LTEN 149 Paper topics Fall 2019

Length: See prompt type. All papers should be double-spaced (1” margins/12 pt. font).  MLA or Chicago citation style.
Papers will be collected at the beginning of class on November 22. You will also present your findings to the class on November 22 and 25. These should be brief discussion of your findings. Time limit will be set when enrollment finalizes.

Late papers may receive fewer or no comments and will receive lower grades, up to one full grade per 24 hours. Only documented legitimate medical or personal emergencies will excuse late work. If an emergency arises, you must let me know as soon as possible and I will do my best to accommodate your needs.  It is your responsibility to keep me informed, and, indeed, I can’t help you if I don’t know that there is a problem. 

Option One: Literary Critical Topics  (8-10 pages)

1.  “The Delectable Daughter.”  This is Hyam Maccoby’s provocative phrase for describing lovely, but ultimately disloyal daughters like Abigail and Jessica.  Why daughters (instead of sons)?  What is the symbolic power of creating beautiful, sympathetic Jewish figures like these women?  What is their conversion meant to symbolize in the plays?  You needn’t answer all these questions in your paper.  These questions are designed to get you thinking about the topic.  There are a variety of directions in which one could take this paper.  It could be a kind of comparison/contrast of the two figures, or it could consider them in light of earlier theoretical readings and questions of misogyny, anti-Semitism, and supersession.   Maccoby’s original essay will be put on e-reserve at Geisel library.

2.  Shylock and Barabas.  Compare and contrast these two figures and their place in relation to the “Jewish question” in their respective plays.  Focus your readings on one or two key speeches or moments in the plays in order to ensure that your paper does not simply summarize the plays’ plots, but analyzes them in more depth.

3.  Conversion.  Three texts we’ve read this quarter depict conversion: Croxton, Jew of Malta and Merchant of Venice.  Pick two of these texts and compare and contrast conversion in them.  Are the conversions depicted sincere?  How do the plays figure the differences between Jew and Christian?  Is it a simple matter to tell them apart? 

4.  Your own topic.  You’re welcome to develop your own topic.  It could look at any of the texts we’ve read, including the early theoretical/historical readings, bring in another text that interests you to compare to one of our readings, etc.  I think making one’s own topic is the most rewarding way to write a paper, but it’s also important to make sure the topic is feasible.  You should therefore consult with me if you decide to take this route.

Research Review (5-6 pages)

Is there a sub-topic or work of scholarship that is particularly interesting to you?  For this paper you will work with me to determine what research you should read and then you will write a paper that responds to that work.  That paper could use what you’ve learned to illuminate a particular aspect of a primary text that we have read, or it could synthesize what you’ve learned from reading a series of articles.  You might also choose a single book and write a version of a “review” of this book, discussing how what you have learned from the book illuminates what we’ve been reading together in the course. Here are some ideas of what I think might work for this approach:

Picking a single book by an important researcher. If you are interested in the historial relationship between Judaism and Christianity, going back prior to the period we examine, you might want to read Daniel Boyarin, Border Lines: The Partition of Judeo-Christianity (U Penn 2004). Interested in Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations in the medieval period? David Nirenberg's Communities of Violence (Princeton, 1996) might be what you would choose. Geraldine Heng's recent The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages (Cambridge, 2018) looks at antisemitism as part of one of many entangled histories of racist thinking. Interested in the history of Anglo-Jewry pre-Expulsion? I can point you to important articles by Robert Stacey. Contemporary anti-Semitism? Deborah Lipstadt's Antisemitism Here and Now (2019) is important and stimulating.

You can indicate your interests in the paper proposal and I can suggest readings to you based on this.

Academic Integrity: The University’s policy on Academic Integrity can be found here:  Reading through this policy will supplement our discussion of academic integrity in class.  If you ever have any questions regarding this policies please contact me and we can go through them together.  More information on academic integrity and on citation practice will be provided in lecture.