DRAFT (of 6+ pages) due April 18 at 11 pm in OAKS
[complete draft=5% of paper grade]
REVISION (of 10+ pages) due April 23 at 11pm in OAKS
The Extended Researched Analysis will be 10 pages long. It will incorporate some of the material you encounter while performing the research documented by your Annotated Bibliography. However, the paper is not a traditional “research paper” – presenting information that describes a subject – but rather a textual analysis produced in dialogue with others who are also performing literary or other kinds of analyses. Along the way, you may well incorporate some “factual” information that you glean from your research that helps support or demonstrate your analysis, and some of your sources may be primary sources from the middle ages or the present. But in general (depending on the topic you choose), the majority of your sources will be critical analyses.
Your paper will include at least 5 research sources (which may or may not be on your annotated bibliography; in other words, you’re not limited, in your paper, to using only items that you included on your annotated bibliography). 3 of these sources must be critical articles or chapters.
A successful paper will demonstrate the following:
- a thorough understanding of all texts you address in your analysis;
- effective integration of (but not complete reliance upon) source material; and
- a careful, rhetorically thoughtful presentation of your analysis to your audience.
In addition, a successful paper will:
- be analytical and interpretive in purpose and method, rather than only descriptive;
- be structured around a clearly-presented thesis supported by sufficient examples and explanation, in a logical fashion;
- use MLA guidelines effectively; and
- follow the standard expectations of Modern English grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
As the third bullet point of section two above indicates, I expect you to follow MLA style conventions for all text citations, works cited entries, and paper heading and title. I’ve added links here to three different sections of the Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) website that have proven to be very helpful. For further assistance, visit the Writing Lab in Addlestone and/or come see me for a quick personal tutorial; it will be assumed that you know how to fulfill those expectations. Reacquaint yourself with them. Papers must be typed, double-spaced, with one-inch margins, in a font such as Times New Roman 12-point.
(Do remember that your Annotated Bibliography does not serve as a Works Cited page for the paper itself. You must turn in a new Works Cited page with the paper, one that has no annotations and includes only those texts you use in your paper.)
Papers will be graded in terms of grammar, style, and structure as well as content and argumentative strategies. I’m always happy to discuss your brainstorming, your early plans, your rough drafts, revisions, and research, and any general or specific questions about your writing.
Below are your different options for your paper.
A. PURSUING YOUR OWN POSTHUMANISM
We’ve spent the semester considering a range of posthumanist possibilities in our analyses of imaginative and, in the premodern period, spiritual texts. Now’s your chance to perform a reading of a text or two that we haven’t discussed in class. You might find you’re desperate to work with Graham’s chapter where she analyzes Data in Star Trek: Next Generation, two texts we’ve not addressed. Perhaps you’re wondering how current werewolf stories might work, situated alongside the medieval texts we’ve encountered. Maybe Ray Kurzweil’s ideas have intrigued (or repelled) you, and you’d like to spend a little time with his transhumanist outlook and consider it in relation to what we’ve found in our investigations. Alternatively, you may have read a text for another class (English, Philosophy, Political Science, etc.), or simply encountered the text in your non-academic life, that has struck you as particularly pertinent to a discussion of posthumanism or to receiving a posthumanist analysis. Whatever your particular primary text or texts–which can not be one we have covered in class–you will need to take a self-consciously posthumanist perspective in your analysis.
B. TALKING BACK
Susan Conklin Akbari’s book review essay in postmedieval, which we read for class March 22, revealed that this course is a product of a research project of mine that first resulted in a journal article addressing many of the texts and themes that we have been and will be encountering this semester. For this paper option, see what you have to say in response to my argument there (from 2007, so now [ouch] five years old), selecting a particular angle and finding other critics (and theorists, if you so choose) to invite to the conversation. (Please note that I’m asking you to take on my argument and analyses there, rather than simply confirming them. Don’t be afraid to challenge me, just as Akbari did in part in her book review essay.)
Some quick investigation suggests that’s a neologism. I’m running with it. (Perhaps temporohybridity would work better? I’m undecided.) For this option, the central requirement is that you put the premodern and the contemporary in the same moment–that is, the moment of you paper–and work from a sense of their relationship as being not one of cause-and-effect or of evolution (or even metamorphosis) but instead as a matter of co-existence, of hybridity. As we learned in Akbari’s and Hayles’ essays from postmedieval, Joy and Neufeld’s introduction to the special issue of the Journal of Narrative Theory addresses this possibility in some depth. Bynum’s introduction to Metamorphosis and Identity could well be of help here, too. For this paper, select a main imaginative or spiritual text from each period (from our course readings, or not) and perform an analysis of them from a perspective that diminishes the period canonicity that is so dominant in English Studies and instead put them in direct conversation. Your research assistants will be analyses of the two texts and/or essays on temporality, including, if you wish, the essay by Joy and Neufeld as well as the essays by Akbari and Hayles.
D. WILD CARD
This is the “open” option. Take some time to reflect over the course of the semester, looking back at the different readings from Hayles, Graham, Bynum, and others and at the different premodern and contemporary texts. It’s quite likely that something has struck you along the way that you would like to know more about, to investigate further. Now’s your chance! You may find that a course blog post and the comments it generates leads you toward a question you’d like to pursue in further depth. You may want to get to know medieval disability studies better (Graham), or medieval queer theory (Akbari). You might find some notes in the margin of one of your books or a comment in the Week in Review overview available on the course blog that provokes further thought. The only requirement for this option is that it relates specifically and directly to the course, and that it includes both elements of the course–literature, and object-oriented approaches.