Spring 2014 Midterm (4-6 pages)
due Thursday, March 27


Your midterm task takes a cue from the class’s opening number: the entries on “Taste” and related categories we read from Raymond Williams’ Keywords dictionary. You will also pick an operative term from our readings and meetings, and offer an analysis in four to six pages of pithy prose.

How you approach the assignment is up to you: you may devote your energies to a deep reading of a single piece, or undertake a lateral analysis and deduce a working definition of your keyword from a collection of texts. In either case, be sure to contextualize your concept, providing helpful historical, cultural, social and aesthetic coordinates, since we’ve seen how ideas about taste, good and bad, are never made in a disembodied or disinterested way.

As with the blog post, you must include a concrete cultural object to illustrate the abstract concept you’ve selected and dissected. You are allowed to pillage your post for repurposable material, but be sure to synthesize your ‘vintage’ verbiage into a cohesive original argument for this composition.

To ensure that you’ve carved out sufficient time to meditate on your chosen concept, you must announce it to me via email before class on Thursday, March 13. I am happy to meet with you during regular office hours or by appointment at any stage in the writing process but the last. Harried emails sent in the eleventh hour will not be answered, nor will they make a favorable impression on your professor—or serve you as a scholar in the short or long runs.

Formatting and Submission Requirements

Your paper must be typed in a 12-point, standard font, in a double-spaced Word or Pages document with 1” margins and in-text citations (Chicago, MLA, APA or another conventional style). You need not include a list of works cited unless you make recourse to multiple extracurricular materials.

Submit your document online to the designated drop-box on Moodle, or mail it to me at akayiato@macalester.edu before the clock strikes midnight on March 27, and Thursday turns into Friday, the 28th. Extensions will be granted only with my pre-approval; late papers are otherwise docked one full letter grade per day.

Harry Whittier Frees Cat School

Images by American animal photographer, Harry Whittier Frees (1879–1953).


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