What They Say: Tracing Conversations over Time
Project Keywords: audience, thesis, scholarly conversation, and historiography
This project will ask students to analyze a conversation about their chosen topic as it has changed over time. Follow the guidelines on this page to complete the project. For intermediate and final drafts, submit your PDF document to MyReviewers and through the appropriate assignment portals on Canvas.
Project Outcomes and Objectives:
• demonstrate an understanding of the larger conversation about their topic (Focus)
• demonstrate an understanding of history as an ongoing conversation (Focus)
• choose credible and relevant sources (Evidence)
• construct a coherent essay that effectively integrates sources through quoting and paraphrasing (Evidence)
• concisely summarize an author’s main idea and supporting evidence/details (Evidence)
• write an effective introduction, body, and conclusion; logically organize supporting points (Organization)
• employ a process of revision using peer and instructor feedback to produce a paper that is clearly worded and free of grammar and style errors, specifically as they relate to proofreading, punctuation, run-on sentences, comma splices, and sentence fragments (Style)
• maintain a third person point of view (Style)
• follow proper MLA structure both in formatting the paper and citing sources (Format).
• Purpose: Understand how perspectives about significant public figures and historical events change (or do not change) over time. Recognize the evolution of the conversation about this figure or event—i.e., how the way people have discussed the person/event has changed (or not changed) over time.
• Audience: Someone who is less knowledgeable about the subject; or, an audience of academic peers.
• Point of view: Third person
The student’s thesis should establish a claim as to how the perspectives about your chosen topic have shifted (or not) over time. Rather than an argumentative thesis, your thesis should be an articulation of the scholarly conversation over time, clearly laying out the conclusion you’ve drawn from reviewing the sources.
Students will write an 800-1000 word essay making an argument about how a conversation about your chosen historical person, idea, or event has changed over a period of time, no less than 10 years. This assignment will be evaluated using the FYC rubric.
Role of Research:
This project emphasizes that research, like writing, is a process: students may locate 10 sources, critically read 6, summarize 4, and then determine which 2 sources are most relevant to their topic. This process demonstrates the importance of discarding sources that are less relevant to an author’s topic or purpose in writing. Note that the two sources ultimately chosen must have been published at least 10 years apart (to demonstrate change over time). Students will draw from these sources to demonstrate the way in which perspectives about their topic have or have not shifted over the course of time.
Multi-modal Component (for online students):
Students will create and include one Infographic that supports their discussion. This Infographic will be inserted into their paper.
Writing Process (Formal Essay):
The early draft should be composed of 5 summary paragraphs, 4 of which summarize their 4 chosen sources and 1 that summarizes either Barbara Tuchman’s or Edward Carr’s piece. Each summary should follow a complete citation formatted according to MLA guidelines, and the citations should be arranged in alphabetical order. Each summary should be between 200-250 words.
The intermediate draft should be a 500-600-word essay in which students articulate a claim as to how perspectives about their topic have shifted (or not shifted) over time. Students should formulate this claim based on their understanding of the two sources they’ve ultimately chosen and should integrate quoted and paraphrased material from these sources as support for their claims about the evolution of the conversation. Note that the focus of this essay is on the conversation itself; it is not a comparison/contrast essay between the two sources.
The final draft should be an 800-1000-word polished essay in which students articulate a claim as to how perspectives about their topic have shifted (or not shifted) over time. Students should ensure that their claim is fully supported with paraphrased, quoted, and summarized material drawn from their two chosen sources.
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