American Civilization

November 20, 2008

Final Paper Prompts

Filed under: Uncategorized — equiano @ 10:26 pm

Paper #2, American Studies 1A, Fall 2008

Professors Connelly, Daly, Georges



Paper #2, worth 20% of your course grade, is due December 4, 2008, at 12 noon in the lecture hall.  Choose one of the prompts below.  Articulate a coherent thesis—i.e., a non-trivial claim based on your analysis of the specific material referred to in the prompt—and substantiate it with well-organized, accurate, and richly detailed references to course material.


The paper must be double-spaced with normal margins.  Use an easily readable font of approximately this size (Palatino 12-point).  The paper should be four to five (4-5) pages long, or a minimum of 1000 words.  We do not accept emailed or faxed papers.  


Your own thinking should constitute the core of the essay, but you are permitted to use outside resources to support your analysis IF they are meticulously cited following MLA guidelines.  Citations of scholarly articles may be helpful, but you may not cite sources like Wikipedia, Sparknotes, and Cliff Notes; if you have questions about the appropriateness of any sources, talk to your seminar instructor or a university librarian.





What did “home” mean to antebellum, Euro-American, middle class women such as Angelina and Sarah Grimké, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sarah Royce with reference to the cult of domesticity?  Compare and contrast how two of these women defined the purpose of the home and its potential power for shaping social values.



Several of our readings have concerned individuals and social movements pitted against prevailing ideas and practices such as slavery, white supremacy, patriarchy and consumer society.  Choose two primary sources (Thoreau, the Grimkés, Frederick Douglass, et al) and clearly state and contextualize the critiques these sources undertake   in order to compare and contrast them. To what or whom do these social critics appeal? What methods do they employ in elaborating their criticism?



Thoreau and Angelina Grimké propose that unjust or sinful laws should be disobeyed.  Analyze the specific historical conditions which gave rise to their critique.  Then provide a close reading (detailed analysis) of one substantial passage (~100 words) from Sarah Grimké, Angelina Grimké, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, or Frederick Douglass which shares a similar kind of radical challenge to antebellum conformity.  The passage should be approved by your instructor before you begin writing.


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