Critique of Knowing the World Ontopologically
You are required to write an essay in which you focus on a specific homeland in the world. The homeland on which you focus may be conceived in terms of a variety of concepts and spaces, such as: nation, state, territory, region, hemisphere, continent, global, cosmopolis etc… The key is to take as your focus some form of space in the world that has gained specific identity as the homeland of one or more identifiable groups, whose own identity or identities are understood in relation to this space as a site of belonging. So, you could be examining the relation of homeland to things like a national group, cultural relations, religious affiliation, property owners, ethnic group, an economic partnership, the human species, and so forth. As with the two previous essays, choose something in the world that interest you, as something to investigate and learn about. And, topically, this focus should differ from any subjects you have taken up as your focus in either of the two previous essays you have written in this course.
Your main task in this essay is to critically consider how the relationship of homeland is established between the identifiable social group and the space within which its identity is supposedly contained. Your goal is to develop an essay in which you critically examine and consider fundamental ways in which we could see how the relationship between identity and territory is established and, therefore, how the specific homeland that is your focus is built and, consequently, how it can also falter and fail.
In developing and writing this essay, you are required to draw on questions, problems, and insights developed by Manning in her Ephemeral Territories. The main goal of writing this essay is to show that you understand the critical questions that Manning is raising about ontopological readings of ourselves in the world, meaning: the connections that we make between human social identities and the delineations of territory. In writing this essay, you should be aiming to pick out key problems and insights that Manning develops regarding the relations of identity and territory. And you should be trying to show good understandings of the ways in which these relations are formed in practices that are social, political, and cultural and character, rather than natural. So, it is expected in this essay that you engage quite directly and significantly with Manning’s book.
In drawing from and engaging the arguments and insights developed by Manning, your essay should focus on and study five forms in which the social identity and territory of the homeland that interests you are brought together. You should be bringing to bear the questions and insights of Manning on these five practices of ‘homelanding’. These five forms should each be different in kind from one another and may include such things as: written histories; maps; works of visual art; songs; ceremonies; images; propaganda; government policies and laws; and any other documents, texts, events, etc. through which the relation of identity to land is performed.
This essay should be composed of six basic components: an introduction; a thesis statement in the introduction; a body of arguments substantiated by textual evidence from and analysis of Manning’s book and the five different forms/practices of ‘homelanding’ you investigate; a conclusion; textual references; and a bibliography. And you should accomplish the following in each one:
Introduction: In the introduction you should briefly present the topic that you are addressing, indicating what form of homeland you are critically investigating In terms of the relation of social identity and territory. And you should briefly 11 identify/describe the forms/practices of ‘homelanding’ you are investigating. In this regard, you should explain that you are investigating how both the social identity and territory of the homeland in question are formed in relation to one another, through specific practices. And, in particular, you should indicate that you are taking up specific issues developed by Manning, regarding the production of homeland, offering specific textual references to Manning’s book.
Thesis Statement: Within the introduction, you should also offer an explicit, clear, and unambiguously articulated thesis statement in which you explain exactly how you understand the forms of ‘homelanding’ you are investigating serve to produce the social identity and territory, along with the relation between them, as knowable things. In this regard, you may also take a position suggesting how it is that the homeland in question may be undone, along with the supposed integrity of both its social identity and territory.
Arguments in Body of Essay: Beyond the introduction, you should build the body of your essay as a series of arguments in which you demonstrate the validity of your thesis statement. You should present a series of arguments that explicitly show how your thesis is sound, drawing richly on your analysis of both the forms of ‘homelanding’ you are engaging and the learning/knowing that go on via them and drawing richly on the insights and observations made by Manning. Throughout the body paragraphs of the essay, you should strive to show that your thesis is appropriate and accurate.
Conclusion: You should write a brief conclusion to your essay, in which you reflect on the significance of your thesis and the analysis that you offer to support it. In this conclusion you should contemplate the impact of the critical inquiry you develop in this essay with respect to the specific homeland at question in your study. In particular, you should identify problems in how your knowledge of this homeland may be formed as a result.
Textual References and Bibliography: All references to your sources, whether they are direct quotations, paraphrased representations of the text, or observations or claims about the text, should be documented with appropriate textual references in the form of footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical notes. Regardless of the form of notes in which the references are made, each reference must include page numbers, where available. (Where page numbers are not available, such as on an on–line blog, please reference by paragraph number, counting from the top.) Each essay should also include at the end a bibliography, listing all sources engaged in this essay. And both the notes and bibliographical entries must be written in either Chicago Style
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