Section 3058  



Paper Topics for

The Epic of Son-Jara


Answer one of the following questions:
1. Examine Son-Jaraís greatness in relation to his origins, powers, personal qualities, and actions (in other words, what accounts for Son-Jara emerging as a Mande hero).
2. Explore how Islam and the occult co-exist in Fa-Digi Sisokoís The Epic of Son-Jara.
3. Discuss the role and place of women in The Epic of Son-Jara.
4. What are the principal differences in the interpretations of the Son-Jara tale as presented in Sisokoís The Epic of Son-Jara and D.T. Nianeís Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali.
Or, if you would like to write on a topic of your own choosing, you must email your proposed topic to the instructor at jmeier@ufl.edu and obtain his written approval before submitting. Only paper topics pre-approved by email confirmation will be graded.
General Instructions: This assignment tests both your understanding of the topic you choose to write on and your ability to write an effective paper exploring important issues related to it. It is not a research assignment. Although it is not an overly long assignment, you are expected to produce a polished, insightful paper. You are being asked to complete this assignment by thinking through the question and preparing a response based on your interpretation of the material in your own words. The paper will be assessed on its success in forwarding a tightly-organized, well-written, informative, and cogent argument that directly speaks to the topic. The best papers will exhibit clarity, succinctness, originality, nuanced analysis, and a command of the relevant material. Weaker efforts will be characterized by an overly general approach to the topic with a vaguely defined premise, poor organization, few specific examples, occasional incoherence, and too many grammatical, syntactical, and spelling errors. If you have any questions about how to proceed with your paper, either with respect to the structure of the paper, or its content, please discuss them with the instructor.
Papers should be type-written, 800-1200 words in length, and follow standard essay-writing format (i.e., double spaced, 11-12 font, normal margins). In the paperís introductory paragraph, clearly express the paperís position or thesis, ensuring that it directly addresses the question to which you are responding. As an added precaution, indicate, along with your name, which question you are examining at the top of the paperís first page, to eliminate any ambiguity. Argue for your position by analyzing material from the book. Provide as many specific examples to prove your arguments as possible, complete with citations that reference the page on which the evidence supporting your position is found. Direct quotations should be judiciously employed--two to three at most and avoid block or extended quotes altogether. Citations demonstrate your thorough familiarity with the text and shore up the evidentiary basis of your paperís thesis.
Only under exceptional circumstances should first-person narrative voice be employed. Third-person voice is preferable to second, but either way, consistently use one and do not mix them. Colloquialisms, contractions, and abbreviations should be avoided, and it is important that you run a spell-check program and proof-read your paper before submitting it. More than merely resulting in demerit points for typographical errors or sloppy grammar, a poorly written paper that abounds with obvious mistakes detracts from its overall impression and can obscure the arguments it seeks to forward. Include page numbers on all pages following the first and kindly staple your paper together. The paper counts for 15 percent of your course grade.
Citations: When referring to material not your own, it is imperative that you cite the source, whether you are quoting verbatim, paraphrasing, or referring to ideas, arguments, and conclusions drawn from someone elseís work. Failure to acknowledge the source constitutes plagiarism and is unacceptable. Please review the University of Floridaís Academic Honesty policy at http://www.dso.ufl.edu/judicial/procedures/honestybrochure.php and ask the instructor for further clarification if any aspect of the policy is unclear. If referring to specific passages in the book, it is sufficient to cite only the page number--i.e., (p.21) or (21), unless you are using a version of the book other than that found at Gator Textbooks. If you cite an outside text, provide a fuller reference--i.e., one that includes the name of the author(s), the title of the book, the place and year of publication, the publisher, and the page number(s). For internet citations, include the full URL and the name of the author and institutional source (if the latter two are provided).

Turnitin and Paper Submissions:

You must establish an account at http://www.turnitin.com for submitting your paper and enroll in the class no later than Friday January 20, 2006, using your e-mail address. Failure to register by that date will result in a penalty of 2 percentage points, which will increase by an additional percentage point each successive Friday. A user guide is available at http://www.turnitin.com/static/training_support/tii_student_guide.pdf in PDF format. A QuickStart Guide is available at http://www.turnitin.com/static/training_support/tii_student_qs.pdf

You need Adobe Reader to read the user guides. Click here to download the latest version.

Once you have an account at Turnitin, follow these instructions to enroll in this class:

1. Click the enroll in a class tab on your homepage.

2. On the next screen, enter the class ID 1428394 and enrollment password 3058

3. Click submit to enroll in the class and add it to your homepage.

If you experience difficulty enrolling, please inform the instructor so he can help you set up your account.

Those papers submitted late will be assessed a late penalty of 5 percent per day (the weekend merely counts as 5 percent). Only papers submitted electronically to Turnitin shall be graded. Your paper assignment will not be deemed complete (nor dated) until you have submitted your paper to Turnitin and also handed in a hard copy of it to the instructor or grader. You have until midnight of the due date to upload your electronic copy to Turnitin and still be considered on time.

PAPER DUE: February 13, 2006


Copyright ©2006, Department of History, University of Florida

025 Keene Flint-Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611

phone (352) 392-0271, fax (352) 392-6927

This page was last updated on 04/24/2006
and is maintained by Dr. J. Meier