Grading Expectations

A couple of you have emailed with questions about the individual project due in about a month. I’m going to paste here the text that’s in the filed titled “Grading Expectations” in Carmen.

I’d like to encourage you to get on top of this earlier rather than later. Feel free to meet me on Zoom if you have questions.

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Individual Project

Please begin this project early, so you are not caught off guard at the last minute. The writing requirement is not onerous, but writing a concise essay can be challenging in its own way. You must aim for specificity, clarity, and an absolute minimum of superfluous words.

Book Review Option

You can write a critical review of a book, which can be chosen from the list provided on the syllabus. A book review needs to:

Be about 1500 words long.
Summarize the content of the book. What is the book about?
Properly articulate the central argument of the book. What is the author arguing?
Discuss in some detail the main significance of the argument. Why does the argument matter? How does it revise or update our understanding of the topic? What ideas does the book refute or challenge?
Specify how geography plays a role in the argument. How are different spaces, places, and inter-place connections important to the findings of the book?
For full marks, a book review needs to address all the points above. It must be written in clear, idiomatic English and in a proper essay format. This means the writing must be structured in paragraphs that are balanced, clear, and flow from one to the next. Book reviews are not simply summary regurgitations of the book’s contents. I recommend reading book reviews in academic journals to get an understanding of what a proper book review should look like. Examples of published reviews will be provided in Carmen, but you are encouraged to go to the university library website and navigate to a journal and find reviews on your own.

Music Review Option

For this option, you are invited to find a body of musical creative works that relate in some fashion to the issues in development. A considerable amount of music recorded around the world, especially in poorer countries, addresses topics of poverty, inequality, and development more broadly. As examples, much of the reggae music from Jamaica in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s touched directly on development. The same is true of music from West African countries like Ghana and Nigeria from the 1970s and from the same decade from Brazil. You may know of other relevant bodies or genres of music that relate to development. You are free to select a single song, an album, or a regional body of music that addresses development. Your essay needs to:

Be about 1500 words long.
Introduce the music and its background. Feel free to provide links so I can listen as well.
Discuss the content of the music and how it speaks to problems of development.
Analyzes a piece of art that ties to problems of global poverty and/or inequality.
For full marks, this project needs to address all the points above. It must be written in clear, idiomatic English and in a proper essay format. This means the writing must be structured in paragraphs that are balanced, clear, and flow from one to the next. A minimum of three appropriate academic sources must be cited in this paper.

Art Review Option

This option is much like the music option above. Please substitute the same requirements for art as are outlined above for music. Expectations are the same as well.

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