Writing Political Theory
Friday 1:30-3:20, Library 202
Writing a plan can seem like a lonely process. Left alone with one's mind, the prospect of filling seventy to one hundred pages with lucid prose can be daunting. It's easy to feel that you're not up to the task. Conversations with your peers about how many pages they produced in the last all-nighter will only increase your sense of isolation. This plan seminar aims to reduce your stress by bringing a constructive social element back into the process of writing.
In fact, writing is a highly social activity. First, there is the writer; then, there are the authors under consideration; then there is life and its evidence; then, there are the critics, the secondary sources; then there are the plan sponsors; and finally, there is the Outside Examiner. And you thought the only other person in your office was your officemate!
Every week we'll hone our skills, crafting strong arguments, exploring counter-arguments, and all and all being more precise with our language. We'll also spend time preparing for the orals.
One of the key things I've learned from the oral examinations is that the writing pretty much runs the show. If you've written honestly and passionately, then the Outside Examiner (OE) will be overjoyed. If you think of your plan as a way to prove to the OE that you've read copious amounts of difficult material, think again. I can guarantee that the OE will not be impressed.
But if you write precisely about a topic that matters to you, and you write about it in such a way that the reader begins to care as well, then you will have succeeded at this thing called plan.