Hum 2 section 1
Unpacking Europe




You will turn in two short research essays (4-6 pages, 2 references) and one longer (10 pages, 5 references) research paper in the course of the semester. Papers are typed, double spaced and follow an acknowledged format for footnotes and references (such as MLA – see Hacker A Writer’s Reference sections M and A).


Short research papers (4-6 pages, 2 references each; first drafts due for peer review 2/9 and 3/8; final drafts due 2/13 and 3/12)

In the first essay you develop a cogent argument about a text or artifact we have discussed in class. You may, alternatively, compare and contrast two different approaches found in the literature. It is imperative that you develop an independent argument that goes beyond the surface of the material we discuss in class.


In the second essay you may do one of two things: a. select a work of art and “unpack” it – that is to say, discuss and analyze its cultural life; or b. discuss the question “Does culture have politics?” In the first case, you describe the object, place it in a context, and use texts presented in class to analyze the object’s cultural life. In the second case, you use class materials and examples to develop a sustainable argument in support of your answer to the question.


Research essay (10 pages, 5 references, first draft due for peer review 4/21; final version due 4/28)

Advance a thesis that is in any way related to the theme of this class: Unpacking Europe. The paper should include your own argument, based on the discussion of at least 5 sources; data from these sources serve to flesh out your topic and to lend authority to your position. Documentation and bibliography should follow an acknowledged reference format. A brief description of your topic and a research plan are due 4/7 – these will be discussed in class; an annotated bibliography and thesis are due 4/14; the first version of the research paper is due for peer review on 4/21; and the final draft of the paper is due 4/28). Missing any of these deadlines will cost you points.


First drafts of essays will be peer edited in class and are due 2/9 and 3/8.


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 two (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 (articles/chapters) we read in class. References should conform to an acknowledged 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.
  5. The paper is built around a provocative and insightful thesis, entails a clear argument, and effectively expresses an opinion or makes a point.
  6. The paper has an introduction, in which you establish credibility; this intro ends with your thesis (Hacker C13-15, C-39). The thesis states the main point you will be making in your paper.
  7. It 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).



Papers should adhere to the required length. They should include your name, class and section number, title, and references.