Monday, November 9, 2015

Research Paper

Due: Friday, December 11 (before midnight)
Length: 3,000 words
Format: Word, double-spaced, standard margins, standard font (Times New Roman or Cambria). Your paper should have a title and your name on it.
How to submit: by email ( Write "Research Paper" in the subject line. Use your last name as the file name (i.e. Johnson.doc).

The major assignment of the course, the Research Paper should tackle a significant question and demonstrate: 

(1) that you have read the relevant plays/sonnets very closely.
(2) that you know how to advance a compelling argument and support it with evidence.
(3) that you know how to position that argument in relation to the ideas of other critics.
(4) that you know how to analyze literary texts in a way that is responsive to cultural, historical, and/or philosophical context.

You may work on any topic relevant to our course theme, "Shakespeare and Selfhood," and any play or plays we've dealt with. The sonnets are fair game, too. I don't offer ready-made essay prompts of the sort you'd find on an exam. At Masters level, I think it's crucial that you learn how to develop your own research topics--topics that are significant but still manageable. This is an important intellectual and critical skill. That said, I'm happy to list a few broad areas of investigation that might help you focus your thinking a bit. Most of this stuff grows out of discussions we've had in class.

Selfhood and science

Selfhood and the Reformation

Selfhood and Renaissance education  

Selfhood and performance

Philosophical contexts of selfhood 
(Aristotle, phenomneology; agency, intention; the mind-body problem; etc.)

Selfhood and economics

Selfhood and political theory 

Selfhood and gender and/or sexuality 

Humans and animals

Humans and things

Colonial contexts

And much, much more!   

Remember that scholarship, like theater, benefits from collaboration and discussion. Talk to each other as you develop your paper topics. And feel free to come talk to me, too! I'm more than happy to offer guidance.