In this course, graduate students have a choice between two forms of writing.

Option 1

You are welcome to write a final term paper that expands on and analyzes some aspect of our course. I expect these papers to be at least 5600 words and to be organized around a sophisticated thesis. I strongly suggest that, if you want to write this single paper, you work to make sure it will be helpful to you later in your academic career. By this I mean, rather than writing a one-off paper, strategize to make this writing part of something else -- maybe a future dissertation chapter, or grant proposal, or conference paper. Certainly, it is always possible for you to realize a former paper’s worth later in life, but I suggest you try to plan for that now. It might be interesting, but isn’t required, for you to articulate any connections you see between this paper and your future work.

Option 2

You are welcome to write five shorter (at least 1400 word) papers over the course of the semester. I imagine this option would be more helpful for people who are using this course to investigate possible connections, who might want to work out possibilities on paper. The five papers can be, but do not have to be, connected to each other. You are permitted to reconsider ideas from one short paper in another, but this is not an exercise in writing and re-writing the same five pages for the whole semester. I am happy to talk with you about possible topics but will not assign any to you. The paper topics are up to you and, if you’re having a hard time coming up with a topic, I suggest you look at the discussion questions submitted by your colleagues. You don’t have to answer one directly as written, but they would be a great place to begin brainstorming. The five papers can be turned in at any point in the semester but must all be in by Friday, December 14th. Papers that come in earlier can be rewritten, although I highly suggest you finish all five papers before you start rewriting any one of them.

All papers must be uploaded to dropbox by 5pm on Friday, December 14th.