OPTION A: Single Form Analysis Project

For your final project, you have two options:

Option A: Single-Form Analysis Project (SFA)

The SFA project is a chance for you to develop a critical question related to the course material and course discussion through a sustained close reading analysis. As discussed in class, there are a variety of close reading methods. Moreover while a particular claim may foreground one method over another, most interpretive claims ultimately employ more than one strategy/method. The purpose of the single form analysis is twofold: 1) To provide you a chance to practice employing a variety of close reading methods in a logically coherent manner to arrive at a clear and cogent interpretive claim rooted in sound reading of the text (its content, form, and socio-historical context). And 2) to provide you an opportunity to draft a critical text that grows or advances your larger “Project.” For example, if you are a teacher, you may use this opportunity to develop a critical syllabus or lesson plan. If you’re a playwright, you might produce a draft of a one-act. While your SFA project should be as clear, thorough, well-structured, and coherent as possible, it will ultimately function as a draft in the larger scope of your project. As you will see in the course description, the default academic form for the SFA is a 8-10 page textual analysis paper that could be presented at an academic conference or symposium. However, everyone, regardless of which option you choose, must submit a project proposal. In the proposal, student are encouraged to describe whatever form that will be most productive for the goals of their larger Project. The only caveat is that you must complete the form. If you do not wish to and/or are not able to complete one single form, you should consider option B (below).

You should consider choosing Option A:

1- If you have a specific form you need and/or wish to complete fully.

2- If you have an external deadline / commitment related to your “Project” that requires you to present/submit a critical text related to the material and themes of this course (e.g. conference paper, lit review, grant proposal, lesson plan, etc.).

3- If you have a particular argument, question, or focused portion of text that is more complex than what you can address in a take of a single textual object (even a take done three different ways).

Option B: Take 3 Final Project (T3)

The T3 assignment ultimately asks you to explore a single question related to the course material and discussions via three different lens: the historical context; the formal analysis (e.g. “follow the trail” or other close reading strategies); and creative/experiential. Please note that each take will involve analysis and interpretation of chosen text(s). However the different takes will approach the formal analysis through different lenses (or from different angles). As such there will likely be some overlap; most notably you will likely find yourself analyzing some aspects of the textual form even in your historical context and your creative/experiential response takes.

You should consider choosing Option B:

1 – If you are most interested in strengthening their close reading skills

2 – If you don’t have a pressing need and/or desire to complete a longer single form assignment.

3- If your understanding of your personal “Project” is not clear enough for you to decide on a relevant and focused critical question and/or an appropriate and generative single-form assignment related to your Project.

4- If you already see connections between your different types of post and/or journal assignments and wish to further explore/ develop the exploration in those individual entries and/or the connections between them.

Single Form Analysis Project (SFA) – Assignment Details

The default final project for this class is a 7-10 page paper. You should begin by selecting EITHER a primary OR a secondary source from the syllabus that you wish to further engage. You should articulate your interest in this text in the form of an appropriately focused analytical question. Then if you selected a primary text from the syllabus, you should select a secondary text that you believe resonates with the text and the question you’re examining about that text. If you selected a secondary text, you should select a primary text from the syllabus that you believe resonates with the text and the question you’re examining about that text. The thesis of your paper should develop as a response to how the pairing of these two texts addresses your analysis question.

Your thesis statement should be a clear and cogent interpretive claimed that can be supported by close-reading analysis of specific aspects of the primary and secondary texts. The analysis with which you illustrate your claim should be attentive to the content, formal, and/or contextual particularities of your main (primary or secondary) text about which you’re making a claim. Your paper should not attempt to illuminate everything about the primary source you’ve selected, nor should your claim purport to take on the entirety of the argument/theory in the secondary source. Your engagement with both the primary and secondary sources should demonstrate an awareness of the overarching objectives of both texts, but you should limit the scope of your actual claim to portions of the texts that can be decently discussed within the limits of a 7-10 page paper.

In addition to referencing our in-class discussions about argument scope and related feedback on students’ posts assignments, you should avail yourself of the optional thesis draft assignment as a way of getting feedback on the viability of your scope as well as the clarity and cogency of your argument. When you submit your thesis draft, make sure you also submit the analysis question to which your thesis statement responds. Note: Student may wish to share their analytical question on the class blog and/or with the instructor as a way of receiving feedback on the analytical question itself before submitting a draft thesis statement.

Proposing an Alternative Form (than the paper)

Students who submit a draft thesis, may also submit a 250-500 word proposal in which they describe a form/medium other than the traditional analytical paper form that they believe would be more conducive to the exploration of the question they are asking and the explication of their potential hypothesis. Proposals should include: the tentative thesis; the question such a thesis answers and/or the conversation to which it contributes; the proposed medium (i.e. collage or youtube video) and form (e.g. discarded junk food wrappers and vogue pictures OR presidential campaign add); and an explanation of what the proposed medium and/or form aids your project question and/or tentative claim in a way the traditional paper form does not.

The point of this alternative option is to recognize and make room for alternative ways of learning and knowing present not only in the diversity of our class but also as evidenced and called for in the black cultural texts and theories discussed in this class. It should not be regarded as an easy way of getting out of a paper. I will indeed assess the formal integrity and logical coherence of these alternative mediums/forms just as rigorously as I will examine the papers. Submission of a proposal is not guarantee of approval. Even if a proposal is (tentatively) approved, I may ask you to revise and elaborate on your proposal based on my feedback before giving you the go ahead. I will not consider proposals for alternative final projects after November 3rd. I will only grade alternative projects by those whose final projects were accepted.

For Students Enrolled as Graduate Students*

Graduate Students: Graduate have the same option for the final project as undergraduate students with the following caveats:

  • All grad student papers and/or projects must engage one additional related peer-reviewed scholarly source and one additional related primary text not currently on the syllabus.
  • Grad students opting to do a final paper, should plan to submit an 8-12 page paper.
  • Grad students opting to do an alternative project should submit a 500 word proposal that builds on the proposal described above for the undergraduates with an additional explanation of how this alternative medium/form supports the objective(s) of their larger professional and/or scholarly projects.

*Specific requirements may vary from student to student based on the nature of their proposed project. Students will ultimately be held accountable to the requirements approved by the professor upon review of students’ project proposals.