The focus must be on comparative analysis of 4–5 of the assigned readings rather than summary of either readings or class
discussion, and on integrating information resulting from research into both scholarly and popular sources, conducted
primarily through library databases.
Throughout the term, we are exploring the assigned readings through the lens of four key themes: Good/Evil; Life/Death;
Freedom/Slavery; Wisdom/Folly. The goal is to develop a clearer understanding of the fundamental cultural assumptions that
underlie beliefs about worldview and value systems, through close reading of and engagement with the works of thinkers who
reflect and shape the cultures of Modernity.
The content of the essay must reflect the student’s exploration of one fundamental cultural assumption or “master narrative” as
understood through one or more of these key themes.
Some topics of interest that might reveal FCA’s or master narratives include leadership & authority; the role of education in
society; faith vs. science; justice & judgment; the ideal life, particularly as it is conceived for different kinds of people; utopian
visions; conformity to or rebellion against social systems; or any other clearly defined and described topic relating to beliefs
about what the world is about and how people should behave in that world.
See the introductory Class Notes under Resources on D2L for some of the questions you might ask about the four key themes
in order to generate FCA’s.
The argument of the essay must be
? Narrowly focused around only one FCA or narrative, in order to clearly trace the development of that idea across time and
across cultural barriers
? Deeply analyzed, based on close reading of specific passages from 4–5 of the assigned readings and on comparative
analysis of differences and similarities between the assigned readings and their contexts
? Solidly grounded in secondary research into the historical and biographical contexts of the readings, using high quality
sources found primarily through library database searches.
This is a brief description of the topic that you intend to research and write about for the Research Essay, as well as a list of
the assigned readings that you believe will work well with that topic (a brief review of the Wikipedia page for each
reading/author should give you enough information to decide whether the work will be suitable).
Write a few brief paragraphs.
? Explain the topic you intend to develop (ask the questions about the key themes, and briefly describe your understanding of
the FCA as it affects your life today and how it might have been different/similar for the Moderns