Contemporary Social Issues: Analyzing Critically, Arguing Persuasively

Fall and Winter, 2004-05


Fall Writing Assignments

For each seminar, turn in a one- to two-paragraph summary of the main argument presented in the readings for the day. In most cases, the argument should be clear, although with a book such as There Are No Children Here you will have to draw out the implications or the main thrust of what he describes. In each case, however, make sure you tell us what the author’s purpose, argument, and conclusions are, not what you think of them. You may add a separate paragraph on what you think, but do not let them bleed into each other.
In addition, you will have several longer assignments on which we will give you extensive feedback:
Week II
Monday, October 11: Come in with 8 typed-up facts, pieces of data, or telling incidents about the history or contemporary situation of education for African Americans – all drawn from our readings -- and 5 generalizations about the topic, also based on our readings or your interpretation of them. Give one copy to your seminar leader and keep one for yourself to bring to class on Tuesday.
Tuesday, October 12: During writing workshop, you will break into groups of 2 to 3, across seminars, read each other’s lists, and discuss how to turn some of the data and generalizations into a single organizing idea or thesis statement for your paper.
Week IV

On Monday, turn in a thesis-driven 3-6 page essay on the topic of education and African-Americans. Use at least 5 pieces of information (not generalizations, assertions, or quotes) to back up your assertions and generalizations. On a separate piece of paper, turn in a typed one-sentence thesis statement for your paper and a 5-6 sentence outline of your argument.
Week VI

Revised first essay due on Monday, Nov. 1

Remember that a revision is not an edit. It involves substantial rethinking and recasting. You will refocus some paragraphs and replace others entirely. No paragraph should remain unchanged; few should even remain in the same order.

Prospectus for second essay due on Monday, Nov. 15
Week IX
Completed second essay due on Friday, Dec. 3
Week X
Tuesday, 10:00 am. Turn in your typed ethnographic field notes for weeks 2-9. If you need to miss class today, have someone else turn in your notes. Do not bring them late.
Friday, 11-2: Final Exam. Also turn in your field notes for week X and your field supervisor’s confirmation that you have attended for a minimum of 60 hours.



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