December 15th, 2010

Reminder for Final Paper Requirements

Requirements for final paper:

DUE December 20 at 4 pm by email. Once again, technical difficulties will not be accepted as an excuse for lateness. Late papers will be marked down 3 points for every day they are late.

Page length: 10-12 pages in Times 12 point font with 1-inch margins.

Title: Your paper must have a title that explains what the paper is about.

Sources: Your final draft must have at at least 10 secondary sources (this does not include the text you are writing about). Five of these sources must be scholarly, and they must actually appear somewhere in your paper and not just on the works cited list. Your works cited list MUST follow MLA guidelines. You will be marked down for failure to follow MLA format.

Grade Evaluation:

Your grade will be evaluated on the following criteria:

Thesis: Is your thesis clear, does it make sense, and is it an interesting thesis that is worth arguing?

Organization: Is the paper organized, with paragraphs following one another in logical order, all coming together to create a coherent structure?

Language/mechanics: Is the language clear, with correct syntax, mechanics (grammar), and sentence structure? Does the writer demonstrate a clear grasp of the English language? Does all of the language make sense, or is it murky and unclear?

Evidence: Does the writer use proper evidence to back up the points being made? Is this evidence seamlessly incorporated into the paper, and is it convincing?

Sources: Are the sources seamlessly incorporated into the paper in a way that supports the argument and convinces the reader?

Analysis: Is there thoughtful analysis of the material? Is the evidence that is presented followed up by original analysis?

Improvement: Does this draft take into consideration the things we discussed in class workshops and the comments I have given in previous drafts. How well have you responded to constructive criticism, and how improved is this paper over previous incarnations?

Before handing in your paper, make sure of the following:
1. MLA: make sure all of your works cited follow MLA format. Click here for a style guide
2. Citation: make sure you have cited all of your quotations/ideas from your sources
3. Proofread: Go through at least twice and make sure that your paper does not include typos, grammatical errors, or syntactical mistakes. Read the paper out loud to yourself and to another person to make sure that all the sentences make sense and sound natural.

December 2nd, 2010

This week

The reading for this week is an article entitled Digital Biography and is downloadable here: Digital Biography

You will also have 2 blog assignments this week.

1. Read “Digital Biography.” Choose one point that Arthur makes anywhere in this article that you find interesting. Quote that point, explain it in your own words, and then apply it to your own experience creating online auto/biography (on Facebook, or in a blog, an online profile, a bio of somebody else, etc.) (Note: though you need only write about one point, make sure you read the whole article and understand it, as this will be important for our class work next week).

2. For your second entry, which will be your last entry this semester, I want you to reflect on the various texts we have read and the different discussion we have had over the semester. What do you feel you have learned about the genre of autobiography? Which texts did you find the most illuminating in our exploration, and why? Write at least 3 paragraphs.

Print out both entries to bring to class next week.

November 28th, 2010

Blog for 12/1

For this week, write 2-3 paragraphs comparing the ways Jamaica Kincaid and Natasha Trethewey incorporate location into their own autobiographies in A Small Place and Native Guard. How do you see these women relying on or referring to geographic locations/places when describing their own sense of personal identity?

November 16th, 2010

This week

Hi, guys. There’s no blog assignment for this week, though if you want “Extra blog credit” (that is, if you’ve been slacking this semester on the blog, and want to do some work rectifying that) feel free to post a response to A Small Place. Otherwise, just make sure that you’ve finished A Small Place and get out your draft to your group. (Note:the draft for workshopping tomorrow does not have a length requirement, but try to get it to at least 2 pages)

November 8th, 2010

This week’s blog

Click Here for an excerpt from the essay “Autographic Disclosures and Genealogies of Desire in Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home” by Julia Watson (citation included)

Read this excerpt, and then write, in your own words, what you believe to be WATSON’s main argument in this paragraph. In other words, explain what you believe she is trying to get across in this paragraph. Then, look at the quotations she uses. How does she incorporate these quotations? How do these quotations help her get across her specific point? Finally, in a separate paragraph, respond to Watson’s argument here. Do you agree or disagree? Use examples from the text to respond to this critic’s point.

October 28th, 2010

The Kiss Blog

This week’s blog writing prompt is open-ended: write at least 2 paragraphs responding to The Kiss. What were your thoughts while reading the memoir? You can write about anything you choose in relation to this text. If you are stuck for what to talk about, some questions you might want to consider include: How would you compare this memoir to other texts we’ve read in class? Do you see Harrison as a victim, or as a willing participant? How does her relationship with her mother and her grandparents precipitate or enable her affair with her father?

October 27th, 2010


If you have not yet turned in your prospectus and annotated bibliography, you must email it to me (and post it on your blog) by Friday at noon to get any credit for this project. If I do not receive it by Friday at noon, you will get a zero.

October 24th, 2010

Glossary & Blogging

I’m looking forward to reading everybody’s prospectuses. I will try to get them back to you by Wednesday with research suggestions for our library session. We will go to the library AFTER we have met, though, so we will still meet in Klapper at 4:30

Glossary: Congratulations! The class glossary has been put together, and can be found on the “glossary page” or by clicking here.

Blog: For this week, write a blog entry on Anne Sexton’s To Bedlam and Part Way Back. Choose one theme or motif that you notice recurs throughout the collection, or at least in several poems, and explain where you see this theme arising and what you think its significance is to the collection as a whole.

October 20th, 2010

Prospectus and Annotated Bibiolgraphy

As you know, your research prospectus and annotated bibiographies are due by midnight on 10/24 (sunday), which means you must have it both emailed to me as a word attachment, and posted on your blog. This is basically a proposal for your project, and a summary of your research so far. Here are some guidelines for your proposal and bibliography

What is a prospectus?
Your prospectus is a proposal for your research paper. It should be about a page in length, consisting of about two paragraphs. The first paragraph will give an overview of your topic, including what you are going to write about (the texts), what work has been done in this field (what you have come across in your research). At the end of this paragraph, you should state your planned thesis as well as what’s at stake in writing this paper (i.e. your motivation, the “so what” of your thesis). The second (and third, if a third is necessary) paragraph will cover the specifics of what you plan to argue, and HOW you plan to argue this. Here you can elaborate on your thesis statement, and explain what aspects of your text and research will back up your thesis.

Annotated Bibliography:
Your bibliography must be in MLA format. (See Purdue’s page for help if you need it) You will lose points if you do not use correct MLA citation style. For each citation, you must also include an “annotation,” which consists of a brief overview (summary) of the source, and how this source will be useful to you in making your argument.  Each annotation should be a complete paragraph. For this project, you must include five sources, none of which can be dictionary or encyclopedias.

October 17th, 2010

Blogging this week

Hi, guys. So this week I’m going to ask you to write one blog post for your final research paper. As discussed last week, I want you to write up the topic, including exactly which text(s) you will be writing about. Give a tentative these (the main point you will be arguing/exploring) and a “motive.” Refer to the handout for an explanation of these terms if you need to. Basically, for yout thesis you will stake some kind of claim that will be the overarching purpose of the paper to argue. For the motive, you should tell us what the larger intellectual question/debate you are engaging with is. What’s at stake in your writing this topic?

You also need to find 3 sources, 2 of which must be scholarly. Give the bibliographic information and a short descirption of the source in your blog post. Print out the sources and bring them, along with the printed out copy of your blog post, to class. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE PRINTED MATERIALS FOR CLASS.

We will not spend more than half an hour on Wednesday on the paper, as we spent more than half of last week’s class working on this. We will spend most of the course discussing Bedlam, so make sure you bring that text to class. Please also bring My Life and Anderson’s Autobiography.

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