Historical Conversations Project Prospectusyour T
Historical Conversations Project Prospectusyour T
Writing Assignment: Historical Conversations Project Prospectus
Your first attempt to write about your topic will most likely be difficult. This statement of prospective claims is the first formal presentation of your knowledge about the topic and your understanding of the source material. Your primary purpose is to write something that will help further your understanding of your claims. Write your prospective statement in an experimental mindset, try to position this statement as one that captures your current understanding of your sources, your arguments, and the questions you are trying to answer. In other words, write something that will guide you as you craft, revise, and accumulate the information that will eventually become your first full-length draft, and then your final draft.
Having gone through 37/39B you should by now be somewhat familiar with your own “best practices” as they apply to writing a full length college level essay. Some of you will brainstorm in a chaotic and messy fashion. Others of you will be quite deliberate and organized. Many of you wil be somewhere in-between. In any case, you all have to start somewhere, and having already done some preliminary research, this prospectus is the next step:
The following prompt is based on the major components of the HCP. Please address the following questions and provide sources to support each of your answers. The more in-depth and varied your responses and sources the better off you will be. Your prospectus should be 500 – 1000 words. It should be written in paragraph form and should have a works cited page. Also, feel free to begin experimenting with “multi-modality,” including images, embedded videos, graphs and other types of data, as well as hyperlinks and other forms of digital communication (note that these mediums are not a substitute for your writing, but rather a supplement to your it). Please submit it to this assignment page in doc or docx form when you’re done.
1. Present and analyze a significant political/social/cultural problem. As clearly and succinctly as possible, I’d like you to state the key problem that you’ve chosen to examine. I’d also like you to make this as specific as possible. For example, “How to regulate campus speech codes,” is clear as a problem, but also pretty vague. The statement “How to balance the interests of a safe and fair learning environment with the rights of students and faculty to free expression, even ‘low-value’ hate speech” gives me a much clearer picture of specifically what you’re going to be looking at in your paper.
The statement of your problem should then attempt to: a) define any key terms in your topic (what is low-value speech? what is hate-speech? what are campus speech codes and how do they differ from legal speech codes? what is a fair and safe learning environment anyway?); b) explain why this issue is urgent, relevant, or otherwise worth our time and attention (e.g. – speech codes are becomingly increasingly restrictive); c) explain what, if any, beyond the moral/philosophical/legal aspects of this problem, are the political, cultural, economic, or religious components to this problem (e.g. – shutting down certain types of speech on campus stifles political debate); d)explain who exactly this problem effects and how? (e.g. – students, faculty)
2. Frame this problem with a warrant. Find a specific, relevant, timely, and complex event or news item (a warrant) that illustrates the problem you’ve explained above. Begin by summarizing the problem in the most neutral terms possible, answering the 6 main interrogatives: who, what, where, when, why, how?
Once the event has been summarized, analyze the event with the goal of explaining how this problem illustrates your problem. Ideally, this event won’t suggest any obvious solutions to your problem, but will instead show why this problem is so complex — contains so many facets and competing and equally compelling interests — and why a deeper analysis and study of this topic is necessary to come up with a “least imperfect solution.”
3. Summarize and critically evaluate various conversations and debates about your problem. Any problem with a simple and obvioous solution that everyone agrees on, would not be a problem at all, because that solution would’ve already been enacted. Instead, the reason your problem is a problem is because there is large scale disagreement about not only what solution to your problem should be, but what the actual problem is. Even if you have a strong opinion one way or the other on this issue, for this paper/assignment, try to be as open and equitable to all perspectives as possible.
Begin by looking at the different ways this problem is framed. That is, how do the different sides DEFINE the problem (e.g. – many people do not believe that increasingly restrictive campush speech codes are a problem at all! Instead, they believe that restrictive speech codes are necessary to combat a greater evil, which is the psycholigical harm of hateful speech. Restrictive speech codes then, are their solution to a different problem.)
Summarize how ideological preferences dictate the terms of the debate. What are the different ways Free Speech Libertarians and Free Speech Dignitarians see the issue? Liberals and Conservatives? Democrats and Republicans?
Summarize how the specific players in your problem dictate the terms of the debate. (e.g. – students v. faculty v. administrators?) (or if you’re doing surveillance, for instance, government v. private citizens v. targeted groups v. corporate entities that facilitate this surveillance like AT&T?)
Next identify AT LEAST 2 prominent experts on this topic, one representing each side of the debate, and summarize this expert’s main arguments as objectively as possible. Pay especially close attention to the historical precedent that this expert uses to justify his position…which leads to…
4. Decipher the historical contexts of the problem. The is the most difficult of the 4 tasks for this paper, but also the most important. Your problem, if sufficiently specific, is just a single leaf at the edge of a branch of a giant tree. That tree is the hsitory of free speech, and while you are not expected to describe the entire tree, your goal is to trace your problem back from the leaf to where it meets up with the First Amendment and the various laws, technologies, socio-economic, cultural, and political movements that gave rise to this particular moment and the circumstances in which your problem is situated.
First you will be responsible for identifying at least 2 Supreme Court cases that bear on your problem. Summarize and analyze these cases and explain how they either complicate the issue or might auger a solution.
Next you will be responsible for explaining how present circumstances (either because of modern technologies, such as the internet, or cultural shifts, such as the rise of religious plurality) has complicated or fundamentally changed this issue from previously similar problems (e.g. – cyberbullying changes the fundamental nature of how to address student to student harrassment laws; or, the rise of violent religious extremism has called into question how to balance the right to religious criticism with safety concerns)
Writing Assignment: Historical Conversations Project ProspectusYour first attempt to write about your topic will most likely be difficult. This statement of prospective claims is the first formal presentation of your