Over the past week or so we have been
reading A Centre of
The Body in Early America, edited by Janet
Moore Lindman and Michele Lise Tarter. In the course of our
discussions of this collection, we
have had a chance to become
more familiar with a range of frameworks, theories, arguments, source
materials, and approaches (particular combinations of theories and
frameworks used to analyze sources in support of an argument) that
current historians of the body working on the North American context
are using. In this essay your primary responsibility is to weave
this collection of approaches together into an essay that compares all
of the articles in this collection of essays with one another in a
single essay. Your essay should be 6 to 8 double-spaced pages in
length and you should use only Times New Roman font with a 12-pt.
pitch. Your essay must also be appropriately documented,
meaning that you must understand to perfection precisely how you should
cite an academic article in an essay collection.
Beyond these basic parameters, there are some more specific guidelines
and suggestions I would like to make that I think will lead to your
success on this assignment:
First, your paper should be driven by the core questions
that you think have been driving the research of the authors in Centre
of the World. There will not be a set number of
questions here as each one of you will quite likely come up with a set
of central questions all your own. These questions need, however,
to capture the contents and concerns of all of the articles in the
collection, and that should be your standard in deciding whether you
have identified "enough" questions to discuss. I would recommend
looking for several such questions, each of which plays a role in at
least two articles in the collection.
Second, your thesis in this essay should ideally suggest what you see
as linking together all of the questions you identify.
Thirdly, in order to demonstrate the relevance of the core questions
you identify you will need to discuss how these questions relate to how
particular authors use frameworks, theories, and particular arguments
and sources in their work. If the question you identify is really
a central one, you be able to see how it is incorporated on some level
in the articles to which you have linked that question.
Fourthly, you need not address the same aspects of every article as you
make connections between overarching questions and articles. In
one case you might discuss the argument and the use of a particular
theory. In another case you might stress the framework and the
sources materials. The key is to show patterns in the article
that match up with the overarching question with which you have
Fifthly, the best essays will suggest strengths and weaknesses in the
way historians are engaging with the driving questions in their field
and will comment on future directions for research in the conclusion on
the basis of persistent failings that you identify in the literature in
body of your essay.
Finally, keep in mind that you only have 8 pages at a maximum for this
essay. Therefore, you cannot spend more that .5 to .75 pages on
the introduction and the conclusion cannot be more than about that same
length. Economy of prose is the watchword.