The African American Experience

“Breaking Barriers: Overcoming Division to Foster United Action in Social Groups”

8-10 typed double-spaced pages
Consider a social group (e.g., a group as defined by class, race, gender, etc.), some line of division within it (dividing it into sub-groups), and ways this line of division represented a barrier against the broader group engaging in united action.
Focus your paper on a specific attempt (whether successful or not) to transcend this division in order to foster united action. Is it necessarily desirable for the broader group to unite? (Your answer may be “no” if, for example, you think that such unity would be harmful to one or more sub-groups.) If some kind of unity was forged, on what basis has this happened? (For example, were grievances between different sub-groups silenced, or aired? Were the relationships between historically dominant and historically subordinate sub-groups preserved or transformed?) Was this form of unity desirable, or would some other basis for unity have been preferable?
Topic: You have broad latitude to choose your topic, provided that it answers the prompt and is relevant to the themes of this course.
Length: The final research paper (if you choose this option) should be 8-10 typed, double-spaced pages (using ordinary font, size, and margins).
Research: You are required to do outside research, which means that the paper cannot rely wholly, or even largely, on required course readings.
Number of sources: There is no formal minimum number of sources required, but you should avoid overreliance on one or a few sources. As a general rule, the number of sources tends to be about equal to the length of the paper in pages.
Kinds of sources: Make sure that your sources are carefully collected. A good way to think of the research process is as a “pyramid”—identify about 30 sources (books, articles, etc.), find about 20 of those sources, skim the 10-15 sources that look good, carefully study about 5 best sources. (You may end up using the best sources extensively, and others for a particular fact or quotation.) If you start this process early, you can avoid the common problem of “random Google sources.”
Writing the paper: Make sure your paper includes: 1) a strong introduction (about 1 page) that draws in the reader and explains the overall themes of the paper, 2) a body composed of 3-4 main points, each clearly stated and supported by evidence (about 2 pages each), and each related to the overall themes, and 3) a conclusion (1-2 pages) summing up your main ideas.
Citations and bibliography: Your paper must include citations (whether in the form of in-text notes, footnotes, or endnotes) for all pieces of information that you draw from outside sources. Your bibliography (or “works cited”) must include all the sources you used in your paper. Modern Language