Assignments

Paper #2: Violence in the Wake of 9/11
ENGL 72: Literature of 9/11, Fall 2015

DUE WEDNESDAY 12/2 AT 5PM
Please select one of the following paper prompts:

 

1) Is Changez’s narrative in Moshin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist reliable? Discuss the roles of suspicion and uncertainty in the novel, making an argument about how to interpret the tension between the narrator and the American. What is Hamid’s argument about how 9/11 has affected public discourse and international relations?

 

2) Yasmina Khadra’s novel The Sirens of Baghdad depicts the growing anger and personal transformation of the narrator in the years following the US invasion of Iraq. Focusing on the series of violent events involving civilian casualties in the novel, discuss how the narrative portrays the narrator’s motivations for violence. Paying attention to the end of the novel, explain Khadra’s views on the causes of terrorism and whether there is hope for disrupting the cycles of violence.

3) Analyze the film Standard Operating Procedure. What is the filmmaker’s argument about how to interpret the photographs of prisoner abuse from Abu Ghraib? Paying attention to both the content of the film and its form (soundtrack, images, reenactments, narrative structure, and other filmic techniques), how does the film reflect on officials’ justifications of torture?
4) Drawing on the discussion of affect and emotions by Gerard Tuathail, discuss how at least two pieces of music responding to 9/1 address the connection between nationalism and war. Highlighting specific details in lyrics, video images, and musical techniques (such as tempo, key, instrumentation, verse structure, etc.), analyze how the music ties emotions such as love and hate to the politics of US foreign policy.

Guidelines:

1) The most important element of the paper will be an arguable and analytic thesis which you develop in an organized manner over the course of the paper. Your argument in the paper should be specific, complex, and debatable. It should answer the prompt question directly and discuss how authors or artists make claims or commentary about the so-called ‘war on terror.’

 

2) Grading: A-range papers will have a strong thesis, go beyond the class discussions, and demonstrate a deep understanding of course concepts to provide a unique interpretation of readings. They will be well-organized (each paragraph will have a distinct and contained claim that supports the thesis) and will have a clear and detailed idea of the overall claim or idea advanced by each author or artist you discuss. B-range papers will argue a defensible, analytic thesis, which will provide a strong interpretation of readings; however, they may stick too closely to class discussion or may miss some of the necessary theory, history, or geography. Papers falling below the B-range will likely suffer from a tendency to summarize (rather than analyze) the main ideas of the readings, use of “book-report” style and organization, or a lack of clarity or an arguable thesis.

3) Use adequate evidence from course readings, quoting directly and properly citing articles and books. I prefer parenthetical references, but any standard citation style (MLA, APA, etc.) is fine with me. Follow UNC’s guidelines on plagiarism. I discourage you from consulting websites for your ideas. Students often unintentionally plagiarize ideas from websites by not citing works consulted.

4) You are not expected to do outside research.

5) The paper should be 6-7 pages long using standard formatting (double-spaced Times New Roman 12pt. font with 1″ margins and zero additional spacing between paragraphs). Include your name and a title at the top of the paper. No title page is necessary.

6) Remember to upload the paper (as an MS Word file) to the Assignments tab on Sakai by 9am on the due date. Do not turn in a hard copy. NO LATE PAPERS WILL BE ACCEPTED. Please work on your paper in advance to avoid late submission. You must pass both papers in order to pass the course. Note that the late paper policy published here is the correct one, and it supercedes the language of the syllabus.

 

7) There will be no revisions of paper #2. Please visit my office hours to review drafts before the due date.

 

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Paper #1: Representing 9/11 and Terrorism
ENGL 72: Literature of 9/11, Fall 2015

 

Due at 9am on Monday 9/21 on Sakai
Please select one of the following paper prompts:

1) How does the ‘falling man’ or ‘jumper’ motif—which follows Richard Drew’s famous photograph and appears in the artworks of Art Spiegelman, Don DeLillo, Alejandro Gonzales Iñarritu, Wisława Szymborska, and Eric Fischl—advance specific forms of public memorialization or reflection on 9/11? Comparing and contrasting the specific ways in which the falling body is represented by at least two of these artists, discuss the artists’ understanding of how best to represent the violence of 9/11.

