Summary Statement & Critical Analysis of Primary Text
It should be clear that you understand the main ideas, details, and arguments presented in the text you’re basing your work on. Tell us about the work in 4 pages, including who wrote it, what it’s about, and what its claims/arguments are. You can offer “critical analysis” in any way you feel is appropriate. If you are not familiar with or practiced in doing this kind of work with texts, you can consider providing some context by comparing it to other texts, by explaining its “place” in the women’s movement, and/or by “responding” to the author’s ideas. For example, if you chose to work with “The Beauty Myth”, after providing a summary of Wolf’s discussion, you might explain that beauty and body image were and are significant concerns to feminists (you can support this with research – see #2, below). You can also critique Wolf’s discussion by point out its limitations. Some say, for example, she’s not attentive enough to race and racism as she broadly discusses “beauty”. No matter your approach to this requirement, you should focus on making it very clear to readers you closely read and understand the text you’re basing your project on. This is one reason it’s very important to choose a text you feel you’ve understood (and liked!).
You should find at least 3 secondary sources that will help you expand on the subject and/or arguments of your primary text. These should be sources that are appropriate for college-level research and writing. Not everything has to come from a scholarly journal, in other words – but high quality pieces (journalism, academic/professional blogs, institution or non-profit organization websites) should be prioritized over content that has unclear or questionable credibility. These sources can help you contextualize your chosen piece, they can provide alternative opinions, or they can “converse” with your chosen piece. Continuing the example from above: sources related to Wolf’s “The Beauty Myth” might expand on and update discussions of oppressive beauty standards. They might directly critique Wolf’s 1990 book. They might help you focus on a particular aspect of beauty (hair? weight? body size/shape?) specifically.