Final Papers (HUM303/415/455/470)

The final papers are to be turned in on the last day of class in hard copy format as well as to I will provide you with a password prior to the due date. In the meantime, here are some basic guidelines for the final papers.

1. The final paper ought to address some of the significant themes of the course. It ought to make use of the critical vocabulary that we have amassed this semester. It ought to show fluency with the historical contexts provided in readings and in class.

2. Students are asked to select more than one primary text for the purposes of literary analysis. In addition to those texts they should undertake their own research and incorporate secondary sources into their papers. Some useful databases available through the library homepage include JSTOR, Project Muse, and Secondary sources should come from “legitimate” publications: peer-reviewed journals, BOOKS, encyclopedias, documentary films, etc.

3. Literary (and film) analysis depends on an understanding of the formal elements that go into a particular text or genre. In terms of literature, we can think of character, setting, plot, diction and detail, tone, allegory, metaphor, etc. Film uses a different formal “language,” though it is just as dependent on the patterning or interrelating of these components: editing, framing, lighting, soundtrack, camera movement and angle, etc. Each text we read/screen is a project in its own right, one with specific goals in mind that the text may or may not succeed in achieving. Above all, texts are ideological: they assert or question certain values. Some of the theoretical materials discussed at the beginning of the semester may prove helpful in thinking through the ideological dimensions of the assigned texts.

4. Students are expected to bring two hard copies of a well-developed paper topic complete with a preliminary bibliography (works to be cited) in MLA format to the first class meeting after Fall break. This is a graded assignment that will fall under the “class work” portion of your final grade. You may find that a particularly perceptive response to one of the prompts on the midterm provides the basis of a paper topic. You could also consult the course description on the course information page. One copy of your well-developed paper topic will be turned in to me. The other will be used in a workshop activity scheduled for that day.

5. You are welcome to email me ideas for paper topics prior to the first class meeting after Fall break. I strongly advise that you work out some of your preliminary ideas in dialog with other students in the class.

2 thoughts on “Final Papers (HUM303/415/455/470)

  1. Peter Sousa

    An example would be helpful. I am looking at the second prompt where it says to select more than one of the texts and at the fourth prompt where it says a response to one of the midterm questions could be a topic; could you please be more specific?

    1. apciv Post author

      The response to a prompt might be a place to begin. IF you did well on that prompt then it seems you have some solid knowledge about the concept or text. So if you got a 9 or 10 on a prompt like “geographical imaginary” then that seems like a major theme of the course that you could address using some of the texts we’ve covered in class. Email me and we can discuss it in greater detail.

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