Final Project: On Letter Writing

You will write another long read post, and also present, on any topic pertaining to letter writing or epistolary practices. This can be anything we cover in the second half of the semester, any letters or letter authors you want to explore more or something that we may not have covered in class. This can be on any aspect in which something piqued your interest or generated questions. Possible topics can include:

  • The Postal Service
  • History of Letter Writing
  • War Correspondence (any other wars or conflicts)
  • Love Letters
  • Coded Letters / Secret Letters
  • Pen Pals
  • Forged Letters
  • The Value of Letters / Letter Writing
  • The Technology of Letter Writing
  • Business Letters
  • Presidential Letters
  • Electronic Communications
  • Illustrated Letters
  • Open Letters
  • Epistolary fiction, short-stories, movies, podcasts, etc.
  • and more…

You may be interested in expanding something from class or you may focus on a particular author, genre, era, purpose, technology, etc. You may wish to explore letter writing in the context of your major or future career. You may explore historical aspects or speculate, with evidence, about the future of letter writing. The topic is really up to you.

You will need to collect letters, articles, books, and/or multimedia about your topic, read/watch and analyze them as well as synthesize their meaning based on your thesis.  This assignment allows you to take what you’ve already learned about letter writing, or hope to learn and develop it further in your own personal direction. Hopefully, your weekly writings will have something of note or inspiration, be it a particular person or letter, a certain theme regarding letter writing, observations or connections you’ve made between segments, etc. You are expected to go beyond the letters and topics we have explored so far.

In your paper, you should:

  • Brainstorm and develop your topic and central idea. What questions are you trying to answer? What can you challenge about your topic? What claim do you want to make?
  • Do research on your topic and collect resources.
    • Your resources should be more scholarly or professionally reviewed in nature.
    • You should include a range of resources from a variety of sources.
    • You must include, at a minimum, 6 resources in your post, at least 2 of which must be scholarly resources (based on research).
    • These resources can be material we used in class.
  • Interesting, relevant, perhaps even funny title.
  • A brief summary may be included, but focus more on thoughtful analysis and evaluation (react to, identify strands, find problems or contradictions with, give strengths of, explain why you agree or disagree with, etc.).
  • Synthesize (place in relation to, bring together themes with, relate to other resources) information to other topics/discussions/readings/experiences.
  • Engage thoughtfully, critically, and originally with one or more of the course topics.
  • Display a mastery of close reading and analytic skills in engaging with resources.
  • Use credible and relevant evidence supporting your claims, with links to letters, readings, articles, and other sources.
  • Include relevant visual elements, such as photos/video clips/multimedia/visual representation of letters, quotes, data, or information.
  • Present your analysis with a clear sense of order and organization and with a careful eye on spelling and grammar.
  • Draw a  compelling conclusion. Does your conclusion follow from your introduction and assertion? Is your conclusion supported by the evidence?
  • This is YOUR writing and should be in your VOICE, providing a unique argument building upon your own perspective.
  • Meet with Annalise at least once to work on and develop your writing process and refine your paper.
  • Meet the length requirement with a minimum of 1,000 words, but no more than 1,500 words This word count includes the written body of the post and does not include the reference list, infographics, media, etc.
  • Include links to your resources as well as a works-cited section, using the citation style of your choosing.
  • Analyze your paper and include 3-5 keywords (metadata) as well as the category of ‘FYS183’ and ‘Long Read’

The Research and Writing Process:

To become a better writer, you need to do research and read a great deal.  To become a better researcher and analytical thinker, you need to read and write a lot.  The two are very closely related and are tied together in the overall process. The more you research, the easier you will be able to write your paper, and, as you write, you may continuously re-formulate your thesis and ideas, requiring you to do more research.

One of the main focuses of this class is to help you develop a variety of skills to become a stronger student. These skills include writing, critical thinking, analysis, research, evaluation, synthesis, and communication. The research and writing process should not be a solo endeavor. Ask me if you have any questions or need assistance during any process of developing your paper. Librarians are very beneficial to the research process and I recommend you take advantage of the services they have to offer in guiding you through your research.

Additionally, having a writing assistant embedded in the class provides a direct resource to aid in developing these processes. You will be required to meet with Annalise at least once for the final project. You may meet additionally, in fact, it is encouraged. Please note, that failure to meet with Annalise to help develop your writing process on this paper will result in points deducted from your overall grade.

Due Date:  Your final post will be due by midnight, Friday December 8.

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