Basic Requirements: 7-10 pages of typed writing (excluding Works Cited or References page) r writing must be your own, and all information from other sources must be cited, including paraphrased ideas. You may not submit a paper written for another class. Papers containing plagiarism will receive an F. Essays that do not include a rough draft will not be accepted.Research Requirements: Incorporate support from and cite a minimum of 6 sources total. At least 2 out of the 6 sources must be from class texts read/viewed in RHET 250 this semester. At least 3 out of the 6 sources must be from independent research (examples: books, scholarly articles, films, credible and high-quality journalism, government documents, personal interviews, poetry, works of visual art, etc.). Dictionaries and encyclopedias do not count toward this requirement. Quotations should be drawn directly from the author’s work, not from websites that compile quotations or study sites. If you are not sure whether a source may be used, please ask me.Assignment:What does it mean to be human? Many of the texts we read this semester ask this question, implicitly or explicitly. Aristotle analyzes human nature, calling us “political animals.” Ai Weiwei’s film, Human Flow, asks us to see refugees, people forced to migrate from their homes, in a different light. In Sophocles’ drama, Antigone breaks the law to bury her brother, declaring, ‘My nature’s not to join in hate but to join in love’–lines delivered powerfully by actor Samira Wiley in the contemporary adaptation, Antigone in Ferguson. And around the world, a movement for the rights of nature seeks to recognize the personhood of nonhuman entities like rivers and mountains, forcing us to rethink the premise of the very question, ‘what does it meanto be human?’In this assignment, you will pursue your own inquiry that addresses what it means to be human today, in 2019. Through your unique synthesis of responses to class texts and independent research, you will write an essay that explores one specific element of human nature, experience, or invention–which may include challenging what we think of as human with the nonhuman.What do we mean by a “Humanist essay”? In the West, humanism marked a change in worldview—emphasizing human nature and experience in the pursuit of knowledge. The Renaissance writer Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), often called “the father of the essay,” wrote on all sorts of topics related to human experience, including friendship, the education of children, liars, drunkenness, glory, thumbs, vanity, cannibals, the power of imagination, and the custom of wearing clothes. In his essay, ‘Of Repentance,’ hedeclares, “If my mind could gain a firm footing, I would not make essays, I would make decisions; but it [the mind] is always in apprenticeship and on trial.’ What does it mean for one’s mind to be “on trial”? In this assignment, we will return to the original meaning of the essay as a form of questioning, puzzling, or exploring by means of the act of writing. We question what we read and at the same time we question our own thinking. Montaigne believed that inquiry could teach a person how to live. He wrote essays that traveled freely and creatively while still exploring a specific topic, incorporating scholarly evidence, the lessons of the classics, appeals to direct experience and personal anecdotes. His own life was the subject of his writing. The essay in the Humanist tradition is grounded within the writer’s worldview—these are my ideas and how I interpret them. It speaks clearly to the reader. It announces early on in the essay the ideas or issues you are exploring and introduces us to their complexity (for example: evolution, migration, or free speech). However, it is not a single, simple statement about the topic. It is not a general statement that cannot be argued. Like other essays, it wrestles with a question at its core, a question that can have different answers.The Humanist essay is also not simply a personal narrative. Like Alice Walker in ‘Beauty: When the Other Dancer is the Self’ or Ai Weiwei in his editorial supporting the Hong Kong protesters, you may use the firstperson and draw on your own experience. However, you must also incorporate support from other sources. Your essay should draw from and synthesize a variety of texts, sources, and concrete examples (which may include personal experience), all of which will lend support to your inquiry and bring it to life. For example, artist/poet Cecilia Vicuña incorporates etymology, quotations from poets, films, an art installation, and other sources to weave together the creative vision of her essay, ‘Language is Migrant.’In a Humanist essay, the writer’s thinking develops throughout the essay. By the end of this essay, you won’tjust be repeating the perspective with which you began; rather, you’ll conclude with an idea and perspective that has been challenged and transformed through thinking and writing. You want to show your reader this path of discovery and change on the page—show your thought in action. This essay gives you a chance to demonstrate greater intellectual independence and creativity. It also gives you the possibility of incorporating stories from your own or others’ experience. In this assignment, you can appeal to pathos as much as logos.In the same spirit, this essay encourages you to cultivate your own distinctive vision and voice. The novelist Toni Morrison encourages her fellow writers, “If there is a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” So, how