Topic II or Special Topic Essay Assignment This assignment asks that you develop further thoughts on the role of multiculturalism and minority/marginal voices in helping build a meaningfully diverse and inclusive America, in which difference—racial, socio-cultural, political, etc.—is embraced as a source of strength, and as a key characteristic of American culture. Alternatively, you may focus on the digital age and the extent to which it promotes (or prohibits) freedom as experienced by ordinary individuals in America today. In 800-900 words, you will primarily build your ideas through ONE of the following prompts, and bring in personal observations and/or lived experiences as support.
• Explore personal or social issues facing immigrants or Americans having a hyphenated identity (e.g., Indian-American, Asian-American) that highlight structural inequality and implicit bias when it comes to who—and who doesn’t—naturally belong in America.
• Delve into unique challenges and complexities facing many African Americans that remain under-emphasized and/or unresolved, using Brent Staples’s essay and James Baldwin’s short story as support.
• Refer to the prompts on Handout for 8/5 as a guide to raising and addressing one key question re: the digital age, freedom, and 21st-century America. If possible, use the documentary Citizenfour as support. Expectations and Grading Criteria
• The essay engages with one of the prompts thoroughly and meaningfully. • The essay should avoid excessive summary of sources.
• The essay should include textual analysis and quotations where needed.
• The essay is not overrun with subjective or overly-personal language (“I feel,” “I don’t think,” “I believe,” etc.)
• The essay contains no plagiarism. An essay in the A or B range successfully demonstrates further thinking on the pursuit of happiness and the American Dream, while providing sound textual analysis and relevant observations or experiences. The essay does not contain glaring or repeated issues that hinder full comprehension. An essay in the C range fails to develop further thinking on the pursuit of happiness and the American Dream. Overall, the essay is underdeveloped, excessively informal, and difficult or confusing to read.