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Gilda R. Daniels, Uncounted: The Crisis of Voter Suppression in America
In terms of the topic of your paper, please choose a question from below. In terms of the style of your response, please be sure to consult the “guidelines” posted online.
According to Gilda Daniels’ Uncounted: The Crisis of Voter Suppression in America, why does history matter in the context of voting rights? How can studying the past help us to better understand the present, especially when it comes to the voting rights of African Americans and other minoritized populations? How can understanding this history help individuals who want to open up American democratic processes? Some people feel that voting doesn’t really matter. Do the attempts at voter suppression highlighted here suggest that voting might be more powerful than those people assume? Explain your answer.
GUIDELINES FOR ETHN 334 ESSAYS
This is not a research paper, so you are not required to use any sources other than the book that you are reviewing. Of course you are welcome to do additional research; should you choose to do so, be sure to provide a bibliography.
An essay IS NOT merely a repetition of everything that the author said. It involves critical and creative thinking about the issues raised by the author as well as the information you have garnered from lectures and other readings. Moreover, it requires your own analysis. Never just repeat an argument made by someone else. In your essay, you must become the scholar. You must demonstrate that you have thought about the topic using the knowledge you have attained through lectures and readings. To guide your analysis, be sure to answer fully one of the questions posted online in OnCourse.
Every essay should have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion:
Introduction: The introduction should be in the form of a thesis statement. A thesis
statement is a sentence or a few sentences explaining your main argument(s). In your thesis statement, you should communicate your position on the assigned topic. Next, provide a brief outline detailing how you plan to support your position.
Body: In the body, you supply the evidence that “proves” your thesis. Here you present the relevant facts in a logical manner. “Logical” means a carefully-thought-out presentation that leads the reader through each of your arguments towards an understanding of your point of view, much in the manner that one follows a series of steps in a mathematical proof. Remember, however, that unlike the physical sciences, there is not a single “right” answer in history. That is why the logic of your argument is so important; you must convince the reader that your argument is the “right” answer. Remember to explain your ideas and points. Do not merely state them. It should not be left to the reader to infer meaning from your evidence or to read between the lines.
Conclusion: Your conclusion should include a short summary of the main points of your paper and a restatement of your main thesis, showing the reader that you have done what you set out to do in the introduction. This is your final chance to convince the reader of your point of view, so make it a strong ending. Never introduce new material in the conclusion!
IV. MECHANICS OF STYLE
1. Good grammar, spelling, and punctuation are always a must in any paper. These types of errors will weaken the logic and presentation of your argument.
2. Good organization is also very important. It helps to create an outline before you write your paper. Decide how to best organize the material so that it will support your thesis effectively.
3. Write clearly and concisely. Employ “economy of language” — that is, communicate clearly using as few words as possible. Always stay focused on your thesis.
4. Do not use the passive voice. Passive voice means forms of “to be” (is, am, are, was, were, will be). Instead of saying, “They were impressed by his manner,” say “His manner impressed them.”
5. When using long quotations, you need to spend as many lines analyzing the quotation as you spend quoting it. If the quotation is six lines long, you need to provide about six lines of analysis. The author of the book you are citing had his or her own thesis to prove. You need to tell the reader how his or her information supports your thesis.
6. Citations: Since we’re all reading the same sources, let’s just use parenthetical citations that provide the author’s last name and the page number. Your format, then, will look like this:
“I love writing essays for Professor Hildebrand” (Daniels 34).
Note that there is no comma between the author’s last name and the page #, that there is no p., pp., or pg. before the page number, and that the punctuation for the sentence goes outside the closed parenthesis (unless it is an exclamation point or a question mark).
7. Use the past tense when writing about events that occurred in the past. Do not slip into narrative voice. For example, when describing the things that New Negroes did, said, or sang in the past, do not adopt the present tense as if these things were happening now.
8. Avoid using colloquialisms, or slang. They do not belong in formal papers.
9. Do not use contractions. Instead of “don’t,” or “can’t,” say “do not” and “cannot.”
10. The semi-colon rule: You may only use a semi-colon to join two complete sentences. The sentence in front of the semi-colon and the sentence behind the semi-colon must have their own subject and verb. A correct example: “John and Jane went fishing today; they caught a lot of fish.” An incorrect example: “John and Jane went fishing today; and caught a lot of fish.” The sentence behind the semi-colon in the incorrect example does not have a subject.
11. All papers should be typed and double-spaced. Use no more than a 12-point font and one- inch margins. The professor who reads your paper will know immediately if you are trying to make a short paper look longer.
12. Always paginate your papers (put page numbers on each page).
— For additional information, consult The Chicago Manual of Style. —
REMEMBER — a strong paper reads smoothly. Proofread your paper. It often helps to read it aloud. Many errors that your eyes would pass over quickly as you read silently will be caught as you try to form the words. Also, since most of us are familiar with our own papers, we tend to read over our mistakes, so have someone else proofread your paper as well.
Students often unintentionally misuse their sources. Others may do so intentionally. But since you will be using the writing of at least one other author to support your arguments, it is important that you learn and follow certain ethical rules as to the use of reference material. Fundamentally, plagiarism is the offering of the words or ideas of another person as one’s own. Of course, the most flagrant violation is appropriating the exact words of another and offering them without documentation. But the theft is often much more subtle. The following list will suggest several forms of research writing that will constitute, in the eyes of all instructors, plagiarism:
1) The use of another’s writing without proper use of quotation marks. Do not, under any circumstances, copy onto your paper a direct quotation, of any length, without providing quotation marks and without citing the source.
2) The borrowing of a phrase, the use of an idea, or the paraphrasing of material if that phrase, idea, or material is not properly introduced and documented. Also included in this category of plagiarism is the mere rearrangement of phrases from the original into a new pattern.
3) The use of another student’s work, whether it is one sentence or an entire paper.
Another author’s ideas, interpretations, and words are his/her property; they must be acknowledged as such. Consequently, you should practice the following rules of conduct when using the material of others:
1) Either cite an author as demonstrated in the sixth point under “IV Mechanics of Style” or acknowledge borrowed material within the text by introducing the quotation or paraphrasing with the name of the authority from whom it was taken. Example: Joe Smith wrote, “I love writing essays for Professor Hildebrand” (73).
2) Enclose within quotation marks all quoted materials.
3) Make certain that paraphrased material is written in your own style and language. The simple rearrangement of sentence patterns is unacceptable. The simple replacement of one or two words in an author’s sentence is equally unacceptable.
4) Provide a footnote or acceptable citation for every borrowed item.
ONE MORE NOTE: PLAGIARISM IS GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL FROM THIS UNIVERSITY. AT THE VERY LEAST IT WILL EARN YOU A FAILING GRADE IN THIS CLASS.
1 William York Tindall, “The Ceremony of Innocence,” in Great Moral Dilemmas in Literature, Past and Present, ed. Robert M. McIver (New York: Harper and Row, 1936), 73-74.
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