Graduate Students

[Header image is of a bonsai forest, which felt like a possible analogy for graduate school]

Critical Précis

Starting in the third week of the semester, graduate students will turn in a critical précis every week. These short writing assignments offer an opportunity to critically engage the assigned reading that week, consider its significance, and build connections to other topics and questions within our course and beyond. Your writing should be no more than two (single-spaced) pages. I know that's hard but part of this practice is figuring out how to pithily and accurately summarize big ideas or broad work.

In each response:

1) summarize what you understand to be the main points of the assigned works (films or readings);
2) describe why these points are significant;
3) make connections between the works, with other course topics, or ideas beyond the course.

Please turn these in by 5pm on Friday via Canvas.

Final Paper / Project

Over the semester, students will develop a final paper or project that builds on their research interests and what we learn together. I imagine that many students would find it helpful to write a paper of some sort, but if you would prefer to work on a different kind of project that is fine too. Think about what topics and format would help you work through topics, questions, or issues that you want to engage. Please also take note of the process deadlines throughout the semester and make appointments to meet with me if you'd like to discuss your ideas.

Week 4, Friday 9/25 - First Thoughts
Please turn in a list of at least four topics for your final paper / project. If you have a preference among these ideas, you are welcome to mention it.

Week 6, Friday 10/9 - Work Plan
Please submit a summary of the topic you've chosen to work on, the format you'll use, and your work schedule. What are the steps needed to complete this project? When will you accomplish them? I recommend you build some wiggle room into the schedule, given that we're all living in difficult circumstances.

Week 13, Friday 12/4 - Complete Rough Draft
Please submit a complete rough draft of your project, no matter what form it takes. You are welcome to leave specific questions or comments for your reader, about things you're debating or still trying to figure out. If you are writing a paper, the rough draft should be fifteen pages or more. If you are creating some other kind of project, we can discuss specific metrics. In this project, I'm asking you to create enough of a draft that you can critically consider what you might want to change or reinforce.

Sunday, December 20 - Final Version
If you submit a paper, it should be approximately twenty to twenty-five pages (double spaced, one inch margins, not including the bibliography).

If you submit a project in a different format, please make an appointment before Week 8 to discuss the final requirements with me.