General Remarks on Papers (HUM415)

Here are a few observations and admonitions about the papers in aggregate:

1. Neither neoliberalism nor capitalism are proper nouns.

2. Direct quotes should be cited and in quotations. Indirect quotes should be cited.

3. Writers don’t “talk” about their subjects. They write, argue, assert, posit, demonstrate, claim, imply, suggest, etc.

4. Don’t use “etc.” in a list.

5. Neoliberalism and capitalism are not simply ideas, ideals, concepts, or theories. They are politico-economic structures which entail specific social relations. We must think the present in terms of both material realities and representational imaginaries.

6. Prune the excess; be concise. On the other hand, don’t write in sentence fragments.

7. Try to construct and inhabit an academic voice.

8. We don’t live in a “capitalistic” society; we live in a capitalist society. The same goes for “neoliberalistic.” The suffix “-ic” indicates the subject in question is LIKE something else.

9. If you think that neoliberalism was a response to the Great Depression please don’t mention it to me. I will immediately become a hedonic depressive.

10. “Relatable” is a weak word because it is so easy to misconstrue. Events are “relatable”– which is to say that they can be related in the form of a story. To remark that a phenomenon is “relatable” is also to suggest that it is something to which I can relate. Because of this imprecision “relatable” is a word to be avoided.

11. Something is not “based off of” another thing.  ex. “Neoliberalism may be based on powerful ideals of freedom, but its ideological commitments confuse the freedom of markets for political freedom.”

12. If I read that neoliberalism is like “capitalism on steroids” one more time I may vomit. The “on steroids” construction, like its close cousin “on acid” (ex. “Lars von Trier’s The Kingdom is like ER on acid!”) is a lazy cliche.

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