Essay #2: America in the 1950s or Presidential Politics

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Essay #2: America in the 1950s or Presidential Politics
(200 points)
ASSIGNMENT: Choose EITHER Option # 1 OR Option #2; do NOT do both options.
OPTION #1 – Juvenile Delinquency and the Red Scare
Due date: Before 11 pm (Central Time) on Friday of Week 6
Length: 4-5 pages
Sources: At least 3 references to secondary sources (may be drawn
from course readings or from independent research, but only scholarly sources will count toward your total)
Write a 4-5 page essay in which you analyze a cultural text (a film, memoir, novel, set of images, etc.) or social practice associated with the United States’ participation in the Vietnam War. You may take ONE of the following approaches:
Perform an ideological analysis of a film, photograph, television commercial, documentary, journalistic account, recording, or other cultural representation of the fear of juvenile delinquency, OTHER THAN Rebel Without a Cause. What does the text suggest about America in the 1950s? How does the text construct a particular form of collective memory about the fear of the spread of communism? That is, how does it work to make a certain view of the deviant behavior seem “unnatural” or “incorrect”? What features of the Cold War are foregrounded, which ones are rendered invisible, and what is the effect of these choices? Your response should use class readings or other reliable secondary sources to develop/support the argument.
Compare/contrast the two major texts examined in class – Rebel Without a Cause and the Ten Cent Plague. Do they produce similar views of the American youth, and, if so, how and why? Do they produce different views of the American youth, and, if so, how and why? Your response should use class readings or other reliable secondary sources to develop/support the argument.
Analyze how the Cold War and the feeling of nationalism continues to resonate in contemporary American culture and politics (for example, the upcoming Presidential elections). Choose one or, at most, two examples of contemporary culture that illustrate the on-going renegotiation of the meaning of the Cold War; explain how and why attitudes shifted toward the control of teenagers in the 1950s. Your response should use class readings or other reliable secondary sources to develop/support the argument.
Consider a text or practice that constitutes a form of cultural politics. How does the text or practice illustrate the tensions inherent in this style of resistance? That is, how successful is the text or practice as an act of resistance to established forms of power in juveniles in the 1950s? What made this change happen in a single generation? Your response should use class readings or other reliable secondary sources to develop/support the argument.
Whatever approach students choose, all papers must contain (or demonstrate) the following:
A clear argument (thesis), backed up with substantial textual evidence (e.g., quotes and descriptions) and thoughtful reasoning
Minimal plot summary of texts (I want argument and analysis, not mere description).
References to at least three different course texts or outside source materials. Outside sources must be from a reliable scholarly journal or book on the subject of Vietnam. Use internet sources sparingly, and, if you use them, double check them against alternate sites or sources for accuracy. Internet sources will not count toward your total of three references.
A strong conclusion that makes clear the significance of your analysis (i.e., what it helps the reader understand about the history or legacy of Vietnam)
OPTION #2 – Presidential Politics
Due date: Before 11 pm (Central Time) on Friday of Week 15
Length: 4-5 pages
Sources: At least 3 references to secondary sources (may be drawn
from course readings or from independent research, but only scholarly sources will count toward your total)
Write a 4-5 page essay that uses some of the American Studies concepts that we have learned this semester and the impact that they have had on Presidential Elections. You may take ONE of the following approaches:
Analyze the ideologies of one of the political parties in the US. How have they changed over time? What caused these changes?
What role has nationalism played in American Presidential Politics? Choose at least two different Presidential Elections that were impacted by a strong feeling of nationalism and explain why this phenomenon occurred.
Women have had the right to vote in the US for only about 100 years. How has this affected Presidential elections? Cite specific elections that were affected by gender.
Analyze George Washington’s Farewell Address. What did he warn the people of politically? Where his fears justified? Use examples of contemporary politics to support your claim.
Donald Trump is running for President as a nonpolitical outsider. This has been attempted and/or claimed numerous times in history, including by Andrew Jackson and Zachary Taylor. Using the articles by Andrew Saunders “The First Time Party Bigwigs Tried to Stop A Frontrunner From Becoming President” and Gil Troy “How an Outsider President Killed the Party”, to compare and contrast the elections of 1824, 1828 and 1848 with the 2016 Presidential Election (thus far).
Whatever approach students choose, all papers must contain (or demonstrate) the following:
A clear argument (thesis), backed up with substantial textual evidence (e.g., quotes and descriptions) and thoughtful reasoning
Minimal plot summary of texts (I want argument and analysis, not mere description).
References to at least three different course texts or outside source materials. Outside sources must be from a reliable scholarly journal or book on the subject of 9/11. Use internet sources sparingly, and, if you use them, double check them against alternate sites or sources for accuracy. Internet sources will not count toward your total of three references.
A strong conclusion that makes clear the significance of your analysis (i.e., what it helps the reader understand about the history or legacy of Vietnam)
Scholarly Sources and Citations
To help provide cultural context for their analysis, students are expected to draw upon and integrate at least 3 sources (either from the assigned readings or from scholarly journals or books on the subjects) in their essays.  These scholarly sources might include any of the following: sources on the historical era in which your text was produced, articles and books on your particular text (or kind of text), or secondary sources on a specific element addressed by your text (issues of race, or gender, for example).
If you are searching for scholarly sources, I would suggest starting at any of the following locations:
“Basic Search” of OSU Library – This should be your first stop when looking for books, videos, and reference materials.
America: History & Life – This database (which can be accessed through the OSU Library website) is a fine source for locating scholarly articles in American Studies.
JSTOR –This database (which can be accessed through the OSU Library website) is a fine source for locating scholarly articles on all topics.
Google Scholar – though this is database is on the internet, the sources contained therein are drawn from scholarly journals. Therefore, essays from this site will count toward your reference total.
All sources, including primary sources (i.e. the films or novels you are analyzing), course texts, and outside sources should be cited in proper MLA style (only!). For help with MLA style, see the MLA handout in the Writing Tips folder of the D2L, or visit one of the online links to MLA advice provided there. You do NOT need to cite material taken from lecture, but do NOT quote it verbatim (word-for-word) either.
Formatting Guidelines
Papers must be typed, double-spaced with twelve point font and 1” margins all around. On the right hand corner of the first page, single-spaced, you need to provide the following information: Name, course title, date. One space below, centered, you need to provide the title of the essay. It can be whimsical, clever, or serious; what it cannot be, however, is “Essay #2” or “An Analysis of [name of theme].”
Number all pages after the first page. Begin your paper at the top of the first page (no extra spaces between the title and the first paragraph).
Grading
Because this essay is short, it needs to be especially clear and to the point. The essay will be graded on its argument, evidence, and presentation (writing, spelling, clarity, length, format, etc.). The strongest papers (A level) must be clearly written, with a persuasive thesis, substantial textual evidence to back up your argument/s, and a bare minimum of spelling and grammatical errors. See the syllabus for additional information about grading criteria.
All papers or other assignments must be submitted to the proper Dropbox folder (Essay 2: Vietnam Option or Essay 2: Presidential Politics) by 11 pm Central Time on the date due.

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