On the course schedule you will find dates for two writing assignments. The two papers are a sort of intellectual journal. An intellectual journal chronicles your thoughts and any new ideas, questions and/or understanding that occurred to you in the course of your reading. The assignment does not ask you to report on new information you may have learned. Your paper should not be an essay presenting the information already given in the readings – even new information gained from outside research. It is not primarily a research paper. The assignment is to present what you thought about the readings (or some aspect of them) and how they affected your ideas on and understanding of the topic. For example, it would not be acceptable to report that you learned X, Y, or Z that you never knew before. The question I expect you to answer in the paper is “and how does that affect your views on and understanding of anything?” Or “and what difference does that make to you?”You will need to choose a topic from the readings. It should be something that caught your attention; something that made you stop and think. It can be chosen from any of the assigned readings. However, the first paper must be based on one of the Islam readings. The material you choose to reflect upon in your paper could be just one sentence, or it could be a central idea discussed by the author in many places. The important thing is that it caught your attention and made you stop and think. One way to approach an intellectual journal is to take note of what the readings make you think about. Does a reading make you think about a person you know, an event in your life, a topic from a different class, something you have been thinking about on your own for a long time? If so, why did it make you think about that? What thoughts did it raise for you? Did it make you consider the subject (person or event) in a different light or not?
YOU WILL LOSE POINTS IF YOU DO NOT FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS BELOW. All papers must be submitted electronically. The essays are to be submitted in Microsoft Word (NOT Works).If you do not have Word, the supplement to the syllabus lists some free word processors that are compatible. You should use the MLA in-text citation style unless noted otherwise below. This means there must be at least one citation from the readings and a “Works Cited” page at the end of the paper. Contrary to current MLA practice, you must include the URL for all references to the web. Each page should be numbered. Each paper may be a MAXIMUM of 1250 words. There is no minimum number of words. A long paper is not necessarily better than a short one. The assignment is not onerous in terms of content or length. However, I do expect you to proofread it several times to make sure it is well organized, factually correct, and that it contains no errors of grammar, spelling, word use, or punctuation.