Comparative Studies 1100 Final Exam

2 Short, Focused Answer EssaysShort Answer Essays (100 points each + 25 points for coverage across the two essays): Compose multi-paragraph essays of a minimum of 350 words (about 1 page single-spaced 12-point Times New Roman font, 1” margins) for 2 of the following questions. Indicate the number of the question you are answering clearly for each of the 2 you answer. See the prompts below for options.
The prompts serve as reminders of key concepts we’ve learned this term, and ask you build on skills you’ve been asked to hone in our time together. These skills, as well as the content of the course you’ll be analyzing, are primary building blocks for success in your learning at OSU and beyond. Systems thinking, writing, and cultural awareness regularly make the top 5 list of needed skills employers look for, for example. And you should expect to graduate whatever program you select with a sense of yourself as a global citizen, aware of current issues facing our world and tools for making sense of them. These are competencies you should seek to explore and demonstrate in this final.
Essays will be graded based upon your demonstrated ability to think critically about issues of power, identity, culture, and society represented in literature and theory, looking specifically for textual accuracy, analytical acuity, global contextualized thinking, synthesis and nuanced comparisons of concepts across various texts, and the specific illustration of your ideas in an understandable, organized way. Concentrate on analysis of the texts themselves. Do not write a personal manifesto or personal reflection here—focus on demonstrating your knowledge of the texts and your insight into connections between them. Your analysis is the primary focus. You don’t need to spend time summarizing the texts except where a descriiption of the context is crucial to the point you are making and particular to your understanding of the text.
Strive for a balance of coverage and specificity. Your set of 2 essays need not cover every reading for class, but the essays as a whole should demonstrate comprehensive analysis of the major readings as well as some of our theorists. In each essay, choose at least one of the following from both 1 and 2: 1) Things Fall Apart, Persepolis, Interpreter of Maladies, or The Namesake PLUS at least one theorist: 2) Bhabha, Spivak, Crenshaw, deBeauvoir, or Hegel unless otherwise directed by the prompt. You should not use each one in every essay; you should use different texts for each essay.
Each essay should have a thesis which identifies what aspects of the texts you will address as well as the significance or outcome of your inquiry into those aspects. A strong thesis includes both a clear object of study and a clear articulation of the significance of that study. Thesis=object of study (what) + significance (so what). Essays that do not include clear answers to both “what” and “so what” are in danger of falling short of what is required in these essays. Make sure your thesis is clear and includes these components.
Strive for specificity in the development of your ideas and use in-text citations where appropriate—that means you should be providing page numbers for both quotes and paraphrases. If you reference a specific scene, you should be supplying a page number or time stamp; if you refer to any idea that is not your own, you should identify the source of that idea. You may use the citation method you are most familiar with in your chosen discipline, or if you are not familiar with any, please use MLA citation styles. You need not create a bibliography for works assigned in class, but please include a Works Cited page for anything external you use, including context presentations. In-text citations are expected for every reference, including for works assigned to the class. Some ideas about what you should be citing for each prompt are placed in brackets after each question. This should serve as additional guidance about what is expected for these essays.
Some more citational tips: Your response should provide textual support in the form of explicit references, direct quotation and/or paraphrasing. Don’t rely on your memory or your general sense of the readings. Revisit the text directly. Here are some guidelines for doing that well in the essays.
For the theorists, a direct quotation illustrating their thesis should be no longer than 3 sentences.
For paraphrasing a longer passage or broader idea (or providing a smaller quotation in relation to other parts of the text), you still need to provide a parenthetical in-text citation for the specific pages which you are referring to, ex: (Spivak, 24-25, 27).
For the novels, reserve the use of direct quotations for instances wherein the specific wording, phrasing, or meaning is essential to convey for your argument; this should not exceed more than 3 sentences. Where you are simply summarizing plot, events, or action—and the details are not as important—paraphrase and provide a parenthetical citation for relevant pages, ex: (Achebe, 98-103).
The essay prompts:
You do not need to answer every question posed in the 2 prompts you choose. They are just there to get you thinking about how to approach the essay you’ll write on the topic of the prompt.
