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Monday, 08 February 2010

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Karl Steel

Great exercise. Another example (the 'partial citation indicating the students don't understand what they're quoting'):

There were three kinds of evolutionary thought in the 1890s: "social Darwinism," "developmental teleology," and another one, having to do with "exceptional individuals" (Kaufman 94).

You might ask what's important that's been left out, and ask why the phrase "development teleology" can't just be quoted without being explained.

==
Maybe give examples of good and bad paraphrase too?

dave

My nemesis is the quotation with absolutely no integration—you know, the one that just gets dropped in there, as if the student is saying, "Oh, and here's some stuff. You deal with it."

Example:
Scott Kaufman knows a thing or two about evolutionary thought in the 1890s. "In sum, in the late 1890s three schools of applied evolutionary thought operated simultaneously: a vitiated form of social Darwinism that only argues that the same forces which shape evolution generally also work upon human populations; a developmental teleology that points to a single cooperative (or socialist) future; and a means by which exceptional individuals could accelerate that development, such that the inevitable end becomes visible in the span of a single lifetime." Therefore, please give me a good mark so I can get into [insert professional program here.]

Luther Blissett

Dave, that's the most common quotation mistake among my high school students. I call it "the floating quotation." Like Scott, I have a shtick that involves creating Writing Monsters throughout the year, so that different monsters are associated with different writing errors. The floating quotation looks basically like a Pac-Man ghost. It just sits there. Not particularly scary, but it will cost you points if I run into it.

(Then there are the too-specific/too-general thesis monsters, who I call Skylla and Karybdis. And the Sharktopus, which is the bifurcated thesis. And the Baggy Monster, which is like the Pac-Man ghost, only drawn to look like a brown paper bag. He haunts papers lacking proper paragraph transitions.)

Julian

"three schools of applied evolutionary thought operated simultaneously: a vitiated form of social Darwinism that only argues"

I think that's a disagreement of tense, but I'm not sure. Can anyone confirm? "Schools of thought operated," but each one of them "argues" in the present tense? I guess an abstract thing like a school of thought can be said to exist forever, and therefore still speak in the present tense.

JPRS

Jack London was born near Third and Brannan Streets in San Francisco. The house in which London was born burned down in the fire after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and a plaque was placed at this site by the California Historical Society in 1953.

"In sum, in the late 1890s three schools of applied evolutionary thought operated simultaneously: a vitiated form of social Darwinism that only argues that the same forces which shape evolution generally also work upon human populations; a developmental teleology that points to a single cooperative (or socialist) future; and a means by which exceptional individuals could accelerate that development, such that the inevitable end becomes visible in the span of a single lifetime." (Kaufman 94) [block quote]

Though the family was working class, it was not as impoverished as London's later accounts claimed. London was essentially self-educated. He taught himself in the public library, mainly just by reading books.

era

If I were your student, I would be suspicious of three out of the four just because they refer to yourself in an obviously silly manner. Go for the least silly one (number 3). Maybe I am overestimating your students, but then maybe you are underestimating them?

marriotr

Era, that was honestly how I picked #3 on my first pass. I second your motion.

SEK

I guess an abstract thing like a school of thought can be said to exist forever, and therefore still speak in the present tense.

It's awkward, but yes, intellectual history's supposed to be in the perpetual present, because these ideas are always being bandied about irrespective of publication dates.

Maybe I am overestimating your students, but then maybe you are underestimating them?

I am and I'm not. They're actually quite bad at differentiating between silly self-referencing and establishing authority, and frequently write sentences like "He is a professor with a doctorate." So yes, the over-the-top quality of the self-referential silliness gives the game away; however, extreme examples stick with them better than bland truths, so ideally they'll remember them better.

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