1. Choose any chapter from Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness”. From the chapter that you
have chosen, choose one or two topics/issues that Alexander raises in that chapter; this can be just simply anything that jumped out at you and grabbed your attention. If you choose more than one issue/topic, the second one should be closely related to the first one (this will make your life incredibly easier, trust me).
2. Besides having your own thesis statement in your introductory paragraph, you are going to want to include a paragraph (or two, if you chose two topics/issues) where you summarize what it is that Alexander has to say in relation to the topics/issues you have chosen. This will illustrate your understanding of the text. Be sure not to change the meaning or position that Alexander presents. You will want to highlight each point
Alexander makes regarding the issues/topics.
3. Next, and this is the bulk of your paper, you will want to either support or argue against what Alexander states related to the topic/issues you have chosen. This is where your research will come in. As you support or argue against Alexander’s argument (and yes, she is making an argument in each of her chapters), you are going to want to use some of the tools you have learned from our other textbook, Critical Thinking by Tom Chatfield. In essence, if you are supporting Alexander, then you will illustrate how her argument works and why. If you are refuting Alexander in any way, you will explain where her argument might not be very strong and why.
4. As you either support or argue against what Alexander writes, you are going to bring in outside research to support your position (thesis). Keep in mind that The New Jim Crow is now about 10 years old (and some of her sources are older than that). You will
incorporate this research into your paper through the use of quotes. You will, obviously, quote from The New Jim Crow, as well as the sources you locate. You should have at least two (2) quotes from your outside research and one (1) quote from The New Jim Crow per body paragraph. Your outside research is based on the topic(s)/issue(s) you have chosen.
5. The use of the sources you find should also highlight the critical thinking skills we
covered throughout the quarter, i.e., fallacies, inferences, reliability of sources. This is
where you can show-off that you did the readings!
6. All of your research materials should come from Google Scholar (which overlaps the library’s databases). Do not use regular Google. Your materials need to be reliable sources, most of which have been peer-reviewed. You may also use non-profit organizations’ sites (the URL usually ends with .org), as well as any governmental ones.
7. The number of outside sources your paper should have is 8-10, plus The New Jim Crow.
8. Your paper should be 8-10 pages long, not including the Works Cited page. You should follow MLA formatting guidelines for the paper—part of your paper’s grade will rely on how well you format your paper. This includes spacing, margins, works cited formatting (hanging indent), and the headers.
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