Final paper

Overview: Purpose and Requirements

The purpose of this paper is to examine one of the overarching themes of the course to create connections between module content/arguments. It requires a combination of understanding of content but also your own analysis—that is to say, your own thinking—about the issue(s) that connect that content.

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Requirements: To fulfill the purpose, all papers need to have (also known as “what I am looking for”):

A thesis: your argument which is your own thinking about the topic
Evidence: specific information from the range of course materials you use for the paper.
Simply using powerpoints and lectures is not sufficient and will result in a low grade.
Note: you have access to the annotations on the various assigned readings. These can be used to help you understand the readings. You may not copy annotations into your paper—that is considered plagiarism. All writing must be your own. See Course Policies.
Explanation of the evidence: how the evidence supports your argument
Clear organization: your paragraphs start with a main point that holds the paragraph together and the paragraphs have a relationship to each other.
Correct grammar and good style.
Citations: please use specific page numbers in your citations! I regard citations as a form of communication—you are letting me know how you know the information you are drawing on. As always, using ideas or information from others without citing it is a violation of academic integrity (See ‘Important note” below).
These requirements are directly related to the rubric, which assess how well you have fulfilled the requirements.

Length: my general expectation is that this paper should be about 5 pages. I am not setting a word count, but will grade based on how well students fulfill the above criteria (see rubric as well).

Topic: CHOICE A. James Cone creates a Black theology based on his interpretation of Jesus and the New Testament. In this paper, examine how race shapes the multiple parts of his theology (that is, do not just report his positions but look at how race creates those positions). How is his approach, particularly in terms of race but also in terms of his interpretations, like and unlike at least one of the following: MLK, Jr., “Paul’s Letter to American Christians;” Noll’s arguments in Chapter 4; the examples in Color of Christ, Chapter 8 (not including that chapter’s description of Cone); OR Wheaton, “Discourse on Philemon.”

These topics are based around a series of questions. You do not need to structure your paper by answering these questions in order. The questions are meant to help you create an argument about the relationship among the readings you choose.

Final advice:

Do not use “I”, “In my opinion”, or “It is my personal belief”. This paper should be about what you think but also why you think it. Students can often fall into a trap of stating an opinion without providing a clear explanation. This leads to lower grades NOT because you are “wrong” but because you have not sufficiently explained your reasoning/thinking.

BEFORE HANDING IN YOUR PAPER, do a final visual check:
Does every paragraph, besides the introduction and conclusion have at least one quotation from the text? If not, you have parts of your paper that are more description than points supporting your argument.
Do you make sure not to end a paragraph with a quotation? Make sure you draw a conclusion after the quotations.
Are any paragraphs more than a page long? Are there several short paragraphs on a page? Try to avoid either too long or too short paragraphs as each approach reveals organizational weaknesses.

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT ACADEMIC INTEGRITY:
The sources listed in the assignment, plus class notes, should be enough to write this paper. If for any reason you look up information from any other source (any website, prezis available on the internet, sample essays available on the internet, etc.) you MUST cite these other sources that are helping you with your paper. I do not forbit using other sources—though I strongly encourage you to contact me, in person or via email, with questions instead. If you are writing the paper last minute, I still recommend contacting me and handing in the paper a day late with a mild grade penalty (see syllabus). But under no circumstances should you use the words, ideas, or even factual information from any source in your paper without citing it. It is plagiarism and it will result in a much lower grade, which I determine on a case by case basis, as well as any reports to the associate dean that I decide is necessary.

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