Research Essay (45%)
You can recycle any of the work that you have generated through the homework assignments in the seminar paper itself; e.g. by expanding one of your responses into a more formal (and more organized) essay, by incorporating literary criticism or theory that you covered for outside research into your essay, or by using the discussion questions as a basis for further in-depth analysis and investigation.
The research essay must offer a convincing and compelling interpretation of one of the literary texts that we have covered in the course. You can approach that literary text by emphasizing an important theoretical issue (e.g. the inscription of the female body by colonial discourse), highlighting the relationship between the text and its cultural and/or historical context (e.g. how the slave trade or the marriage market inform Steele’s “Inkle and Yarico”), or analyzing the various aesthetic elements that together construct—or deconstruct—its structure and form (symbols, images, motifs, irony, setting, etc.).
In short, you can take almost any critical approach to the literature that you wish, so long as that approach results in an interpretation of the literary text that is unique to yourself as well as grounded in and informed by previous scholarship.
Altogether, you will need some combination of each of the following to support your argument, with multiple examples of some of these sources depending on your particular approach:
For your research proposal, you will need the five minimum sources listed above; however, for the research essay itself, you will need three additional sources from any of the four categories for a total of eight sources, not including the literary text itself.
The only sources that you can list on a Works Cited page are those that you actually quote, so make sure to engage directly with at least one passage from each of your sources rather than alluding to the arguments found within them indirectly or loosely.
Research Proposal (15%)
In the research proposal (4 pages minimum, due April 5 by 6PM), you will identify the literary text that you will be interpreting, the main theoretical concept that you will be using to approach the text, and the additional sources that you will be citing to support your claims. All in all, the proposal must include the following:
The research proposal is meant to assist in writing the paper and in keeping your focus unified throughout. It will certainly assist me in giving you the best feedback possible for in organizing, supporting, and conceptualizing the essay. You can employ language from the research proposal within the research essay itself, albeit with the caveat that you must integrate those expressions smoothly and appropriately into the flow of the essay.
Research Presentation (15%)
On the last day of the term, April 23, you will give a conference-style presentation drawn from your seminar paper. After the presentation, you will respond to questions from a respondent. You will only have 14-15 minutes to present, which is equivalent to 6-7 pages of text (2 minutes per page is the golden rule).
¬ The papers must have the standard 12-point font and 1-inch margins.
¬ They need to be 16-20 pages in length.
¬ Put page numbers on your essay, preferably with your last name inside the top margin as required for MLA formatting.
¬ Papers are due April 26 (12 PM).
Research and Formatting Guidelines for the Paper
See the Researching Literature handout (http://people.emich.edu/acoykenda/demo.htm) for basic guidelines on research, as well as the handout on MLA documentation in the Electronic Reserves. You must make at least a decent attempt to format the paper according to MLA conventions—not obsessively so but generally so. For example, provide parenthetical citations at the end of sentences with the page number and author’s last name when necessary—(Marx 55)—and provide a Works Cited page that includes the sources which you have cited directly in the paper (and only those sources). You can model your citations on the hypothetical ones that follow, just make sure to alphabetize and double-space them:
Paula. The Allyn
and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring.
Anthology or Collection:
Richter, David H., ed. Critical
Tradition: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends.
Chapters from a Book or Collection:
“Talk to Me: Engaging Reluctant Writers.” A Tutor's Guide: Helping Writers One to
One. Ed. Ben Rafoth.
Duvall, John N.
“The (Super)Marketplace of Images: Television
as Unmediated Mediation in DeLillo’s White Noise.”
Journals Found through an Online Database:
“The Mountain Lions of