Your research paper will focus on an approved topic related to the course material. Please use the assignment tool in Blackboard to submit your proposal. Your proposal should be between 100-150 words, explaining the intended topic, why you chose it, and what knowledge you seek to gain in doing this research. Your proposal must also list at least two NON-WEB resources (e.g., books, journal, DVD, etc.) where you intend to begin your research. I strongly advocate the use of the internet for research, but it is important to crosscheck your information with traditional resources (e.g., books, journals, film, etc.) as well. If you have difficulty finding such resources you may need to revaluate your topic in order to be successful in your research. There are, quite frankly, many instances of world music study where there simply is not enough information available for adequate research without doing actual fieldwork.
The intent of the paper is for you to delve more deeply into a world music subject related to the course that is of interest to you. You may want to learn more about a specific artist, explore deeper one of the many music styles we have studied, investigate the traditional roots of a popular music style, or consider a topic not covered in the
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course. You might also choose to research a locale and its musical soundscape or pursue the history of an event that involves significant musical activity, such as carnival.
While these suggestions are very broad, your topic should be very specific. A paper on South African popular music, for example, is too general. Your paper needs to be much more focused. For example, a topic or thesis Although the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa was of global concern prior to 1986, the success of Ladysmith Black Mambazos collaboration with Paul Simon on his album Graceland (1986) was the catalyst for bringing this political situation into global mainstream consciousness is adequtely specific. Again, your proposal should make it clear that you have thought seriously about your topic and considered the feasibility of your research. Your proposal MUST BE APPROVED, so do not waste your time writing before I have responded and accepted your topic. Your initial suggested topic may need revision.
Chapter two of your book focuses on mainstream music emanating from Europe and North America. These subjects (popular song, ballroom dance, jazz, rock, and hip-hop) are NOT acceptable topics for your paper unless you have oriented them towards a world music discussion. For example, a proposed essay on the Beatles will be rejected; a paper researching Bollywood influences in the Beatles films and music would be an acceptable topic. I encourage you, however, to consider other music styles we have studied throughout the course. That is the point of a class on Popular WORLD music!
A final word on acceptable topics: I have read an incredible number of papers on Bob Marley for this class, and I must admit I am rather tired of reading about him. If you simply must write your final essay on Marley, please note that you absolutely may not write a general biography of his life. You must pick one, very specific aspect of his musical life about which to write, and not waver. By nature I am extra critical of Marley papers, as I have read innumerable papers on his life.
Your final paper must be submitted by the due date via the associated assignment tool in Blackboard. All submissions should be in either .doc (or .docx) or .pdf format. Attach your file to your submission and make any remarks about the paper that you feel appropriate. Your paper should be between 1,500 2,500 words to sufficiently cover the topic. You may include figures, but the overall word count must fall somewhere in this range; check this with your computer software.
Your writing should have an academic tone, not conversational or colloquial. It is not an opinion paper; it is a research paper. Write your paper with the intent of teaching others in the class about your subject. I may choose to publish some of the outstanding projects for the rest of the class to read. Then we can all benefit from your new knowledge!
Be sure to include a significant list of references (at least five). You may list websites as references, but a minimum of three traditional resources (e.g. books) are expected as well, preferably more. Since this class is open to any major, you may use whatever bibliographic format is expected of your discipline (MLA, APA). We generally
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use Chicago/Turabian in the field of ethnomusicology, but as long as you are consistent with your citation style, I am not too picky. I use the above discussion assessment rubric as a general guideline for evaluating your research papers as well. I very much look forward to reading your Exploration Essay!
Any act of plagiarism will result in an F for that assignment, exam, and potentially your final grade in the course.