Summary/Response Papers

(20 pts x 3): Formal, one-page, single spaced, beautifully polished, and terribly insightful papers that are interested less in opinions than in relationships among texts and ideas. They will be read aloud in groups of 5 to 6 and submitted to me via Canvas.

  • 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 more fully fleshing out the details or including more detail. If you’re coming in long, determine what’s absolutely necessary, take a deep breath, and amputate the rest.)
  • The first half of each paper should be a concise yet thorough summary of one of the assigned texts.
  • The second half should be your reading of that work “across” another text we have read in class. No need to offer documentation for either text.
  • On the day the papers are due, you’ll read aloud in class in your small group and upload an electronic version to Canvas for grading.

The goal is not to come to some hasty conclusion and prove it to us (your audience), nor to use one text to discredit or smack down 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 lot of discipline and crafting because there is no room for fluff. It takes a while to get the hang of the process and the style-cramping format, so you may be invited to rewrite, to give the paper another chance to become what it wants to be.

The goal is that when you leave this course, these short, dense papers will offer you a base for a conference presentation and/or a publishable paper, as well as a valuable resource for dissertation work and/or field or comprehensive exams.