The definition of myth in the context of our research follows the second sense listed in OED: “ A widespread but untrue or erroneous story or belief; a widely held misconception; a misrepresentation of the truth. Also: something existing only in myth; a fictitious or imaginary person or thing ” (“myth”) . As we focus on cultural myths, we deal with the very fabric of our collective and individual perceptions and imaginations , something that has become part of our identity in various domains. This fact makes the task of identifying an “untrue belief” in our own value system— or of discovering a fictitious foundation under own feet — a true challenge, a real test of our courage and our responsi bility to think critically, to swim against the mainstream, in our pursuit of truth. Can we afford not to question the status quo, not to rock the boat — but rather to flow with the stream like proverbial deadwood ? Well, considering the direction of the stream over the last fifty years—and I imply the sharp acceleration of social inequality—our insouciance will finish us before they cry “Timber!”
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Research Paper Assignment (3500 words, final draft is due May 26)
As mentioned in your syllabus, the curriculum requires that students produce a research-based argument that critically addresses one of the cultural myths associated with the United States.To start this assignment, read Heike Paul’s Introduction to his book The Myths That Made America (pp. 11-31) and briefly answer Study Questions 1, 2, 5-7 (p. 32). [10 points available]Browse the list of Works Cited (pp. 33-42) and see if any of the publications looks like a potential source to check for more details.Look at the Table of Contents (pp. 7-8) to decide which myth appeals to you most. Once you have two or three candidates, look at the Study Questions in the end of the corresponding chapter to have a closer view of the related issues; check the bibliography that follows—work titles often generate good ideas and set directions for research. See if the chosen chapter relates to the selections in our course reader.Browse the desired chapter and the works-cited list further to find a little niche for your input on the subject. Articulate your research question(s). [A research question is the one that requires research to be answered, so you are expected not to have a definite answer prior to conducting research.]Write down 2-3 candidates for your research question and post them on Canvas ASAP: I’ll advise you on whatever choice is the best to yield an effective paper, and you’ll focus on that. [As you decide on your research question, consider why your answering it could be important to your audience, why they should care about an answer. What possible problem or issue could your research address or resolve? — 10 points available]