Final Project

[パパとムスメの7日間, Seven Days with Dad and Daughter, is a classic in the body-switching genre.]

The final project in this course offers you an opportunity to use what you've learned in this course to create a final project that explores your interests. The project can be a regular paper – papers are great! – but it can also take another form of your choosing. You could create a piece of art, creative writing, a podcast, a short film, write a play, create a manga, etc. If you write a paper, the final version should be between 8 and 12 pages. If you pick a different format, please talk with me about how to gauge length or size of the final product.

If you are interested in learning a new skill as part of this project, I am happy to help you figure out how to do that. For instance, we have excellent podcasting technology here at UM, with wonderful modules you can use to learn how to create podcasts. But if you need to figure out a new skill, I recommend you talk with me about it as soon as possible, so you have enough time to do whatever learning you want and need.

No matter the broad themes or format you've chosen for your project, it needs to have a specific thesis or main points. Even though you are not writing a paper, imagine this as what would be your central thesis if your project were a paper. Remember too that thesis points can be so correct that they are not interesting or exciting. For instance, the thesis "gender is important to human experience" is not at all wrong but also is so obvious as to not be effective. As always, think about how your audience and thesis points work together, what your audience would find interesting or exciting, and therefore how to frame your thesis.

As you think about and work on this project, it is absolutely allowed to shift and change. Moreover I expect that this project will shift and change over the semester because you'll keep learning. As we go further into the semester, hopefully your ideas will shift and change because that's what learning is. (If none of your thinking changes at all, I guess that's fine, but maybe make an appointment to talk with me about it?) To put a particularly capitalist bent on it, if your thinking hasn't changed at all throughout the semester, what a waste of money and time!

Please note: If you doing anything other than writing a paper, your final version must include an artist's statement that is between 3 and 5 pages long. As we will discuss in class, this statement explains your logic, intent, and choices.

This project requires check-ins over the course of the semester. Particularly if you want to use a format that requires you to learn a new skill, you absolutely must build in enough time to learn that skill. The final project includes the following process deadlines:

Week 5, February 19 - First Thoughts

In this assignment, please spend at least 350 words detailing your first thoughts about what you might like to do for this project. You can describe many possible options that you are considering – you do not need to have picked anything at this point. Please answer:
- What are you thinking about for this project?
- Does any particular format jump out to you?
- What broad questions or topics would you like to engage?

Week 7, March 5 - Your Plan for the Project

In this assignment, please detail your specific plans for this project. Of course, as we move forward you are welcome to change your ideas. But what you planning for this project and how will you accomplish those goals? Please be sure to include:
- The project specifics you have decided on (i.e. topic and format)
- A list of tasks you'll need to do to create this project
- A timeline of when you'll do those tasks. I highly recommend you consider building in some wiggle room for this schedule.

Week 12, April 9 - Rough Draft due

In this assignment, I'm asking you to submit a complete rough draft of your project, no matter the format. You are welcome to include questions or comments about what you've created but it should be a full draft. I will read and comment on these drafts, and you will also share them with a small group of peers.

If your final project will include an artist's statement, i.e. if you're not writing a paper, please include a draft of that with this assignment, too.

Week 13, April 16 - Peer Comments due

In this assignment, I'm asking you to read (or watch) the rough drafts that have been shared with you and comment on them. Specifically, please create a document that includes answers to the following questions:
- What do you understand to be the main point of this project? How would you rephrase this point in your own words?
- What evidence or examples does the author use to support their claims? Does this evidence make sense to you? Did it make you think of anything else the author doesn’t mention?
- What kind of authorial tone does the project have? Does the tone fit the style of argumentation? Would a different tone make more sense?
- Do you have a clear sense of the stakes of this thesis or argument? Why does the author think this is an important question to ask? Do you agree? Is this an important question to ask?
- What surprised you about this project?
- What most impressed you about this project?

You are welcome to include additional comments, reactions, or question to the author, but please make a point to answer these. Upload your peer comments to Canvas (so I can see them, and give you credit) and share them directly with each author (by email or something else)

The final version is due Wednesday, April 28 at midnight.