This assignment is designed to help you to write an argumentative paper on a topic of your choosing in the areas of race, gender, or their intersection.
General Instructions: Please have final copy in pdf form. Don’t cite sources outside of those listed on the syllabus. No late papers will be accepted. Note: If your paper is missing any of the required components of the assignment (a thesis statement, a critical discussion, etc.) it will be considered incomplete and will not be accepted for submission. Formatting and Style: Your paper should be 5 double-spaced pages (size 12 font, with normal margins). You need not include a work cited page (but please refer to the authors and page numbers where appropriate in the body of your essay in whatever citation style you’re comfortable with). You may use the first person pronoun. Required Components: (1) Clearly state the thesis that you intend to defend in your paper. Your thesis should be tractable and it should be interesting. The difficulty is to balance those two goals (generally, the more interesting the thesis, the more space and resources you need to adequately defend it). You’ve seen plenty of examples of theses in the papers we’ve read and discussed. (I’ve sometimes described these as “central claims.”) Your thesis should appear at the end of your introductory paragraph; it is what you should be offering support for in your paper (e.g., “In this paper, I argue that…” “I defend my position first by). (2) Include an introductory paragraph. This paragraph should provide your reader with a “map” or overview of the paper (it should provide a very clear answer to the question, “What will you be discussing in this paper?”). A good introduction may also indicate the order in which you will discuss the key ideas that will come up in your discussion. Avoid overly general and irrelevant claims (“Philosophers have wondered…” “Since the beginning of history…”). Be sure to include the full name and work of the author (or authors) discussed in your paper. (3) Your paper must include a clear discussion of the key concepts/argument to be discussed (the “interpretive” component). (4) Your paper must include some critical engagement (the “critical” component). You cannot simply take a position, you have to defend a position (and your paper must include a response to a hypothetical objection to your position). A useful model to follow when it comes to structuring your paper: Use the first half of your paper to discuss/present a claim that you find philosophically interesting and use the second half to present your response to it (offering support for your position and responding to potential challenges).
A writing tip: Imagine writing this paper for a friend taking chemistry or art history (not philosophy). Your writing should be accessible enough that a student at this university who is not in our class and doesn’t have any familiarity with philosophy can understand what you’re saying. (If it’s helpful, imagine trying to convince a family member of the truth of your thesis.)