Summary/Response Papers

These formal, one-page, single spaced, beautifully polished, and terribly insightful papers should be interested less in opinions than in relationships among texts and thinkers. They are are to be read aloud in class and then handed in to me.

  • Margins are optional, but no smaller than 11 point font and no more than one letter-sized page. (If you are coming in very much short of this, consider cramming in more, more, more. The more detail the better.)
  • The first half of each paper should be a concise yet thorough summary of one of the assigned text.
  • The second half should be your reading of that work “across” another text we have read in class.
  • On the day the papers are due, bring one copy with you to read aloud in class and upload an electronic version to Canvas for grading

The goal is not to come to some hasty conclusion and prove it to us, nor to use one text to discredit or take jabs at the other (your task is much more difficult than simply taking sides), but to expose relationships, questions, and/or insights that take place at the intersection of these two works. Exposition, in this specific sense, is your aim, and not formal argument.

Please don’t be fooled; these one-pagers are hard as hell—they demand a higher level of reading/writing savvy than a traditional essay. Until you get the hang of the process and the style-cramping format, expect to rewrite at least once, maybe several times. The grading will be rigorous; excellence will be required. The hope is that when you leave this course, these short, dense papers will offer you a base for one or more publishable papers and also provide you with some valuable study resources for your field or comprehensive exams.