English 124

Background:This term, we are uniquely positioned, as we are in the midst of dual pandemics: racism/hate crimes and COVID-19, and we just transitioned to a new presidential administration. To engage in these conversations this unit, you will choose an issue that is critical to the current social and political climate and argue your position in a sustained research paper. The assignments will allow you to delve deeply into an issue about which you deeply care and offer your take on the issue’s context, history, and arguments. This unit is designed to sharpen critical thinking, analysis, research, rhetorical analysis, and argumentation skills as well as keep us engaged as informed voters.
Reading and Writing Skills
Over the course of this assignment, we will continue to focus on key academic reading and writing skills, such as summarizing and citing sources. Unlike previous assignments, I will not be giving you the sources to use in your argument. You will be doing your own research and finding credible and reliable sources. The other reading and writing skill we will be continue to work on with this assignment is responding with your own argument. As we have discussed in the the previous essay prompt, academic scholars do not write in a vacuum—their arguments are typically in response to other arguments about the same topic. You will be doing exactly that for this assignment as you support your claims but also consider counter claims.
Focusing QuestionsNow that you briefly understand what we are doing with this assignment and why we are doing it, I will now introduce our guiding questions. What is one specific social issue that is important to you and your community? How has this issue been presented historically? What would you like to argue/what change would you like to inspire as related to the issue?
Assignment OverviewThe section below outlines the specific requirement of this assignment.
Purpose:
The purpose of this assignment is to:
Compose college-level writing.
Participate in academic research
Respond to a topic with an original argument.
Consider counter arguments
Goals
This assignment will help students meet the following Student Learning Objectives,.
Synthesize researched material from multiple texts to create and support an argument in response to a prompt. Draw direct evidence from texts in support of claims and analyze how that evidence supports the claim.
Utilize the various phases in the writing process—prewriting, writing revision, and proofreading—to produce clear, articulate, well-supported, well-organized essays.
Students will be able to engage in the research process—including narrowing a topic, researching the topic, evaluating a variety of source material, and correctly documenting sources in MLA format—in order to produce a researched argument.
Students will write effective essays that engage readers and present original ideas or points of view. Emphasis will be placed on thesis-driven essays, which will demonstrate the principles of argumentation, including claims, evidence, and analysis, as well as addressing counterarguments through refutation and concession.
Students will be able to edit their own writing for errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
This essay also addresses all three of our course student outcomes:
Analyze college-level/academic texts by critically evaluating information and applying it to students’ own arguments as evidence.
Synthesize material from multiple texts to create and support an argument in response to a prompt.
Create writing that is clear and concise.
Task
Compose an 6-8 page researched essay that develops a clear and well-supported argument on a specific social justice issue, where the writer (you) addresses the root cause/origin of the issue, provides historical context, takes a stance on the issue and considers possible solutions.
Possible Topics:
You might choose from the following topics, as these are all central to the current times. ***If you would like to work on a topic not listed below, please email me for approval.
List of OptionsTopic Category
Specific Issue
Anti-racism
· Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter
· Police Brutality
· Black Minds Matter
· Reparations for slavery
COVID-19
· Economic impacts
· Racial inequities
· Impacts on unemployment
Healthcare
· Universal healthcare
· Public/Private insurance options
· Prescription Drugs
Immigration
· DACA
· Border Security
· Travel Ban
· ICE
· Illegal Immigration
LGBTQ Issues
· Same-sex marriage
· LGBTQ in the military
· Equality Act
· Hate crimes
Education
· Tuition Relief
· Affirmative Action
· Funding for education
· Debt relief/Student Loan Forgiveness
Criminal Justice
· Racial inequities
· Private prisons
· Mandatory minimum sentencing
· Legalization of marijuana
· Capital Punishment
· Supreme Court Justice Replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Climate Change
· Green New Deal
· Fossil Fuels

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