Final Paper Proposal

Length: 1-2 double-spaced pages. You should use standard margins (1-inch to 1.25-inches on each side of the page), and a 12-point font.

Grade: Your grade on the final paper proposal will contribute 5% of your final course grade.

Your final paper for STS.003 will be due in December. To help you prepare for that project, you will hand in a brief proposal due in SES #21.

For the final paper assignment, you will choose one of three topics:

Option A, "Eclipse and emergence," involving Arthur Eddington's eclipse expedition to test Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity;

Option B, "In the flesh," involving Gunther von Hagens's controversial exhibition, Body Worlds;

Option C, Choose and research your own topic.

Options A and B involve writing a paper, 8-10 double-spaced pages, based on a variety of primary and secondary sources. If you choose to work on either Option A or Option B, your Final Paper Proposal assignment is to write an annotated bibliography of three sources you plan to use for your paper. Your final paper will include more than three sources; you need only include three sources for this Proposal assignment. For each source in your annotated bibliography, you should include a complete bibliographic citation, followed by a short paragraph (3-5 sentences) summarizing that source's larger relevance to the paper assignment. Although your plans may change as your research proceeds, you should include a one paragraph description of what interests you most (so far) about the topic and what you plan to argue.

Option C follows the model of Options A or B, but you choose the topic and the sources. This requires more work but gives you more control. As with A or B, you should find a collection of primary and secondary sources. If you have a particular topic and era in mind, you should be able to find relevant primary sources. Another option is to go to an online version of a journal (or even to a library!), browse old volumes, find a source that catches your eye, and then write a paper that seeks to explain and contextualize that source. Once you have good primary sources, it should be possible (with guidance from the instructors if needed) to find good secondary sources. For this option, your proposal will include the complete bibliographic citation for the sources you have found so far, with a short paragraph summarizing that source's interest and relevance. You should also include a paragraph that describes why you have chosen this topic, how it relates to course themes, and what your arguments might be.

For example, interested in biological warfare? Go to Science, available through JSTOR, search for "biological warfare," and browse away. Searches for "atoms for peace," "scientific fraud," or many other promising topics produce many articles. You will likely need to pick a particular era for focus. Another approach is to pick a year (e.g., Science in 1880), and browse titles until something catches your eye. If you want something early, the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society goes back to 1666.

You are strongly encouraged to work with your Teaching Assistant while preparing your final project. Naturally if you have additional questions you may also consult with Professors Jones and Kaiser.

Your bibliography entries must conform to the formatting conventions described in the handout "Footnotes, Bibliographies, and the Good Life" referenced for previous papers. Failure to use appropriate footnote and bibliography formatting will lower your grade. If you have any questions about how to cite your sources, please check with any of the instructors.