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This seminar is designed to help you write an honors thesis that is well researched, historically and culturally grounded, and responsive to critical trends that have informed your particular topic. It will focus on sharpening the skills needed to write a successful thesis, including research, the formulation of an argument, revision, and the ability to summarize and evaluate secondary materials. This class is necessarily a cooperative one and will provide you with a weekly forum in which to exchange ideas and share work with your peers. You and your thesis projects will generate the primary materials and topics for this class. As a result, your participation, engagement, and commitment are of paramount importance. Because we will be working together to solve problems and develop ideas, your attendance is crucial.

The course is designed with one primary idea in mind: to guide you through the various stages of writing an original, senior-level research project, and to help you develop the skills you will need to defend it successfully. Everyone will independently develop (with guidance from me and your peers) your own thesis topic. Throughout the semester you will be honing your close reading and critical thinking skills; in addition, you will be familiarizing yourself with the MLA (Modern Language Association) bibliography and will learn how to track down literary criticism, evaluate it, and apply it to literature.

In short: this seminar will aim to function as a practical forum for you to exchange ideas with your peers and work together to solve common problems in the preparation of your individual theses. You will share written work on a weekly basis and will eventually present your bibliographical findings, and a draft of your prospectus, to the group. By next semester, you will be well on your way to writing (and defending!) a polished senior thesis. This syllabus provides you with our provisional plan for the course, but things may well shift depending upon our pace and your collective needs.

Taught by Karen Jacobs.