 

2) Marita Sturken’s essay “Memorializing Absence” asserts that many attempts to memorialize the dead following 9/11 had to grapple with the tensions between absence and presence; the individual and the monumental; and the everyday and the spectacular. Focusing on one or more specific memorialization projects (for example, Hyman’s photographs; Gonzales Iñarritu’s film; the design of the official 9/11 Memorial and Museum; the 9/11 Digital Archive; the Tribute in Light; the New York TimesPortraits of Grief; etc.), discuss how artists grapple with and resolve the tensions outlined in Sturken’s essay. Alternatively, you may analyze Sturken’s concepts by comparing and contrasting how they figure in at least two poems we have read about 9/11.

 

3) Noël Carroll’s theory of a ‘suspense paradox’ helps us understand how narratives of the violence of 9/11 generate emotional intensity and dramatic tension. Analyze the narrative of the events presented in our selection from the 9/11 Commission Report, explaining how the story produces and manages readers’ experience of uncertainty about the days’ events.

 

4) Our readings in Unit II (“Thinking about Political Violence”) discuss several theories that attempt to make sense of mass violence by placing it in broader geographic and historical context. Bruce Hoffman claims that terrorism represents an unlawful extension of warfare beyond state actors; Samuel Huntington argues that terrorism emerges from increasing cultural conflict in a globalizing world; and Howard Zinn and Chalmers Johnson suggest that terrorist attacks often appear as “blowback” from a long history of United States interventionism. Make an argument defending one of these theories, explaining how it helps us understand the 9/11 attacks. Then defend the theory against opposing theories or perspectives we have discussed in class. Cite relevant points or quotes from at least three assigned articles.

 

Guidelines:

1) The most important element of the paper will be an arguable and analytic thesis which you develop in an organized manner over the course of the paper. Your argument in the paper should be specific, complex, and debatable. It should answer the prompt question directly in the thesis. Please make sure your paper is a critical analysis of course materials rather than a summary of them.

 

2) Grading: A-range papers will have a strong thesis, go beyond the class discussions, and demonstrate a deep understanding of course concepts to provide a unique interpretation of readings. They will be well-organized (each paragraph will have a distinct and contained claim that supports the thesis) and will have a clear and detailed idea of the overall claim or idea advanced by each author or artist you discuss. B-range papers will argue a defensible, analytic thesis, which will provide a strong interpretation of readings; however, they may stick too closely to class discussion or may miss some of the necessary theory, history, or geography. Papers falling below the B-range will likely suffer from a tendency to summarize (rather than analyze) the main ideas of the readings, use of “book-report” style and organization, or a lack of clarity or an arguable thesis.

3) Use adequate evidence from course readings, quoting directly and properly citing articles and books. I prefer parenthetical references, but any standard citation style (MLA, APA, etc.) is fine with me. Follow UNC’s guidelines on plagiarism. I discourage you from consulting websites for your ideas. Students often unintentionally plagiarize ideas from websites by not citing works consulted.

4) You are not expected to do outside research.

5) The paper should be 6-7 pages long using standard formatting (double-spaced Times New Roman 12pt. font with 1″ margins and zero additional spacing between paragraphs). Include your name and a title at the top of the paper. No title page is necessary.

6) Your paper is due at 9am on Monday, September 21. Submit it on Sakai. The late paper penalty is one letter grade (applied to your final grade for the assignment) if submitted within 72 hours of the deadline. After that, you receive an F for the assignment including the revision. You must pass both papers in order to pass the course.

7) All students will revise paper #1 using the comments I provide. Revisions are due Monday, October 12. I will provide further information on the revision assignment. Please note that the same late penalty applies to the 2nd draft.

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