1) Give a brief sketch of the thesis of any one of our theorists, then choose one aspect of the argument that was particularly compelling to explain the interpersonal dynamics described in our texts. How does this aspect of the theory explaining power dynamics among individual characters be usefully applied to Things Fall Apart, Persepolis or Interpreter of Maladies? How does understanding the power relationships described by the theorist influence your understanding of the literary work? [Be sure to cite both the selected theorist and the selected literary text. Do not try to take on the entirety of the theory, but choose one aspect and apply it to the specifics of the literary work.]
2) Consider how migration or mobility is represented in our texts and select one key moment of encounter in the fictional works we have studied to analyze. What happened in that moment—who encountered whom, what borders were crossed? How were those borders represented in the text (consider especially those borders than are not just national or state or city lines)? What tensions arose are people crossed those borders to encounter one another? What emerged from the encounter? What does looking at your selected moment of encounter through this “difference” or “third space” approach afford us that more hierarchical, fixed, One-Other approaches do not? [You don’t need a comprehensive summary/citation of the “key moment” you select, but you should paraphrase the relevant plot point (and selectively quote important details) while devoting most of your response to analysis and response.]
3) Choose one character from any of our fictional works and analyze that character’s relationship to power structures through an intersectional lens. To do this, you should identify categories of identity to which the character belongs and discuss how those facets of identity compound to affect the character’s access to power in their fictional context. [Be sure to refer to specific scenes that demonstrate characters’ access to power in their fictional context. Again, quote selectively, using brief paraphrasing with page citations to describe any relevant plot.]
4) The authors of Things Fall Apart, Interpreter of Maladies, The Namesake, and Persepolis indicate their goal is to humanize foreign-seeming cultures and people through their writing. How successful are they in achieving their goal? Choose at least two to comment on their methods for achieving these goals and compare them. You should also comment upon how your understanding of their goals and methods differ. [Be sure that you cite and refer to specific passages or scenes to make the case that the author does or doesn’t succeed in achieving their goals. Similarly, the specificity of their methods should be supported with textual reference. When available, you can also use the author’s own words about their objectives to help you make your case.]
5) Many of the theorists we read in this class are in conversation with one another, either explicitly or implicitly. Describe one productive line of inquiry (i.e. theorists building a further point off of others’, theorists arguing against each other) or, if you would rather, put at least two into conversation now. What would they say to each other concerning the other’s formulations? In other words, define a thread common to at least two theorists we read and trace that thread through each theorist you choose. [You may use a combination of direct quotation and paraphrasing here depending upon whether there are specific/explicit points of comparison between the theorists or implicit similarities and differences which may be better represented with appropriate paraphrasing.]
6) Describe and compare the narrative techniques used in one or more of the books we read or films we watched. How does the author’s choice of genre or medium affect the thematic development? Put another way, what’s possible to represent in one form but maybe not in another? What stories, experiences, contexts, implicit arguments, etc. are possible to depict, and which aren’t, in the author’s chosen medium? [Be sure to cite/refer to specific instances that highlight the selected author’s narratives techniques, choice of genre or medium. The emphasis here is not on plot but techniques such as visual elements in the graphic novel or the choice to represent many facets of a theme through a short story collection.]
7) Describe how your understanding of context colors your reading of Things Fall Apart, Persepolis or Interpreter of Maladies. Does your understanding of the text change if you consider it from a longer or shorter historical perspective, or from a larger or smaller geographical space? Does an acknowledgement of some other form of historical or cultural interconnectedness shift your overall understanding in a significant way? How? [Cite your classmates’ presentations when you use them. Be sure to refer to specific scenes and moments in the texts that foreground the relevant historical context(s) either through incidental references or explicit discussions.]
8) Consider the systems described in the books and films we watched and choose one (narrow it down: it can be an institution, a law, a religious practice, etc.). Analyze it as it relates to our conversations about systemic injustice. How it is portrayed in the text? What harm does it reproduce for the characters? Which characters does it do the most harm to and why? What is its history and global context? What changes would need to be implemented to dismantle the unjust parts of what you chose to analyze? Why is it important to consider this system (as opposed to the actions of individuals) when you imagine limiting harm or injustice? [Be sure to refer to specific scenes and moments in the text that foreground the relevant system either implicitly or explicitly and how it affects the individual characters as well as transcends them.]
Take a look at the rubric below and try grading yourself before submitting. Are there improvements that can be made based on the criteria outlined there? Have you cited your sources effectively? Are you demonstrating the very best of the learning you engaged in through comparative analysis?