Research Paper Assignment
An important task you must accomplish in this course is writing a research essay. To accomplish this task, we will spend several course hours discussing research essay formats and how to develop research questions/analytical statements. As part of this process, you will become more familiar with the library. Please pay careful attention to the instructions below as you begin the glorious process of research!
You must first go on a fact finding expedition, using the library’s collection, and database subscriptions. You will be required to have a minimum of five (5) sources which may include, books, articles from scholarly journals and newspapers, film, and media references. You must select one of the following options and complete a paper proposal.
Part I: Topic Selection
Your topic must stem from some of the issues and themes that have come up from the courses four major texts: Silver Like Dust (Cunningham Grant); Home (Morrison); Where Did You Sleep Last Night? (Senna); and Brothers and Keepers (Wideman). Some of those topics are as follows:
World War II
Jim Crow /Segregation
The Korean War
Eugenics and how this shapes the racial narrative in America
Medicalizations of Bodies of Color—how people of color have been used/experimented on by science—focus on particular historical moment or group. Example: Women of Color used for reproductive experimentation.
Incarceration—Prison Industrial Complex
Oppressed groups in the US—particular group and time period
The Politics of Immigration—particular group and time period
Race, Law, and Policy—
Racism in the South/North
Ethnic and Class distinctions
Your task is to come up with a topic that connects to one of these themes in some way; however, you may branch off into a connected topic.
Option #1 Art as Historical/Social Critique
Research a historical event or period such as Jim Crow or World War II and focus on the cultural production of the moment: an artist ( or musician), a painting, a visual image or another artistic medium, but you must be able to situate the piece in a particular cultural or artistic movement as connected to the history. For example, if you focused on one of the WW II poster images below, you would have to discuss/describe the image, the intended message, and how this connects to the larger societal discourse around WW II. Your discussion must encompass historical data about the period and a discussion of the popular cultural moment.
Theses are just examples. You may look at posters from another era if you would like to look at cultural artifacts from other periods. Option #2 Art & Social Protest, & Language
You must begin this assignment by picking the issue such as race, law or oppressed groups in the U.S. and discuss the particulars of the issue. Your must start with at least three (3) news-worthy sources where you provide a brief summary/analysis of the issue as indicated in the articles. You must then provide a historical synopsis that provides a detailed background about the issue and illustrates how the historical is linked to the current debate. You must also focus on the cultural production of the moment.
Part II: Regardless of the option selected, you must focus on the particular piece you have chosen to discuss and your research essay should accomplish the following:
Identify the particular historical period by providing background information on the century, any wars or other significant historical events.
Discuss the particulars about the art history/popular cultural moment. What does the period symbolize in terms of artistic aesthetic, key artists, and its connection to a literary period?
Provide a detailed discussion of the artistic piece selected. What influences the artist’s work? As you describe the piece, use as much descriptive language as possible.
Make sure you assert a critical