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Reading Reflections (RRs):  These are 1-2 page responses (no more than 2 pages) to questions concerning topics from the previous week’s readings and lectures. They offer a chance to clarify your knowledge, understanding and feelings on a theme or topic. The following guidelines aim to help you structure your paper to express your ideas clearly and succinctly. Be prepared to discuss your thoughts in section.

  1. Responses: Before RRs are due, three questions will be posted in the “RR” folder on bCourses. Respond to only one of the three questions, observing the following guidelines:    
  2. The reflections should be written in the form of a response to an essay prompt, including:
  • A thesis statement (1 sentence) in the first (typically brief) paragraph responding clearly to the question asked (e.g., “In this essay I argue that…”)
  • A summary of the key points of your argument supporting your thesis (1-2 sentences directly following your thesis statement, and typically at the end of the first paragraph [e.g., “To support my argument, I consider points A, B and C.”])
  • A well-reasoned argument (typically 2 paragraphs after the thesis statement paragraph)
  • Topic sentences describing paragraph contents and reflecting key point in your argument
  • Sentences containing relevant information and analysis supporting your thesis
  • A conclusion sentence at the end of the final paragraph that expands on your thesis

Respond to the question based primarily on readings and lectures. There is no need to draw from outside material, though you may do so if you wish.     

  • Write succinctly and clearly, editing out all unnecessary verbiage.
  • Use proper grammar and pay attention to writing style.
  • Summarize and/or use examples to support your thesis.
  • Demonstrate a close reading of the material and refer to specifics of authors’ arguments.
  • Paraphrase rather than using quotes, unless you want to highlight and/or analyze something specifically related to how an author says what you choose to quote.

Your personal opinions and feelings about the material are important, and you are strongly encouraged, but not required, to express these in the assignment. For instance, you may:

  • Relate issues and themes to contemporary social, environmental or political topics 
  • Explore your feelings about the issues raised in terms of personal experiences 
  • Comment on the ethical implications of the issues addressed by the question

Form:  One to two pages total writing. 

  • 1″ margins
  • 1.5 spacing
  • 12-point font
  • Use parenthetic references for all citations of quotes and ideas drawn from readings, with page numbers in MLA format [e.g., (du Buys 1998, 23)].  Do not include a bibliography.  See the Reading, Writing and Reference folder in bCourses for an MLA form guide.

ESPM 50AC Fall 2020

Weekly reflections: Week 3 questions Respond to one of the following questions. See the weekly reflections assignment sheet for guidelines. 1. Environmental historian Donald Worster proposes a three-tiered framework for

understanding social and environmental change. Use Worster’s framework to explain why the ‘levees only’ approach to water resource management was an essential factor shaping the disaster that struck New Orleans following Katrina. Be specific in identifying at least one element that fits into each of Worster’s three categories (e.g., specific ideas or practices at the cultural level; environmental conditions or processes at the ‘natural’ level; and social relations or infrastructure at the social level), and explain how each interacted with the others dialectically to set the stage for human and environmental catastrophe.

2. Drawing on Kelman and/or Campanella’s article(s) and lecture, explain how the development of an extensive water management infrastructure in and around New Orleans beginning in the late 19th century interacted with specific Jim Crow era policies, beliefs, and/or practices to create a segregated landscape of racially differentiated risk in New Orleans.

3. Jordan Flaherty (in a recommended reading) describes New Orleans as a “city where

resistance to white supremacy has cultivated and supported a generous, subversive, and unique culture of vivid beauty (Floodlines, 2010, 7).” Drawing on the film Faubourg Tremé, explain how forms of public performance (e.g., music, dance, second lines, etc.) by residents of Tremé have embodied this “culture of vivid beauty” to simultaneously constitute racial identity, assert rights to public space, and resist forms of racism such as Jim Crow laws?



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