PASSAGES TO ANALYZE Within Darwin’s argument for mate choice in Descent was anot

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PASSAGES TO ANALYZE
Within Darwin’s argument for mate choice in Descent was another revolutionary idea: that animals are not merely subject to the extrinsic forces of ecological competition, predation, climate, geography, and so on that create a natural selection. Rather, animals can play a distinct and vital role in their own evolution through their sexual and social choices. Whenever the opportunity evolves to enact sexual preferences through mate choice, a new and distinctively aesthetic evolutionary phenomenon occurs. Whether it occurs within a shrimp or a swan, a moth or a human, individual organisms wield the potential to evolve arbitrary and useless beauty completely independent of (and sometimes in opposition to) the forces of natural selection (Prum 332).
Because the concept of sexual autonomy has not been well-explored in evolutionary biology, it is worthwhile to define it and understand its far-reaching implications. Whether in ethics, political philosophy, sociology, or biology, autonomy is the capacity of an individual agent to make an informed, independent, and uncoerced decision. So, sexual autonomy is the capacity for an individual organism to exercise an informed, independent, and uncoerced sexual choice about whom to mate with. The individual elements of the Darwinian concept of sexual autonomy-that is, sensory perception, cognitive capacities for sensory evaluation and mate choice, the potential for independence from sexual coercion, and so on-are all common concepts in evolutionary biology today. Yet few evolutionary biologists since Darwin have aligned these dots as clearly as he did (Prum 333).
INSTRUCTIONS:
Now that you have read all of Prums essay, carefully reread the passages reproduced above. Take notes as you do so, asking yourself the following questions in particular: What question or problem is this passage exploring? What are its key terms? Its themes? Its examples? What broader implications might the ideas contained in the passage have for the text as a whole? Then, reread the passage again.
Pre-writing: once you have taken thorough notes on each passage, get started with the following steps, some of which you may include in your submitted rough draft:
List the five most confusing words in the passages. Look up each word in your dictionary. Then, paraphrase what each means within the passages.
Underline (and copy) the most complex or confusing sentence. Write six to ten observations about this sentence. For example: what are its key terms? Do any words have more than one meaning or an additional implicit meaning? How do the words relate to one other? What are the transition words (if any)? Do they suggest a logical connection within the sentence or between sentences? What do the sentence structure and key words imply about Prums tone (his attitude toward the material)?
Now, put your observations into the context of each passage as a whole: how do the first and last sentences relate to each other? How, in other words, do the ideas develop from the beginning of the passage to the end?
Writing: once you have completed these steps, you are ready to begin writing. Using quotations from both passages, produce at least two substantive paragraphs of at least 250 words each in response to the following.
Question for writing: Why is individual choice such a radical idea in relation to evolution–what are the implications of Prums claims about decision-making?
As you write, work to analyze the ideas you encountered, while avoiding summary.
The analysis explores and explains; it says something new. It requires that we consider implications, we interpret the language and structure of a text. The analysis looks for patterns, dissects concepts, and explores (rather than merely presenting) evidence. It asks (and answers!) HOW and WHY and SO WHAT questions.
Summary reports on what has already been said. It generally asks and answers WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, and WHO questions. The summary adds nothing new to the conversation.
To focus your writing, begin by choosing one KEY TERM that you think matters for the passage or passages, and incorporate it into your topic sentence (the topic sentence makes a claim or point that organizes the discussion in the paragraph). Some examples of key terms in Prums article include autonomy, aesthetic evolution, natural selection, sexual selection, beauty, adaptationism, coevolution, etc. (although you can make nearly any idea that explores and explains into a key term through emphasizing it).
FORMAT
Quotations should be carefully transcribed, punctuated, and attributed. For bibliographic conventions, use MLA style (see the Style Guide posted in the module for this week). Use 1.0-inch margins on all sides, double-spacing, and twelve-point Times New Roman font. Number all pages. Your submission should have your name, the date, and course information on the first page. Submit your work via Canvas as a Word document.
SUCCESSFUL TEXTUAL ANALYSIS EXERCISE CHECKLIST
Your Textual Analysis Exercise should
Consist of at least two substantive paragraphs, each of which begins with a topic sentence that sets out the claim or project of that paragraph (total word count of 500 700 words)
Identify at least one key term a word or phrase that explores and explains how something works or why it is important. Key terms are not examples; they are ideas that help us think more carefully about examples
Identify and quote at least two textual moments per paragraph that relate to your key term
Analyze your quoted moments, explaining how they help us better understand your key term
Conclude by discussing what your analysis teaches us about the passages and their complexities
and by discussing how the passages you cite relate to, further, and/or complicate the authors overall argument.
Your Textual Analysis Exercise should NOT
Summarize the passages (i.e., report what is said without adding anything new) at length
Attempt to address everything in a passage (or in the authors essay, for that matter!)
Reference non-textual examples (i.e., relate something you find in the text to something not in it)
Rely on factual quotations (i.e., quotations that merely report facts or examples; these will feel like they could be said by anyone rather than only the author themself).

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