|History of Ideas
Prof. B. Harvey
Plan 2 Paper Instructions
***If you have strong familiarity with a particular field or subject matter, you may (after convincing me of your competence) combine, from the outset, the 6 page/10 page expansion into a serious research/analytical paper that is 15 pages long. There are many possibilities: for instance, if you are interested in Clinical Psychology, you could investigate to what extent Freud’s theories are still held to be useful; if you are in Nursing or Biology, you could investigate birth-labor practices in the early 19th-century in respect to Shelley’s Frankenstein; if you are an English or Political Science major, you could focus on the covert social/class issues in Romantic poetry. This combined paper will be worth 40% of your course grade.
--Due Feb. 28: Email me one paragraph on your essay topic and the issues you anticipate exploring: do NOT send an outline.
--Due March 9: Six-page paper due. (If you have two major exams, or essays due, in other classes the same week that this assignment is due, you may submit it the following week. You must get permission in advance for this option.)
--Due April 20: 10-page expansion/researched version due. You do NOT expand the paper if you elect to do the take-home final exam synthesis paper.
--***Due date for combined paper: this will be determined on an individual basis, as draft-to-completion sequences vary according to discipline and topic.
Here are the Rules
1) The goal is to write a focused, specific analysis of one of the texts we've studied or a discrete/particular issue related to one of the texts we’ve studied, using your insights, not secondary research materials. Broad, survey approaches are not suitable; diving deep into a text or issue is the entire purpose. You may draw upon information/perspectives gleaned from class or my handouts, but the ideas and particular angle or interpretive "take" should be your own. Do NOT use web sample papers, SparkNotes, etc. to get ideas or for phrasing.
2) I highly encourage cross-disciplinary approaches (examples given at *** above).
3) Your essay should be 6 pages long or longer, double-spaced, with normal 1 inch margins.
4) Organization, quality of analysis, and style will all be factors in determining your grade, worth 20% of the course grade. Be sure to make a computer-disk backup.
5) Please do not be deluded into a false sense of security if are getting good grades on the journals. Journal entries do not require a sustained architecture or trajectory, essays do. My standards for papers are very rigorous. I will do all I can to help you, but I have little patience for slop.
6) It might happen that you opt not to expand your 6-pager (in which case you take the Take-Home), but still would like to revise it (i.e. you got a low grade). I will negotiate revision possibilities on an individual basis. As a carrot to those who get a low grade on the 6-pager, but expand it into a fantastic 10-pager: typically, the first grade vaporizes, and the 10-page version counts twice as much (assuming an initial good-faith effort).
7) I have not provided general essay writing guidelines, because you may be writing on a topic that is field specific. However, you should consult the general guidelines (and grading scale and checklist) available on the class website for Plan 1 essays, which are more or less appropriate for all focused, analytical writing.
Research Expansion Rules
Expanding (and revising) your essay gives you the opportunity to do something intellectually mature and also somewhat daunting. I don't want you to just fix a few sentence problems or "squeeze out" additional pages. You must scrutinize what you've said, looking for angles of complexity that need to be considered, for additional specifics that will help round out a train of thought, and so forth. The goal will be to rethink/revise/expand your paper, making it as nuanced and well-crafted as possible, and to integrate research, for a total of 10 or so pages.
Basic Points about the Research Expansion
--The purpose of doing research, for this paper, is not:
--to exhaust yourself tracking down other peoples' ideas
--to provide a conveyor belt from the library to me
--to fill in the extra four pages with research but no further analysis or refinement of analysis
--The purpose is, however:
--to find some biographical or historical/cultural or literary-critical or scientific or sociological/psychological information that would help support your argument and ideas
--to integrate your findings in a fashion that buttresses your points but avoids dominating or rhetorically usurping them
--to discover the pleasure of tapping into a scholarly dialogue
--You must integrate into your essay at least four significant pieces of research information from four sources, one of which should be a scholarly book. Quality sources, used thoughtfully: this is key, not the amassment of quotes from a bunch of different sources.
--You may quote directly, paraphrase, or combine quote and paraphrase: I leave the choice or mixture to you, as long as you cite sources correctly (using whatever method you were trained in by your composition instructor or appropriate to your major/discipline).
--You may locate sources via the vast array of directories, indexes, and so on available to you through the FIU library website or via general WWW search engines. The information must, however, come from a non-encyclopedia type source. You can use essays or background materials that appear on the WWW, but only if they are written by real scholars (somewhere credit will be given on the site)—usually a professor at a university. You should try to figure out what you want to find and how to find it on your own. But I'll be available via email or during office hours if you end up needing some tips and assistance. I highly recommend that you use the "Project Muse" database (see the A-Z electronic databases at the FIU online library site), which provide html or pdf essays from a wide array of scholarly journals.
--You must provide an annotated Bibliography, which just means you follow each bibliographic entry with a brief paragraph (a sentence or two might do) highlighting the significance or merits of the scholarly article or book. This should be written in an objective, not personal style. E.g., “Harvey’s essay provides a valuable Marxist counterpoint to the liberal insistence on imaginative autonomy in Wordsworth’s ‘Tintern Abbey.” He takes note, for example, of what seems to be the poet’s sentimentalization of impoverished outcasts in the woods, and critiques the poem as being all-too-touristy.”