Dear Senior I's,

1) Annotated Bibliography: Besides putting together a list of the books you are using or intend to use, include a paragraph underneath each title that outlines key concepts, how the author uses them, and how you see yourself using them. We did something of that sort in class yesterday with Foucault's theory of discipline. Identifying key concepts, investigating how the author uses them, and considering how we might use them is what I do on the board in political theory classes. For more on this, please see "Reading for Concepts" posted on our courses webpage.

2) Guiding Question: By this point in the process, you should be able to articulate the guiding question for each component of your plan that has a draft.

3) Multiple submissions of drafts: This is what we've been doing, week after week. A lot of what we've been doing is what Lipson might call pre-writing. Some of it would be considered first drafts. What we're working on with all this writing and rewriting is a) an articulation of a guiding question (a/k/a thesis statement); b) a sense of which theorists may be helpful in answering the question; and c) source materials that can help us see what's at stake in answering the question (the historical evidence, personal experience, a case study of a social movement...)

You will notice that I haven't indicated a page number. The Senior 1 semester is one part generating of material and one part throwing stuff away. Through that laborious and frustrating process you are (1) clarifying what your guiding question is, (2) identifying what materials you need to describe the problem as well as the stakes involved, and (3) using theory to help articulate what's involved in taking up this particular question in these particular contexts.

For the final class, we will run a poster session. In this version, you will list your guiding question in the center of the page. The bottom third will indicate which sources you are using to describe the problem and its context. The top level will identify specific concepts you're using to untangle the problem. Please come to class with your questions, sources, and concepts already formulated so that we can get started right away. We'll spend the first fifteen minutes, putting it on the big sheets of paper, the next half hour presenting our work to each other, and the final time preparing ourselves for the Next Stage of Plan.

Last modified: Monday, December 19, 2011, 9:18 AM