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American Studies

July 12, 2016 0 Comment

Paper , Order, or Assignment Requirements

Part III Essay (80 points)

Choose ONE of the following topics and write a 2-3 page essay in response:

Option 1: Vietnam in American Memory

In her article, “The Vietnam War in American Memory,” Marilyn Young argues that Americans tend to treat the Vietnam War as something that “happened among Americans.” What does she mean, and do the readings/texts from class support or undermine her analysis?

All answers must contain a discussion of EITHER Born on the Fourth of July OR Platoon AND at least one additional text from the following list:

LeFeber, “Introduction”

Baskir and Strauss, “The Vietnam Generation”

Zirin, “Rumble, Young Man, Rumble”

“Ballad of the Green Berets”

Westwell, “Hollywood’s Vietnam”

Fallows, “What Did You Do in the Class War, Daddy?”

Terry, “The War and Race”

Komunyakaa, “To Du Street”

Hass, “Making a Memory of War”

Essays should be 2-3 pages in length and should contain a clear thesis statement that answers the questions asked (see above). The strongest answers will draw upon specific examples and evidence from Born on the Fourth of July or Platoon and incorporate ideas from the readings/lectures to justify the response to these texts.

Option 2: Politics in America

There have been 57 Presidential elections in the United States (the 2016 election is #58). So have been more consequential than others. Pick a Presidential Election that you think had a profound impact on the United States and write a 2-3 page analysis of that election. Who were the candidates? What were the issues? What factors helped decide the election? What were the voting trends?


Be sure to utilize some of the terms that we have learned in class to substantiate your answer:






Social Location

You should refer to the Boller text, the lectures and the additional readings to support your thesis.

Essays should take the following form: The first paragraph should briefly explain the central argument and provide a clear thesis that expresses the goal of the essay (what will you show?). The body of the essay should analyze how specific evidence that you present relates to, illustrate, or support your thesis. That evidence should be explained through reference to at least one additional text from the lists above. It should conclude by discussing what the analysis can help us understand about contemporary American society.

The best essays in both categories will contain a clear, persuasive argument backed up with strong reasons and specific evidence. It will draw upon course texts to explain the meaning of the terminology and/or place the evidence in historical context. It will NOT just drop convenient quotations from the critical materials, but will, rather, think through the arguments of these materials and use them to deepen the analysis. See the syllabus for a more complete list of criteria for grading.

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