2000 Words deadline 2 days


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Research Essay

Weighting: 20%

Length: 2000 words; MLA format; please include your Student

Number; no title page is required.

Research Requirement: Your paper will include information from at least two (2)

scholarly articles from refereed/peer-reviewed journals.

Due Date: 09 April 2021; uploaded to eClass/Turnitin as a .docx

Instructions: Select one (1) of the following topics and write a clear and

organized response that is supported by evidence from

course resources and that sustains a connection with the

overarching course theme: analysing the ideologies,

movements, and theories that shape and define the historical

Modern Age and our understanding of ‘modernity’.

Please note that there is no single, “correct” response to these

broad topics. Your task is to construct a focused and

enabling thesis—i.e., your original and targeted response to

the topic—which is then illustrated and supported by

compelling, course-based argumentation in the body of your


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Topics: 1. With specific reference to at least three (3) course readings*, explain

how the term and/or designation “Progress” or “Race” or “Citizen” is

incorrect or, at the very least, insufficient when we are considering the

defining characteristics of modernity and the historical Modern Age.

2. Edgar Degas is credited with saying: “Art is not what you see, but

what you make others see.” Select a specific artwork from our

course resources—it can be a painting, sculpture, play, poem, song

or novel/la—and subject it to rigorous analysis. Your task will be to

explain, with specific connections to at least three (3) course

readings*, how the artist either (a) uses their art to inspire or educate

their audience; or (b) uses their art to manipulate or mislead their

audience. Whether you paper engages with art as satire or art as

propaganda, you are required to explain how the artwork you are

analysing predicts, exemplifies and/or clarifies something

foundational about modernity and the historical Modern Age.

3. An important theme in this course has been to query the binary

opposition of “Science and Reason” vs “Religion and Superstition”

that structures the dominant, Eurocentric narrative of modernity in

the West. With specific reference to at least three (3) course

readings*, explain how a more accurate historical and/or

theoretical understanding of these institutions, disciplines, and beliefs

can generate a more precise and enabling theory of (a) the

“Modern mind”; or (b) modern forms of social discipline; or (c) of

modern identity formation.

4. All definitions of the Modern Age agree that both democracy and

human rights are not only defining characteristics but the goal of

modernity in the West. With reference to at least three (3) course

texts*, analyse the benefits and the problems associated with both

specific liberal democracies as well as with particular forms of imperial

and totalitarian rule in the historical Early Modern and Modern Age.

The purpose of this assignment is to:

1. evaluate your ability to identify and to use the key course concepts,

theoretical paradigms, and definitions that you have learned

logically and persuasively.

2. provide suggestions on how to improve critical analysis and


3. identify areas of your academic writing that would benefit from

some remedial attention.

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Please note that:

1. *online lectures do not count as a required course reading/viewing

2. a superior paper will contain an enabling thesis with a concrete

connection to defining and analysing “modernity” and the historical

Modern Age; an original idea that requires a sustained and advanced

level of engagement with course and research materials.

3. an A-level research paper will, necessarily, evidence first-rate research

skills. The secondary sources selected for such a paper will: (a) be

relevant to the matters under consideration; (b) inform the original thesis

that structures the paper; and, (c) enlarge and enrich the key themes

and theories that are the core of this course.

4. the body of an excellent paper will provide persuasive evidence in

support of its overarching thesis in language that is clear and free of

structural/grammatical errors.

5. the conclusion of an outstanding paper will bring your essay to a close

based upon the work that appears in its preceding paragraphs—it does

not restate your thesis or arguments at length, clarify your work or draw

hasty connections to course themes.

6. no credit will be given for description/summary of primary or secondary

sources, lecture material or tutorial discussion.

7. no credit will be given for materials obtained from Shmoop, Wikipedia,

SparkNotes, Course Hero, Study Mode, Khan Academy, etc.

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