This class is a seminar intended to engender discussions of issues relevant to students' varied disciplinary contexts. Students are expected to come to class prepared to engage in robust, critical, constructive discussion of the assigned readings.
Students will be divided into two groups, with alternating biweekly deadlines for response papers. Each student will write a total of six reflection papers on the readings for the current and (as an option) the previous week, in which they will summarize and critique the readings in relation to the course themes.
For each class, one student will be responsible for reading and responding to that week's reflection papers and organizing the class discussion around the issues raised. That student will write a summary/critique of the week's readings and class discussion.
The research paper consists of three parts: the proposal, the presentation, and the paper itself.
The proposal contains a statement about your topic and thesis, as well as, an annotated bibliography.
Explain the topic and thesis of your essay, explaining what you are going to be writing about and why it is important. Basically, you want to be able to answer the "So What?" question. Then you need to frame your thesis in terms of the major debates in your field of choice. Here you will also want to demonstrate your mastery of the field in which you are researching, making sure that your field is narrow enough that your research can be comprehensive.
Annotated Bibliography (5–7 pages)
You can list as many sources as you like, but you should write paragraph-long annotations of at least 10 sources, of which at least five should be books. (Books can be monographs or edited collections of articles.) Be sure that the ones you annotate present a range of viewpoints. These sources should be central to your project, and to the field that your topic fits into. If possible, try to find some sources that are linked to each other. One of the best ways to chase down linked sources is to use the notes in one article to find another related article. Once you have found two or three works that cite each other, read through their bibliographies to see what major sources they share. These are probably the key sources on your topic.
The final class of the semester will be run as a session from an academic conference. Students with related topics will offer 15–20 minute presentations of their research, followed by a general discussion.
The actual paper may turn out to be shorter than the proposal. Start with the Annotated Bibliography and with sources that give you a full picture of your topic. Of course, the sources will also determine your choice of topic to some extent. You'll need to study them closely in order to learn the major debates in your chosen area, and to locate the key sources. Once you've evaluated the sources, and found a group of good sources that construct a full picture for you, Part A above will be pretty straightforward.