(Academic) Option A: Inquiry-driven Synthesis So far, our writing assignments t
(Academic) Option A: Inquiry-driven Synthesis So far, our writing assignments this semester have asked you to read deeply, analyze a text, and explore your own attitudes toward nature. Now, I ask you to put all these skills all together in a nuanced, rhetorically engaging academic argument that draws on other writers to help you articulate your own perspective. Your Task: Please develop a complex claim about the natural world, inspired by at least one of our readings. I encourage you to follow a line of inquiry that has troubled you, excited you, confused you, etc. over the course of this sequence. In the course of your argument, put at least two nature writers in conversation with each other (and yourself) to develop your position. You might consider answering one of the questions below (or move beyond them): What exactly counts as nature/ the natural world? Should we view humans as part of the natural world, or separate? How does race/ gender/ nation/class impact our conceptions of the natural world? What is wilderness? (Why) are wilderness areas/ land preservation a good thing? To what extent should we consider tradition in our conception of nature? Is the natural world "sacred"? How does loving nature impact our response to issues such as climate change? Outcomes: This paper expects you to work toward Outcome 3, particularly in “considering, incorporating, and responding to different points of view while developing one’s own position.” [Note that more emphasis on outside research will be emphasized in NEXT sequence with MA 2, it's not required here.] You will be “creating a ‘conversation’—identifying and engaging with meaningful patterns” across texts (Outcome Two). And just as we analyzed another writer’s rhetorical choices, I encourage you to “experiment with various aspects of composing….for diverse rhetorical effects” in your own writing, such as point of view, audience, voice, experimenting with engaging introductions, etc. (Outcome One). You will also be submitting a draft of this essay to your classmates for feedback in peer review, so we will practice crafting writing as a recursive, collaborative process (Outcome Four). Tips: Remember that you do not have to choose a “right side,” but can develop a nuanced awareness of the complexity of the issue you take up. This paper is expected to follow general conventions of academic writing with proper citations (whichever you prefer, just be consistent), but you may choose to stretch the boundaries of the academic essay in incorporating personal narrative or positionality into your argument. This can be especially useful as an engaging framing device in your introduction and conclusion. You might think back to “Polemic” and “Black Women and the Wilderness” as models. Consider patterns or dissonances between different authors to launch your path of inquiry: e.g., Cronon vs. Abbey on wilderness, Silko and Abbey’s overlapping focus on the Southwest landscape, Owens and Silko on indigenous perspectives, Cronon and American Progress on the frontier, Emerson and White on embodied experience in nature, etc. You might use authors to bolster your argument, counter and add nuance to your perspective, provide a contrast with your point of view to make it more clear, etc. You may compare two authors directly to jump start your argument, but this is not necessary (and simple compare/contrast essays often lose a sense of “so what?”). Don’t just quote and run--consider our skills of rhetorical analysis we’ve been developing and engage substantially with an author’s rhetoric as well as their ideas (and of course, these are related). Requirements: 4-7 pages (not including works cited page), double-spaced, 1-inch margins. You must engage with at least 2 sources (I recommend at least one should be from class, but you can talk to me about other options). Any citations must be in consistent formatting (probably MLA, but others are acceptable if you prefer). Include a proper Works Cited page (come talk to me if you have questions about how to do this)

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