GRC 301:


The assignments for this course are 8 précis (pronounced ´pray-see), and two short (5-7 pp.) papers (one including two drafts and a précis as preliminary outline). This handout will explain the requirements for each assignments.


A précis is a one-page assignment that tracks the logic and content of a reading; see the attachment to this page for the formatting, and we will be doing partial models on the board together in the first few chances.

The first ones are set up as worksheets for you to finish (attached); the latter ones will have to be designed by you from scratch. Don't worry on the grades on these -- reasonable efforts will get you full marks towards your final grades; take them instead as approaches to learning the logic and vocabulary of an era.

First Short Paper

The first paper will actually happen in three phases, each of which has a due date marked on the syllabus.

PAPER TOPIC: A comparison of two characters (real or fictional) of the Enlightenment, in order to argue that one or the other is more modern or a type more relevant to today's readership. Your choice of characters -- we have lots of biography and autobiography aside from the novels in the first few weeks of class.


The first thing you will turn into me is a Précis about how you are going to set up the paper -- you will write up the focus and logic statements as a first draft of the introduction, then set up a two-column comparison on the basis of the texts you've chosen, and finally indicate what sorts of conclusions you will draw.

These will be graded for consistency, and returned to you; this is not one of the 8 assignment you'll have for grade.


By "first draft," I mean a complete, well-constructed paper, including quotations from the texts you are discussing, proper references to the texts these are drawn from, and a bibliography in correct style (historians and social scientists use the University of Chicago Style Manual -- see a reference librarian in UGL or PCL if you do NOT know what this is or how to use it). It is a "first draft" because you will improve on it.

This paper will be submitted with the precis, and will be graded in detail.

The paper will be graded like the precis -- it should have the same pieces, in approximately the same order. If you do NOT have correct bibliographical and noting styles, you may lose up to a whole grade -- this is basic academic politeness.


If you get less than a 90 on your first draft, you will be required to rewrite the paper according to the comments made on the first version, to improve your weaknesses.

Final grade for the paper will be an AVERAGE of the two drafts (and that average can be weighted , if you have clearly blown off the rewrite or done a fantastic job of self-improvement).

Second Short Paper

The final paper for the course is due at the start of the official examination period for the class (as indicated on syllabus) -- NO LATE WORK ACCEPTED.

It, too, will be a 5-7 pp. essay based on the class readings, including a proper bibliography and citations.

TOPIC: Refer back to the film "Jefferson in Paris." Argue for or against it as a good representation of Enlightenment culture. Do so by referring to the philoophical, political, and artistic values that the filmic Jefferson and his cohorts espouse, in comparison to those of the texts you have read; quote from the texts to help support your arguments about the film. Remember, too, that the frame story in the film takes in a considerably later era than the inner story -- it spans virtually the whole time period about which we have read.