Final Project Requirements

In the Air

Final Project Requirements

This semester we have thought through literature in terms of movements (the Enlightenment, Romanticism, Realism, Modernism, Post-Modernism) and while this is most definitely a way to ground ourselves chronologically and historically to the texts, there are endless ways to think about the way literature relates to any given society and to us as individuals.  If we think of literature as atmospheric rather than limited to a particular movement or period, it becomes more of a phenomenon that at any point can serve as a tool for us to interpret. The insights we gain can help us situate ourselves vis-à-vis the world we live in and can allow us to break and reform narratives that perhaps were concretized in problematic ways,

Guiding Question:

For your final project, I would like you to see these spaces in our contemporary atmosphere. What ‘age of literature’ are we in now? What kind of genres do we see? What themes? What do you feel seems to be emerging from our time? What will people remember and how will they attempt to classify what we are doing? (What is in the air?)

There are two components to the final work you will do for this class. The first is a research based written component and the second will be a more creative multi model component that you will present in the last week of class. All of the instructions and percentage breakdown for each part is outlined below.


Part I: Short Essay Component- 70%

For this part of your final project you will need to produce an essay that is:

  • Minimum: 1,250 words (about 5 pages)
  • Typed, double spaced, times new roman, word document
  • MLA citations required!

Find a contemporary text that you feel can allow us to interpret ‘what is in the air.’ As we’ve discussed a text can be many things: a piece of literature, contemporary film, contemporary artist (piece of artwork), a performance, or the work of a contemporary musician and discuss their relationship to our world. How is it relevant? What makes it ‘literature’? What makes it important? Cite from the text and add your own interpretation at every point. Ultimately, you will be creating a thesis (claim, interpretation, etc) about your chosen ‘text’ just as you would have about the texts we read throughout the semester. You will define your terms (your keywords) and claims the same way you defined terms in paper one and the midterm.


There are several steps to this process:

  1. Find a topic; theme; subject on which you will focus. Have this topic approved by me.

Here are some examples from past courses:

  • Race in Lyric in Kendrick Lamar’s Music
  • The Politics of Privacy : Autobiography through Facebook status
  • Indian-American Assimilation in Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies


2. Find two secondary sources FROM AN ACADEMIC JOURNAL ONLYto bolster your argument in some way and integrate into your interpretation. We will go over approved sources and search methods in class.

  1. Write 5-7 pages creating a short argument about your chosen ‘text’ integrating your sources.

 Part I is due: 12/20 – Electronically as word document; as an attachment to

Part II: Presentation Component- 30%

In the second part of your project your will make your written work come alive! In other words, you will take the main idea or message of your work and translate it into a visual or audio piece. This one piece should not only encompass what you’re trying to do in your written work but also offer a way for the class to see in a very short period of time, what you’re work was all about. This is an opportunity for you to make art out of your work.

You can create:

– An audio essay- recording parts of your essay aloud and editing them into a compilation.

– A short, edited  video related to your topic

– An actual painting or still work of art (that you have created)/ a photograph that you’ve taken

– A collage (digital or analog)

-A memorized skit or reading

You will need to run any other ideas by me. Your presentation for the class must be at least 5 minutes long and your work must be able to stand-alone and tell us what it is about. I will open the floor to questions about your paper/research after you present. You will be graded on how well you can translate your written work and your efforts. You will not be graded on artistic talent.

Whatever you choose to do must be no longer than 10 minutes including questions so plan accordingly.

Important Dates:

11/21:  Bring paper topic or subject to class with a thesis statement and 2 peer reviewed sources printed for workshopping.

12/3+12/5/ Draft Due!  Schedule individual meeting with me to discuss final project, grades, the semester etc.

All Meetings will take place in our classroom. This meeting counts as your attendance for the entire week. Bring to this meeting:

  • The first full page of your final paper typed and ready to go. This is to give you an opportunity for me to review your work and make sure you are on the right track.
  • A proposal or sample of your oral presentation/ the ‘remix’ component of your final project that you will present to the class on 12/10 or 12/12.
  • Any questions you have for me about the course

12/10+12/12: Final Presentation in class. Make sure all audio/visual preparations are done beforehand. Your presentation will be 10 minutes tops! (I will have to limit everyone to 10 minutes because we need to make sure we all get a chance to present).

12/20: The written component of your assignment is due.