Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Your almighty 425 tier III...

Without further ado, the instructions for 425 tier III:

History 425—City in History—Writing Assignment 2008

This is a Tier III course, which brings with it a substantial, as in 5-7 page, writing assignment. What you will do is this: first, assume you are a professional researcher. You have been asked to do a profile of a city OUTSIDE NORTH AMERICA that will be of interest to businesspeople preparing to live and do business overseas. You will proceed as follows:

A) Choose a city outside north America that interests you. If you’ve always been interested in London, for example, this is your chance to get to know it better, a lot better, for CREDIT.

b) START READING about your city. If there is a “biography,” a contemporary portrait of a city like Alastair Horne’s Seven Ages of Paris, read it. Then begin a search for related articles and books. You will be doing the bulk of your reading from newspapers and magazines, most likely, such as the London Times or Le Figaro for a city like Paris, or the International Herald Tribune, or Time or Newsweek or National Geographic. Travel books and magazines can be of help too. Lots of cities have websites, too, and you should consult those. You’ll be expected to read 2-3 articles per week about your city or events in it, writing and filing away a summary of each article as you go along(for a total of about l6-20 summaries). In mid-April, you will stop reading and prepare to write the profile based on your findings. Everyone needs to keep track of his/her reading, documenting it all along, establishing a “paper trail,” so to speak.

c) Once you are prepared to write the profile, you should do three things: one, give your businessperson an idea of how history and/or geography has shaped this city. New York is New York in part because of its geography; what major factor(s) made London/Paris/Brussels/Rio/Cape Town/Chennai what it is today? Secondly, what is a/the major preoccupation of this city at this point in time? One obvious example is London, shaken as it has been by terrorist incidents and plots. Finally, what should a foreigner know about this city’s business climate? What kinds of initiatives and proposals would have the best chance of succeeding? How is the cost of living?

D) Hand in the paper, your summaries and articles(your paper trail, in other words)on the designated day in mid-April. You should be finished with it before finals…

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