Format—open-book and open-notebook.
Content: 2 essays of app.1.5 hours each.
Essay 1: Describe and evaluate your overall learning experience in our seminar, referring to 3-4 texts from across semester, 1 or more objectives, your research project, your presentations (your own or others’), your midterm, and class discussions or lectures.
Essay 2: Using close reading, intertextuality, and multicultural studies, develop a thesis involving four or more post-midterm texts and one or more objectives, unifying our seminar’s & your insight into America's minority cultures and their literature.
Lengths of essays: At least 6-8 paragraphs each. Best essays usually run longer or fuller than average, as though the writer wants to say more than the exam's limits allow. (In contrast, the common run of exams read as though the writers make themselves write only because they have to.)
To generate content:
Most common errors in midterms (and presentations)
Essay 1 Details: Describe and evaluate your overall learning experience in our seminar, referring to 3-4 texts from across semester, 1 or more objectives, your research, your presentations (your own or others’), your midterm, and class discussions or lectures.
Welcome to refer to or quote your midterm or others' midterms. The following prompts (not a checklist) follow the midterm assignment:
How did this course continue, challenge, vary, wreck, expand, or systematize your knowledge of minority literature?
How do you see this course’s emphases and categories changing or evolving in the future?
Focus on and evaluate your experience in terms of an objective or two you found particularly helpful or challenging.
What aspects of the course (content, texts, or methods) did you found most challenging, rewarding, or frustrating? What have you learned relative to your career as a reader, teacher, or researcher? What outcomes do you carry out from the seminar?
Text selection: Don't put me (and you) on the spot by choosing 3 short pieces (e.g., 2 poems and an American Indian origins story) that don't reflect positively on your reading investments. Try for a balance of long and short texts, and think twice about limiting your texts to one particular section of the course. Remember that the question concerns your overall learning experience. If you want to focus on a very specific topic and selection of texts, explain why, but otherwise try for an essay that unifies your reading experience across more than one part of the course.
Essay 2 Details: Using techniques of close reading, intertextuality, and multicultural studies, develop a thesis involving four or more post-midterm texts and one or more objectives, unifying our seminar’s & your insight into these cultures and their literature.
Four or more post-midterm texts overall, of which at least three must be chosen from Black Elk Speaks; Love Medicine; Bless Me, Ultima: Woman Howling Creek; Best Little Boy in the World. Other texts may include American Indian Origin Stories, The Virgin of Guadalupe, and poems presented in class (see homepage).
Of course you may refer to pre-midterm texts, but concentrate on post-midterm.
You may develop your own theme or thesis as long as you connect to a course objective(s) or as long as a member of our seminar could recognize what you're discussing as relevant to our interests.
You may extend from ethnic to gender issues, or cross them up with each other and other categories like class or religion or other identity markers.
If you're having trouble coming up with a topic for Essay 2, reflect on what you kept thinking about as the semester progressed. Maybe that subject, topic, or idea wasn't discussed as much as you would have liked? Or how you would have directed?
Here's your chance to develop your own line of thought regarding the seminar's possibilities. Connect your theme or idea to something in the course objectives, or suggest an addition or alternative to the current objectives.
However, your topic doesn't have to be completely original. You may follow one or more of the course's main themes or objectives, but develop additional examples and insights.
As ever, welcome to communicate re any questions or difficulties.