AM3011: Assessed Essay

This essay is due on Monday, 27 November 2003. You must hand in two (2) copies of your essay, each with a cover sheet (available from the EAS office) to any of the staff in the English and American Studies office (Arts W.114). Do not hand your essay in to me!

Directions: Answer the following questions in essay form. Your essay must be word-processed, and must include footnotes and a bibliography. It should be approximately 2500 words in length.

Select an individual man or a group of men (real or fictional) from any era of American history, and create an account of this individual/group which includes:
(a) his/its social and cultural context;
(b) the ways in which the ideas and ideals of masculinity in that place and time influenced his/its identity;
(c) the ways in which his/its ideas, appearance, and behaviours influenced his/its culture’s concepts of masculinity.

Please feel free to use visual, filmic, or musical representations of the individual or group about whom you are writing. Clearly, this will not be possible in the case of certain individuals or groups.

Below are some ideas about individuals or groups you might select for your study. Please don't feel limited by these suggestions; pick someone/something in which you are really interested.
Individuals: George Washington; Thomas Jefferson; Benjamin Franklin; Andrew Jackson; Geronimo; Sitting Bull; Abraham Lincoln; Frederick Douglass; John Brown; Robert E. Lee; Theodore Roosevelt; Mark Twain; Booker T. Washington; Billy the Kid; Wyatt Earp; Phineas T. Barnum; Captain Ahab; Bartleby the Scrivener; The Marlboro Man; Daniel Boone; Davy Crockett; Rhett Butler; William Faulkner; Eugene V. Debs; Tom Joad; Bruce Springsteen; Eminem; Joe Louis; Norman Mailer; Philip Roth; Atticus Finch; Billy Sunday; Robert DeNiro; Tom Cruise; Humphrey Bogart; Jimmy Stewart; Gary Cooper; Bill Gates; Mike Tyson; Franklin Roosevelt; John F. Kennedy; JFK Jr.; George Bush (Sr. or Jr.); Ronald Reagan; Bill Clinton; Richard Nixon; Al Gore; Eldridge Cleaver; Martin Luther King Jr.; Malcolm X; Denmark Vesey; Jeffrey Dahmer; Hannibal Lecter; Superman; Spider-Man; Edgar Allan Poe; Tom Wolfe; Muddy Waters; Liberace; Uncle Tom; Timothy Leary; Andy Warhol; Lou Reed; Tony Manero; George Clooney; Frank Lloyd Wright.

Groups: hippies; punk rockers; homosexuals; drag queens; cowboys; Native Americans; African-Americans; Latinos; Asian-Americans; artists; hobos; male prostitutes; slaves; slaveowners; serial killers; Black Panthers; terrorists; firefighters; construction workers; soldiers; sailors; airline pilots; immigrants; classical musicians; dancers; characters on Friends; rappers; transsexuals; clergymen; gangsters; Jews; union members; The A-Team; country and western musicians; farmers; militia members; Klansmen; stockbrokers; evangelical Christians; Promise Keepers; pacifists; Shakers; doctors.

Hints for Essay Writing

Presentation: All essays must be word-processed, except in situations relating to disability. Please use a 10- or 12-point font and set standard and consistent margins. Use the “spell-checker” function before printing your final version of your essay. Be sure to put only your student number, not your name, on the essay and the cover sheet. The point of marking blind is that the marker does not know the essay-writer’s identity!

Footnotes and bibliography: All essays must include footnotes and a bibliography. The standard footnote structure is as follows:
Natalie A. Zacek, The History of Everything (London: Yale University Press, 2003), p. 29.
That same title would appear thus in the bibliography:
Zacek, Natalie A. The History of Everything. London: Yale University Press, 2003.
All direct quotations and statistics (e.g.: One hundred thousand soldiers participated in the Battle of Gettysburg, or The federal budget deficit was three billion dollars in 1988) must be footnoted.

Direct quotations from secondary sources: You may occasionally find a phrase or sentence in a secondary source which you find particularly useful in expressing an idea. In general, though, you are advised to use your own words. I will not look favourably on essays which consist of a series of quotations joined loosely together.

Use of Internet sources: There are many useful sources of historical information available on the Internet, such as those produced by museums, archives, and universities. However, the unregulated nature of the Internet means that individuals and groups can post materials without having to take any responsibility for their accuracy, unlike the authors of scholarly books and articles. Before employing or citing material from the Internet, ask yourself the following questions: who produced the website? what is that person/group’s motivation for maintaining the site? what sorts of quality control mechanisms (footnotes; bibliography; explanatory notes) have been employed?
If you do cite information from the Internet, please include the full URL, the site’s name, and the date(s) on which you consulted it. For example:; Reconstruction Photographs, American Memory Collection, Library of Congress; 29 September 2003.

Late essays: I am not allowed to grant extensions on essay deadlines; that responsibility is administered by a committee in the English and American Studies department. Please make every effort to submit your essay by the date due. If you anticipate being unable to do so, due to, for example, personal or family emergencies, please contact the EAS office as soon as possible, and be prepared to present documentation (e.g: medical excuses) in support of your case.

Please ask me for clarification on any of these issues. I suggest that you also consult the Department of English and American Studies’s Essay Style Recommendations, available online here; this document can be accessed only from University computers.

[AM3011 Syllabus]

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