can you write an essay that only you can write, one that you would actually like to read?Good rhetorical practice depends on creativity—gaining your audience’s interest, rich illustration, figurative language, appeals to pathos, and more. In this essay, I encourage and challenge you to enlist your creativity and bring more of your own voice into your writing. Some possibilities for experimentation include: incorporating colloquial diction, humor, images, dialogue, words in other languages, poems or song lyrics. You may experiment with the form or organization of the essay (letters? journal entries? a manifesto? However you choose to show your voice (or multiple voices) in this essay, remember to consider the purpose of your essay and your audience. Remember, too, that using colloquial or alternative diction should always enhance and enrich an essay, rather than simplifying its thought. This essay may feel more experimental than other essay assignments in this course. That is okay; the French verb essayer, from which we derive “essay,” means to try or test out, to make an attempt. So, following Montaigne, you will practice the essay in its original meaning as an experiment—an attempt at thinking through writing. Learning Outcomes:This assignment meets the learning outcomes of 1) critical analysis, 2) integrating multiple academic sources within an argumentative essay, 3) developing a sophisticated research question and incorporating independent research in order to compose a substantial argument, 4) editing your prose to achieve a style in keeping with the conventions of academic discourse, and 5) developing revision strategies and producing polished advanced academic writing. Getting Started: What interests you from the class material? Look over all the texts we read this semester. Read over your notes and in-class writings. Reflect on all the ideas, themes, and different kinds of writing we have discussed. Look for ways to connect texts and locate themes. Generate a bunch of questions as you look over the class materials. Try focused freewriting (timed writing) to respond to a few of these questions. See what emerges for you. Topics:Here are some possible areas of inquiry suggested by class texts. You are welcome to modify any topic here or create a new one with relevance to the class. Remember, however, that these are only broad topics. Your essay must be anchored in a specific question of your own, one that allows you to explore an element of human nature, experience, or invention—-which may include challenging what we think of as human with the nonhuman.*Politics, political rhetoric, and debateDrama, tragedyLawTrauma and healingJustice (social justice, criminal justice, environmental justice, language justice)Police brutality and community responseCivil rights Hate speech and discrimination (racism, xenophobia, misogyny, Islamophobia, antisemitism, homophobia, * Choose a fresh topic and inquiry for this essay. For example, if you wrote on free speech and censorship in Essay 1 and social media or health care in Essay 2, you should not focus on these topics. Instructions:Inquiry: Your essay should be anchored in a question that addresses an area of human nature, experience, or invention. Your essay should clearly show that you have entered a complex conversation suggested by class texts and discussion, using both critical thinking and creativity. The essay should demonstrate how your thinking about this question has evolved and even been transformed.Support: The essay should use a variety of types of evidence, both from class texts and independent research. Sources you find through research should be high quality and credible. Provide rich, concrete support and details. Consider incorporating your own experience, the stories of other people, interviews, works of art, texts from popular culture, etc. Acknowledge/respond to opposing views: Take into account the views of those who may disagree with you, or consider alternative ideas, to write an essay that meets challenges. Strive to make your essay intellectually rigorous, showing that you have thought through the issue carefully from multiple perspectives. Organization/structure: Use transitions and topic sentences to guide the reader through the trajectory of your essay. Signal the connections you are making—show why you are using this particular point of evidence or quotation, what analogy you are making, why this idea relates to that idea, etc. Make sure your logic is clear and perceptible to the reader on the page, not just in your mind. Show us your thought in action. (Note: if you wish to do something experimental in terms of form or structure, where you do not use conventional transitions, I strongly encourage you to seek my feedback.)Style: Experiment with ways to display your unique voice. Strive to use precise, interesting diction. Edit sentences for wordiness and excessive use of passive voice. Integrate quotations into your own writing; let your own voice lead. Use rhetorical strategies that strengthen your argument, including figurative language. Check for plagiarism, Academic Integrity: Your paper should be fully documented in MLA or style and include a properly formatted Works Cited or References page. Cite all information and language you obtained from sources, including paraphrase. Use quotation marks for language you obtain from sources.Topic I have chosen: Humanity during crisis or how protest can impact future livesSources in class about protest: ..

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