In the beginning of Jane Tompkins’ “Indians: Textualism, Morality, and the Problem of History,” after providing some context for her relationship to the subject at hand, she identifies and describes a specific problem that must be resolved. She asserts that it “concerns the difference point of view makes when people are giving accounts of events, whether first or second hand. The problem is that if all accounts of events are determined through and through by the observer’s frame of reference, then one will never know, in any given case, what really happened” (Tompkins 102). She then takes her reluctant readers (colleagues/professors on the other side of the “theory wars”) on an adventure through extensive research of secondary and primary sources–even firsthand accounts–which help her to identify the problem and discover much about herself. Ultimately, she formulates a solution based on analyzing and evaluating a variety of sources. In essence, she synthesizes the knowlege and experience to come to a conclusion that “Reasons must be given, evidence adduced, authorities cited, and analogies drawn. Being aware that facts are motivated, believing that people are always operating in side some particular framework or other [including theory and worldview] is a pertinent argument when what is under discussion is the way beliefs are grounded. But it doesn’t give one leverage on the facts of a particular case” (Tompkins 118). Tompkins uses inductive reasoning and clever argumentation, persuasive appeals and rhetorical strategies, to persuade her reluctant reader that one can and must come to a sufficient truth on which to make moral judgements on issues that require them, and this is her major claim. She resolves “What this means for the problem I’ve been addressing is that I must piece together the story of European-Indian relationships as best I can, believing this version up to a point, that version not at all, another almost entirely, according to what seems reasonable and plausible, given everything else that I know” (Tompkins 118). Ultimately, she also asserts that the way history is taught needs to change, but that unfortunately, she is a Professor of Literature, not a History Professor. The good news is that the way history is taught has changed quote a bit since the 80’s.
Now it is your turn to put aside any bias you may have and to “piece together” your objective research on question or issue facing this nation. Once you have determined your conclusion (major claim), you will work to persuade a reluctant/resistant (perhaps uninformed) reader to consider (maybe even accept) your position though the carefully constructed “story” and experience of your research, as Tompkins did, with advanced analysis, evaluation and synthesis of a variety of perspectives. Through your close work with Tompkins’ text, you were introduced to a nuanced, inductive argument–something you are now challenged to do. Tompkins, in particular, provides an excellent model for the project you are about to undertake.
This essay is due on the last day of class.
Choose from this list of Contemporary Issues Facing the United States
You must choose one of the following three options (A, B, or C) for your paper–papers not on one of these topics will receive a zero.
(Note: While the Grossmont College Databases, especially Opposing Viewpoints, are excellent and should be used for your paper, you should also have no problem finding a plethora of perspectives on any of these current issues.)
A. Should the United States give reparations to African-Americans for Slavery?
B. Should the United States open its border with Mexico?
C. Should college be free in the United States?
Final essay should be:
This essay will be run through VeriCite. The program ensures originality by comparing submissions to billions of sources of academic content, publisher’s content, and against your own submissions—far beyond just Grossmont and Cuyamaca. Papers receiving a VeriCite score over 15% may result in a zero on the assignment and academic probation from the college. A VeriCite report on an essay below 15% is usually acceptable A high plagiarism percentage on VeriCite is typically over 25% (yellow, orange or red), and it almost always represents academic fraud. Please do your own work, handle your sources responsibly, and contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
For this assignment, I assume you know how to do college-level research. If you feel as though your last English course did not prepare you for the type of research and critical work with sources required by this assignment, below are some resources you may find helpful:
If you have any questions, please ask them well in advance of the due date. Questions sent the night before or the day the essay is due will probably not be answered. If you experience problems uploading this essay, call the 24-hour Canvas Hotline: 1-844-600-4953. Not being able to download the paper is not an acceptable excuse. All final essays must be run through Vericite. Papers not downloaded in time will receive a zero.
Rubric for Tompkins-Style Synthesis Essay CriteriaRatingsPtsThis criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeThis essay is a comprehensive response to the directions and illustrates a deep understanding of Tompkins’ argument (it is modeled after it); the author makes a nuanced inductive argument that effectively uses the rhetorical situation, persuasive appeals, and targeted rhetorical strategies to persuade an uninformed/reluctant audience.This area will be used by the assessor to leave comments related to this criterion.150.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeThe essay is 8-12 pages in length. Long block quotes and/or images are not used to meet page count.This area will be used by the assessor to leave comments related to this criterion.50.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeThe essay is in correct MLA format and style, including in-text citations and the Works Cited page (a cover page is not included). This area will be used by the assessor to leave comments related to this criterion.50.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeThe essay is well organized with effective transitions between ideas and paragraphs.The audience should be clearly guided through the argument.This area will be used by the assessor to leave comments related to this criterion.50.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome The author works closely and critically with a minimum of 8 perspectives, introducing, summarizing, and contextualizing each of them, (i.e., academic meaty sentence, bias, etc.), and smoothly integrates direct quotes, block quotes, paraphrases with their own ideas and words. Quotes are not awkwardly dropped in and are are not used to begin or end paragraphs.Direct work with the texts is a must.This area will be used by the assessor to leave comments related to this criterion.100.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeThe essay is meticulously proofread and primarily free of sentence-level errors.Essay must represent advanced, college-level reasoning, reading, and writing skills.This area will be used by the assessor to leave comments related to this criterion.100.0 pts
Total Points: 500.0
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