You will be exploring and responding to summarize and analyze What Will the Humanities Look Like in a Decade? by Robert D. Newman. You will then take a stand on the issues discussed in the article and make an argument supporting or critiquing the authors position. This assignment is asking you to consider the position taken by the author and to give it critical consideration. Does he/she have a point? Are his/her critiques valid? Is he/she off the mark? Most essentially, the paper should take up one of more of the articles main arguments and argue whether or not they are successful or valid and why.

Primarily, this assignment is designed to situate you within dominant conversations about the humanities, to allow you to explore your own thoughts on these issues, and to engage you in a key practice of humanities writing: analysis of arguments. This assignment will also serve as a refresher on some of the basic skills of academic writing including summary and argumentation.

In an opening paragraph, offer a brief summary of the main argument of your chosen article. This should be no more than 2-3 sentences (or 100 words) and succinctly offer the general arc of the text. At the end of the opening paragraph, present a thesis that takes a stance on the articles argument. Is the argument an effective or valid one? Why or why not? In other words, I want to see you offer an argument about whether the author is right or wrong and provide some form of justification to support your argument.

It is crucial that you dont just agree or disagree. Im not wanting to see you express your opinion.. Rather, you are making an argument. Because of this, you need to make a clear case for your particular reading of the article.

Following your introduction, offer a series of body paragraphs walking your reader through the key arguments of the article using paraphrasing and/or quotations when appropriate. This, notably, should not simply reproduce or condense the argument but, rather, aim to make sense of it by clearly explaining its points. In this section (about 500 words), you should strive for a comprehensive and unbiased summary.

Your summary should not (and cannot) include every detail.  Part of the assignment is for you to carefully read through the piece and distinguish salient details from those that are less important. 

After youve offered a summary of the article, offer one or two paragraphs of response (about 400 words). These should begin with strong, clear topic sentences clarifying precisely what the article gets right or wrong about the humanities and why. You do not need to do outside research for this. Rather, you should evaluate the claims as the author articulates them. Is his/her logic sound or unsound? Does he/she mischaracterize something? Can you point to a precise place in the argument where this occurs?

In this response, I am wanting to see you work closely with an argument and to identify where it succeeds or fails. Consider how the author supports himself/herself and the evidence he/she uses. Can you, for example, think of an alternative way to think about the humanities? Can you think of a challenge to his/her argument? Or, can you think of further evidence to support the articles general claims. In either case, Im wanting to see a thoughtful consideration of the argument presented.

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