- TEXTS REQUIRED: John Pfaff, Locked In AND Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow
- Michelle Alexander and John Pfaff have both taken a systematic look at the causes and effects of mass incarceration, as well as what it would take to achieve a sufficient amount of decarceration. While both agree that something ought to be done about the state of over incarceration in the United States, Pfaff (in Locked In) claims that Alexander (in The New Jim Crow) overemphasizes many of its causes, leading to what he thinks will be poorly informed reform efforts.
- Write an essay comparing Alexander’s “Standard Story” and Pfaff’s “New Narrative,” defending the one with which you agree. You may consult any and all of the course materials, as well as outside sources.
1) Structure: Essays must be organized in 5 distinct, clearly labeled (see example) parts as follows:
- Explain the problem in your own words and the point of view that you support;
- Explain one side of the question—the side you agree with—and explain the strongest reasons put forward in favor of it;
- State the opposing point of view, and explain the strongest reasons put forward in its favor;
- Explain why the reasons supporting the opposing author’s view are not adequate to establish his or her conclusion. This is the section that should contain the most original work (i.e., your own examples, thoughts, etc.);
- Summarize the central points of the position you defend and conclude your essay.
2) Length and Style: The paper will be no less than 4 full pages (MLA format, paying particular attention to proper margins, font, and spacing).
3) Quotations and Documentation: You may use short selected quotations from the authors mentioned in the prompts above. Explain you use of these quotations in your own words. Forced to put a number on it, I would say no more than 15% quoted material. Other sources are allowed, so long as they are cited properly.
4) Grading: Essays will be graded according to the following four categories: formatting and grammar, completeness, summary of material (accuracy), and critique (evaluation).
5) Plagiarism: Cases of plagiarism will be handled according to university policy.
Finally, I have attached a paper example from a previously assigned topic. This is to serve as an example for how the paper should be set up.