Your essay will be 8 to 10 pages long, and you will be synthesizing examples from literature, popular culture, and your historical research to illustrate some theme or idea about empires, imperialism, and colonizing. Find some universal idea that you wish to discuss and address: the cruel and evil nature of Man, Man’s ability and design to rebel and revolt against what is wrong, Man’s desire for power, etc. Using your novel will probably be the best way to incorporate literature, we watched Amazing Grace in class and will watch District 9 to see how mainstream cinema addresses colonization, and you need to research one specific empire from history. Your goal is to show how empires throughout time have similarities despite their time period or place of origin; at the same time, you will find the smaller ways that empires are different. Your body paragraphs/main ideas will be based on the themes and ideas that postcolonialism explores (listed in your notes on Blackboard). So for example, let’s say I want a section over the roles of females in empires. In the book we see that women of the empire and barbarian women maintain traditional domestic roles, but barbarian women are subject to torture. In Amazing Grace, we saw that slave women were raped and beaten, British women were educated and active in the abolition movement, but they still did not having voting and other legal rights. Historically, at the start of the rise of the Nazi party, women were not to participate in politics or commerce; they were meant to keep home and live domestically. We can see that women are often subjugated by empires that are male-dominated. However, if I chose Queen Elizabeth or Cleopatra and their respective empires, maybe I would want to focus on how different they were since they had strong, female leadership. After I wrap up that section, perhaps I move onto the lies/rumors and fears that drive empires to take the actions that they do and what justifications they tell their people. Or, maybe I transition to how empires torture and treat the “Other” and how they take slaves or try to colonize a barbaric people. Remember, body paragraphs of synthesized essays should have three pieces of evidence from three different sources, so some topics/main ideas may support multiple paragraphs in your essay. Do not try to write about 8 different topics, giving them each only one paragraph. That will make it feel like you are just barely scratching the surface. Choosing fewer topics and going into deep discussion on them makes for stronger essays. If you had the opportunity to present your ideas on a massive, public platform, what would you want your essay to say about humanity? What can see from history and how history is reflected in literature and popular culture that we need to understand about our species? Are you trying to give a cautionary warning? Are you trying to restore faith in the good of Man? What we did in class on Thursday was make a synthesis matrix (you can Google them), a graphic organizer to document and map out points/evidence. Across the top we made three categories: Waiting for the Barbarians, Amazing Grace, “Your Empire.” Along the left hand column, we chose four topics: rumors/lies the empire believes or creates, roles of or perceptions of women of the Empire and colonized by the Empire, torture/treatment of Other, and resistance/rebellion. Then, we just filled in each square with as many pieces of evidence that we could.
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