Assignment Three Context: The point of this assignment is to seek out the history of an armed conflict,

Context:  The point of this assignment is to seek out the history of an armed conflict, social movement, or exploitative political or labor situation that you believe has been misrepresented or underrepresented in mainstream U.S. history and media. One acceptable way to get started would be to peruse the history of any country commonly categorized as “pre-modern” for cultural reasons, thus challenging such explanations with a history of that region’s politics. No matter what topic you choose, your goal should be to contextualize a contemporary political (in the broadest possible sense) situation within a larger historical narrative.

Assignment: Write a 7-10 page research paper that historically contextualizes a political situation, social movement, or exploitative political or labor situation you believe has been misrepresented or underrepresented. Your first step will be to construct an annotated bibliography of at least 6 scholarly sources (5 of which must be used in your essay). You must synthesize these sources to construct a detailed and informative historical narrative. A successful execution of this essay should help your audience make better sense of the issue under your consideration by explaining the forces and events that preceded it. In some cases, you may be able to provide a historical answer to the question of why and how the situation came to be.

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How to:

  1. Begin by choosing a topic and clearing it with me.
  2. Come up with research questions you hope to answer while writing this essay.
  3. Collect a total of 6 sources to use in the essay while attempting to find answers to your research questions – at least 1 of these must be a historical account that goes beyond the surface details typically provided in High School history textbooks.  
  4. Compose an annotated bibliography – your annotations should be 1-2 paragraphs long and summarize the main argument or information provided in each source with a short description of how you plan to use it in your essay. This will be due first as assignment 2.
  5. Spend time brainstorming and taking notes on how these sources “speak” to one another.
  6. Synthesize these sources to construct a 7-10 page research essay using proper citation conventions to attribute information and ideas appropriately.

English 102 Assignment Three Rubric

  Incorporation of Sources   Describes and evaluates multiple positions and types of information.   Organization Argument     Conventions
Excellent Follows MLA or APA citation conventions, effectively introduces sources, frames quotes, includes effective summary and paraphrase, and avoids all  “annoying ways people use sources.” Accounts for the specific perspective found in each source and evaluates the quality and credibility of the evidence at hand. Student has a clear thesis statement or research question and organizes information so that it is easy to follow the overall argument. Paragraphing is effective and aligned with changes of topic. May make use of sub-headings to more clearly delineate different strands of the reasoning.   Presents a nuanced argument that responds to a larger conversation or debate among scholars (or advocates for increased scholarly attention on an issue) while making connections across texts from different bodies of knowledge. Minimal to no grammar errors, concise language and clear syntax.
Meets Course Expectations Follows MLA or APA citation conventions with mostly effective introductions of sources, includes summary and paraphrase and avoids most of the “annoying ways people use sources.” Describes and responds to the position presented by each source and evaluates for the validity of each argument. Student has a clear thesis statement or research question but occasionally gets side-tracked on tangents. Does a good job of returning to the primary argument and has effective paragraphing. Presents a clear and logical argument that responds to a larger conversation among scholars. Clearly performs “the moves that matter” in academic writing. Very few grammatical errors, concise language, mostly clear syntax.
Average MLA or APA format are followed with some accuracy, sufficient number of sources are incorporated, and quotations are framed. Describes multiple positions and sometimes responds to those positions but does not convincingly evaluate them beyond a superficial level. Student has a clear thesis statement or research question but often gets side-tracked on tangents, making it difficult o follow the argument.  Presents a clear and logical argument and sometimes responds to other scholarly positions. May contain shaky evidence or require more evidence.    Some grammatical errors, some occasional wordiness, sometimes clear syntax.  
Does not meet course Expectations Fails to incorporate sufficient number of sources, follow MLA or APA citation conventions, or integrate quotations. Does not account for multiple positions and types of information. Student does not have a clear thesis statement or research question and the argument is difficult to follow. The student seems lost or overwhelmed by the information. The argument is unclear or incoherent OR fails to adequately situate the argument in relation to the work of others. Numerous typos and grammar errors, consistent use of wordy passive constructions, lack of clarity.

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