HIST 2310: ESSAY 2 GUIDELNES
- Essays are to be turned into Blackboard before class on Thursday, April 22. Anything received after that time will be deemed late. All late papers will have significant points deducted for each day that they are late. No excuses (short of documented medical emergencies) will be accepted.
REQUIRED READINGS FOR ESSAY
- Monica Muñoz Martinez, The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas (Cambridge: Harvard: 2018)
ESSAY PROMPTS (CHOOSE ONE!)
In an argumentative essay, use evidence from the readings to create an argument that addresses one of the following prompts:
- Today, the teaching of history is often quite political. The Texas State Board of Education recently attacked new AP US history standards for allegedly emphasizing “negative aspects of our nation’s history while minimizing positive aspects.” One of our major national political parties declared that the new framework “reflects a radically revisionist view of American history that emphasizes negative aspects of our nation’s history while omitting or minimizing positive aspects.” You read in James Crisp’s book that history is not often about whether facts are right or wrong, but about whose story gets told and whose does not. Use Monica Muñoz Martinez’s The Injustice Never Leaves You to write a response to allegations that academic historians only emphasize negative aspects of the American past. Whether you agree or disagree, use your reading of Johnson’s book to craft an essay that addresses such criticisms.
- Texas is a diverse state with a diverse population that is undergoing (as it always has) substantial demographic changes owing to immigration. Using your reading of Monica Muñoz Martinez’s The Injustice Never Leaves You as evidence, how would you characterize the encounter between Anglo Texans and Mexican Texans in South Texas in the early twentieth century?
- Write an analytical review of Monica Muñoz Martinez’s The Injustice Never Leaves You. Clear your thesis with me first.
FORMATTING & GUIDELINES
- Font: 12-pt., Times New Roman, double-spaced
- Margins: 1”
- Words: 1200-1500 (4-5 full, double-spaced pages)
- Argument: 25%: A thesis is readily apparent. The essay makes a coherent and thought-provoking argument that is articulated clearly.
- Evidence: 25%: Thesis is supported with relevant material that reveals a strong understanding of the subject matter.
- Clarity: 25%: Student communicates his/her thoughts effectively. Prose is crisp and free of distracting misspellings or grammatical errors.
- Organization: 25%: The paper is focused, balanced, and its components follow a logical progression. The paper is formatted correctly and follows assignment guidelines.
- The essay demonstrates a sophisticated mastery of the material that may exceed the expectations established in the assignment guidelines. The central argument is supported by and developed through appropriate and convincing evidence, and the student clearly explains the relevance of that evidence. The student includes insights that reveal that he or she recognizes the complexity of the topic or problem.
- Writing on the sentence level is clear and concise without persistent problems in grammar or mechanics. Sentences are well balanced—at times eloquent—and varied in structure. There are few if any moments in the paper troubled by awkward phrasing or imprecise word choice.
- The essay is organized logically according to the needs of audience, purpose, and discipline. The introduction engages the reader’s interest, provides a clear framework for the paper, and includes a clear announcement of the thesis. Paragraphs are coherent and connected with strong and logical transitions. The conclusion provides a clear sense of closure.
- The B essay meets most of the criteria listed above. It demonstrates a good comprehension of the material and responds appropriately to the assignment. While the essay’s exploration of the topic or problem at hand may not be as nuanced as the “A” paper, and while the student may demonstrate one or two lapses in logic or knowledge, the essay still develops and substantiates a central argument through appropriate evidence.
- Writing on the sentence level is for the most part clear, and the paper demonstrates few problems in grammar or mechanics. However, some word choices or phrasing may be awkward, overgeneral, or imprecise.
- The essay is organized logically but could be improved. For example, the student could possibly improve the clarity of the introduction and thesis, the focus of paragraphs, the strength of transitions between ideas and sentences, or the effectiveness of the conclusion.
- The essay may demonstrate a satisfactory grasp of the material. However, the central argument or conclusion of the paper is problematic. It may be over-general or unsophisticated; it might not respond appropriately to the prompt; or, it might demonstrate a lack of thoughtfulness or effort. The paper may be a simple repetition of ideas discussed in class, or the paper’s main ideas might not be substantiated by adequate or appropriate evidence. In a C paper, evidence often is insufficiently explained.
- Writing on the sentence level is weak, troubled by persistent problems in style, word choice, and/or issues in grammar and mechanics. The essay may include many typos or other careless errors.
- The effectiveness of the essay is undermined by multiple problems in organization, which may include an ineffective introduction, an unclear or unidentifiable thesis, incoherent paragraphs, weak or missing transitions between ideas and/or paragraphs, and an insubstantial or ineffective conclusion.
- The essay does not demonstrate a satisfactory grasp of the material. Its argument is missing or incomplete. It may not respond to the prompt. Evidence is missing or misused. The paper may contain serious errors of fact or logic.
- Writing on the sentence level is very problematic. The writer has made basic, serious, and repeated mechanical errors.
- The paper displays serious problems with organization at the level of the paragraph and of the overall structure.
- The essay is turned in very late or not at all.
- The essay has little or no relation to the prompt.
- The essay seems to constitute deliberate plagiarism.