, it
discusses the sources in a meaningful way, and it invites the reader to think
along with you. You should begin to think about the research paper immediately
after Spring break: play around with topics and research questions, go to the
library to find your sources, talk to us about what would be a good research
question in the framework of this class. While I will remind you to get your
act together, you are pretty much on your own in pacing this project. DO NOT
POSTPONE IT UNTIL THE LAST WEEK!
Reminder: First drafts
of essays will be peer edited in class and are due 2/9 and 3/8, 4/13, 4/25.
It is your responsibility towards your classmates to have it done!
In all writing assignments
you should keep in mind the following. You seek to persuade your reader of your
argument. Be certain that your thesis is interesting and provocative; also be
sure that you have the materials/information to support it. Refer to Hacker
A Writer's Reference (pp. 79-81) to refresh your memory on how to start a (research)
paper and craft a thesis. For your first three (short) research essays you need
not look for outside references to support your arguments. You must, however,
incorporate and refer to at least two of the texts/movies we discussed in class
(a movie counts as a reference). References should conform to a conventional
style format (again, see Hacker).
This is what I expect to find in a high-pass paper:
1. It is carefully checked and corrected for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and flow of the argument. When in doubt, consult Hacker's "A Writer's Reference."
2. It addresses the topic of the course in a thoughtful manner.
3. You use words carefully, effectively, and concisely; you have asked yourself if every one of your sentences is necessary, contributes to your argument, and conveys what you want it to say.
4. The paper is concrete and concise and entails examples. Refer to, and unpack specific scenes and text passages for evidence; substantiate. NO GENERALIZATIONS!
5. The paper is built around a provocative and insightful thesis, entails a clear argument, and effectively expresses an opinion or makes a point. Avoid trivialities; don't give plot descriptions in lieu of analysis.
6. The paper has an introduction, in which invite the reader to go along with you and where you establish credibility. Typically, the intro culminates in the thesis that motivates the paper (see Hacker C13-15, C-39).
7. The paper mobilizes reliable resources and is built upon verifiable information; it avoids speculation or rampant fantasizing.
8. This information is made traceable; you give the reader access to your sources by painstakingly referencing them.
9. The paper ends with a list of works cited; use one of the established reference formats, for instance the MLA format that is described in Hacker (1999, section M). Hacker also describes the proper way to reference electronic sources (1999, pp. 339-341).
10. The paper adheres to the required length. Make sure it includes your name, class and section number, title, and references.