Assessment Task Two: Essay – Academic Resources
Due date Friday 24th April 2015 (midnight to Turnitin), word length 1000 words; value 30%.
This is a self-designed essay that is based on a GEN110 foundational or focus topic, that
summarises one of the required readings in relation to that topic, and that uses some of the
academic literature on that topic to answer its research question.
The assignment requires that you
(a) select a GEN110 foundational or focus topic
(b) summarise one of the required readings in relation to that topic
(c) read and select some of the academic literature on that topic
(d) design a research question (or use the generic one suggested below).
• You do not need to cover all aspects of the topic that you choose.
• You cannot use the same topic for your end of semester Research Project – Media.
(a) starting idea for the essay: look at India as an example of a contemporary „rape culture?.
(b) the GEN110 foundational topic: Gendered Harm
(c) the GEN110 required reading appropriate here: Sharon Marcus (1992) “Fighting
Bodies, Fighting Words…rape prevention”; the reading should be summarised and
could open discussion to the idea of the “social scripts of rape” that prevail in a rape
culture. Please note that it is not permissible to use the transcript or audio of Sojourner
Truth’s speech as the Summary text as it’s too short. Please choose Murray or Walby and
use Truth as an additional source
(d) further research (undertaken by selecting any books or journal articles that talk more
directly about the idea of a „rape culture?, and about India in particular: look in the
recommended and further readings on this topic in the GEN110 unit guide or lecture
scripts; and/or explore the library) – reading this literature will deepen your knowledge
and give you ideas to help you work out what angle you might take in your essay
(e) self-designed essay question: How have cultural attitudes to gender and class helped
to shape India?s contemporary „rape culture??
Generic Essay Question for this Assessment Task Two
If you cannot come up with a question of your own design, or if you simply prefer the one
below, here is a question that can be used in any GEN110-related topic.
Please note that there is no penalty in using this generic question!
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How does the academic literature on [insert selected topic or sub-topic] complicate
everyday understandings of the gender issues involved?
TIP: keep your summary as brief as possible, between 350 and 500 words. It can be just one or
two paragraphs (or more) but do not put it in a separate section with a subtitle. It should be
incorporated into the essay in a smooth way, with no abrupt jumps.
The point of a summary is to learn to reproduce a concise but accurate account of the principal
argument of a theoretical text. Express points in your own words as much as possible (with
expressions creatively different from the original, but still capturing their sense and power) – this
increases the value of the work. Do not make the mistake of thinking that because it?s only 350-
500 words, it will be easy. Identifying what you think are the main points of someone?s argument
or discussion and reproducing these in precise language can be quite challenging, so give
yourself enough time to think about the exercise, and to do some redrafting. In a good summary,
there is no need to consult further readings or lecture notes, and no need to compare different
articles. Consider this part of the assignment as a kind of comprehension test. Here the point is to
reproduce the significant points made by the author (but in your own words); this aspect of the
assignment is designed to assess primarily your understanding of what you read. Do not rely on
quotations to make your points for you; they should only illustrate a point that you have made in
your own words. Do not include too large a quote, or more than one quote, within your 350-500
TIP: Keep quotations to no more than 10% of your text. All quotations must be in quotation
WARNING: All other sentences – and even phrases within the sentences – must be in your
own words (that is, do not cut and paste an author?s text in making your own sentences) Proper
references are required and it is essential to cite accurate page numbers for direct quotes. Any
formal referencing style (e.g. Chicago Humanities, Harvard, MLA) is accepted if used correctly.
TIP: In this unit it is a good idea to articulate your own views on the topic (supported with
arguments in the literature as much as you can). At the same time, try to open up the question, to
bring as much intellectual richness and political complexity to the topic as you can (though we
do appreciate the limitations of word length). By all means, use the first person „I? when
expressing your position!
TIP: Try to imagine what someone who believes the opposite of what you believe might argue in
the face of what you want to say. Be as generous as you can to this imaginary „friend? (not „foe?
– don?t dismiss what they might have to say!), taking them seriously as an intellectual opponent
and finding (in the literature, and in your own mind) the best arguments that they could make to
challenge your position. This exercise (which you don?t have to spell out in the essay!) will
force you to sharpen your own arguments and make your writing „wiser? and more reasonable.
If you have a topic that really appeals to you, and you think it has something to do with the
concerns of this unit even if it has not been directly discussed in lecture scripts and required
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readings, you may be able to write on it for this essay. In this case it is recommended that you
contact the convenor, for it must still satisfy the requirements of this assignment. For example,
you must find a way to connect the topic to one of the GEN110 foundational or focus topics; you
must draw on some of the unit material (preferably one or more of the required readings or
summary challenge readings), and you must convince the convenor that the topic has not been
attempted in any submission by you in another unit.
• The due date is Friday 24th April 2015 (midnight to Turnitin: there will be a link for
submission through iLearn under the lecture details of that week, Week 7). There is no need for
paper copy to be printed out and submitted as it will be marked in Grade Mark.
• The value of this assignment is 30% of the total mark,
• The assignment should be 1000 words. I will accept longer papers (the usual 10% over word
length is guaranteed to be free from penalty), but try to be concise, not waffly or repetitive, and
keep total quotation down to 10% or less of the whole paper. There is no automatic penalty
formula for exceeding allowable word length but there is an effective penalty in that papers that
are tediously long will work against their potential for higher achievement, as effective
expression and structure (a clear, concise and tight argument) is highly valued.
• The assignment should be in full sentences and properly proofed.
• Full references should be given for all material referred to. Any proper referencing style is
accepted as long as it is complete and consistent.
• You do not need to cover all aspects of the topic. You may narrow your focus according to
what is required to make your analysis as rich and coherent as it can be in 1000 words.
• This topic selected for this mid semester essay must be different from the topic selected for the
end of semester research project.
The assignment will be marked on its strengths with regard to the following:
• Grasp of unit material
• Ability to summarise and communicate the unit material in one?s own words
• Ability to present one?s ideas and learning in accordance with academic conventions
• Ability to present one?s ideas and learning in a self-designed essay project (or in a selfstructured
response to a generic question)