Short Papers

The first paper is due Monday, January 29, 2018

Here are some guidelines for the short papers. This description is based on Karen Waldron's description of response papers. With her permission, I've taken several sentences verbatim from one of her syllabi.

Response papers for this class give you the opportunity to capture your ideas and go beneath the surface. Write about some ideas from the class that have captured your imagination. While they should be typed and coherent (and spell-checked), response papers do not need to be as structured as formal essays. Your paper should reflect both deep analytic thought and intellectual risk-taking. Find something that really interests you to explore. Push the idea as far as you can and push yourself. Make a discovery and ensure that your reader will not be bored by what you see and say. Defend your perspective. Above all, the response paper should be intellectually and emotionally satisfying. In approaching the response paper, plan to sit down at your computer or journal and address something you can really develop passion and concern about. Choose a question, word, phrase, issue, image, equation, person, quotation, or idea from the readings or discussion and dig deeply.

  • These papers should be around two pages, double-spaced, in length.
  • I recommend pursuing one or at most two ideas in depth, rather than writing a little bit about lots of different ideas.
  • I strongly recommend writing in the first person.
  • I'm looking for evidence of critical thought, not a summary of the reading. There is no need to draw on outside references; I'm interested in your analysis and reflections on the topics of the course.
  • However, if you want to draw upon some additional texts, feel free to do so.
  • Be certain to cite properly any sources that you consult.
  • Please hand in your papers on time. If papers are frequently late, I'll mention this on your narrative evaluation. If you need a little extra time, it's usually not a problem; just let me know.
  • You can always re-write your papers.
  • Working with a writing tutor is strongly recommended.