Contributed by Jen Schell
Alaska and the Frontier/Wilderness, a Research Collage
The research assignment for this class is a bit unconventional. Your goal is to create a research collage about Alaska and its status as a frontier/wilderness. What is a collage?Collage is term used to describe a certain kind of abstract art in which various materials are cut and pasted together in order to form a design.
Collage can also be used to refer to a kind of writing, which consists of a combination of original and quoted material. The individual pieces of writing which compose the collage are often fragments and arranged in an artistic/meaningful/creative/non-linear way. An example of collage writing is Susan Griffin’s “Our Secret.’ Your assignment is to imitate Griffin’s style of writing in order to compose a research collage that depicts the various ways in which Alaska is a frontier/wilderness (historical, literary, scientific, technological, cultural, governmental, etc.).
Your goal for this assignment is to take Griffin as a model and create a 1,000-2,000 word research paper, which weaves together a number of different kinds of sources and various passages of your own writing. You should have a separate bibliography which does not count towards the final page count of the paper. For the bibliography, be sure to follow MLA format, which we will discuss in class.
You do not have to generate a complete and concrete outline of the paper, but you should be thinking about how your various sources will interact with one another. Consider how you plan to fragment your sources and how you intend to organize them on the page. Think about how you want to work in your commentary on your sources. You might also want to think about other ways of fragmenting and interweaving your prose. For example, you could play with italics, boldface type, font size, font type, colors, still pictures, artwork, or photographs. Images do not count toward the final page count.
The Sources: You must have the following sources in your paper. If you need help locating sources, feel free to stop by my office or ask a librarian for assistance.
1. Two books (either e-books or print books from any discipline).
2. Two academic journal articles (from any discipline). There are many databases you can use to locate articles: Academic Search Premier, JSTORR, or Project Muse. They are all available on the Rasmuson Library webpage.
3. One website with .edu or .org in its address. Do not use Wikipedia.
4. One dictionary definition from the online Oxford English Dictionary.
5. One non-English word translated and/or defined.
6. One article from a nineteenth-century periodical. The periodicals are available on the “American Periodicals’ database on the Rasmuson Library webpage.
7. One newspaper article. The newspapers are available on the “National Newspapers Core’ database on the Rasmuson Library webpage.
8. One artwork (historical or contemporary)
9. One photograph (historical or contemporary).
All of Rasmuson Library’s databases are available here: https://library.uaf.edu/databases-by-title. They are organized alphabetically, so click on first letter of the title of the database that you are trying to access.
Note: You can also find sources using “Google Scholar’ or “Google Books.’
Revision Requirements for Assignment 6: Alaska and the Frontier/Wilderness, a Research Collage
For your revision, I would like you to do two things. First revise the paper according to the suggestions provided (both in class and in the feedback). If you feel as though your paper is relatively complete, that’s fine. You should still go back and double-check your sources and your MLA formatting. Make sure that you have all the required sources, and make sure that the textual citations and the Works Cited page follow MLA format. Next, I would like you to write a one page reflection letter in which you think about your paper and explain how it is similar to and different from the Griffin collage. Think about your writing choices. How did you decide on your topic? How did you choose the individual threads? How did you go about your research? How did you organize the information on the page? Why? What were you trying to say about Alaska as a frontier/wilderness? Do you think you conveyed your idea? What would you change about your paper?