The research essay is due at 24pm, September14. It is a writing assignment of 1750 words (excluding citations and bibliography)
The questions to choose from are as follows:-
1. Is the narrative of the unfolding cosmos in Hesiod’s Theogony an explanation of the contemporary world of the Ancient Greeks?
2. Are the heroes of Greek mythology so exceptional as to be more akin to gods than humans?
3. Do the myths of the Trojan War express a positive purpose for warfare, or are its consequences unambiguously tragic?
4. What do myths recounting the origins of ancient cities express about those cities and their citizens? Compare and contrast the origin myths of at least three different cities in the ancient Greco-Roman world.
5. Free choice question. In this subject you may do an essay on a topic of your choice, provided that you have it approved in advance of submission by the course instructor (no later than two weeks prior to submission). Prior to consulting the instructor you should frame a question that you are going to answer, and write a few sentences about what you plan to do. Try to do this earlier rather than later in case there are problems with your proposed essay topic.
You should seek out, read and integrate appropriate scholarship into your argument. You can use the bibliography included here as a starting point for your reading, and should seek advice from the instructor if you are having trouble finding material relating to the question, texts, myths or themes that your essay is addressing. Some tips on you to use secondary sources appropriately can be found in the Essay Guide for this course. As a rough guide, you should aim to utilize at least six relevant secondary sources in the final essay, and may use more. In order to find and integrate this scholarship you will likely also need to consult a larger number more sources as several of these may not prove finally relevant or make it into you submitted essay.
While this is a research essay, it also requires you to provide your own arguments in answer to the question based on the reading of primary texts and secondary sources you have undertaken. These arguments are not expected to be original (although they may be), and may in some cases be similar to the arguments and conclusions you are citing from secondary sources. However, the citation of the conclusions of scholars are not sufficient in themselves to prove your argument and answer. You need to provide the primary evidence and explain the reasons for these conclusions (i.e. provide arguments) as well. While you need to take great care about the strength and basis of your arguments, in some cases you may indeed find that you can support contentions from your own arguments based on primary sources in the absence of support from secondary sources.
Demonstrating how primary evidence supports your arguments (whether or not those arguments are or aren’t based on secondary sources) is also critical to this essay task. For most of the available questions, your most important primary evidence will be either textual (poems, plays, writings of other sorts) or iconographical (sculptures, architecture, etc.). You need to be familiar with these sources. But you will also need to be selective in their use, identifying and referring to only the specific details of the evidence that are relevant to your question and arguments. This is another extremely important skill in this discipline and in the study of humanities generally.
Your Research Essay must be a structured essay answer to one of the questions above. It should follow a clear paragraph structure and each main paragraph should have a clearly identifiable contention supported by primary evidence, secondary sources and your own interpretive arguments as appropriate.
As with other assignments for this course, the Research Essay is an exercise in the clear communication of complex ideas and arguments. These need to be expressed in clear and correct English and presented in a manner that directly conveys your meaning. Bibliography and footnote citation. Your essay must have a bibliography and employ footnotes to cite secondary sources where used. Footnotes and bibliography must follow the Chicago Style.
You should avoid simply describing the subject matter, texts, iconography or myths relevant to your question. Any context or descriptive material should be included only as it is required to support your contentions and arguments. In effect, material is only relevant, and should only be included, if it is part of your argument. Some judgment is required here. But be critical with your own work. If there is any material that clearly is not necessary to explain your contentions or support your arguments in answer to the question, edit it out.
You are not expected to present every possible argument for your answer to the question, to approach the question from every possible perspective, or even to provide every possible piece of supporting evidence for the contentions and arguments you do focus on. In the scope of this essay, you can adequately develop only 5 or 6 key contentions as part of your overall answer to the question. You need to priorities the strongest arguments that support your answer. For this task it is far more effective to present a few key arguments that are well developed and supported than many arguments that are under-developed or left with inadequate supporting evidence.
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