Note: the prompt is the same for each; you’ll just use different source materials for each one; that is, for essay 2, use sources we read after essay 1.
The basic prompt: Write a 1000-1200 word essay, with images, in which you draw on at least two specific concepts, frameworks, or ideas of the writers/thinkers from your course readings/videos so far in order to show how they help us to understand the Dutch urban/suburban/rural landscape, how it works as a place, especially regarding sustainability. You may revise any of the text you’ve written so far, but I would encourage you to revisit the readings/viewings and pull in new detail relevant to this task.
Using the sources: This essay is intentionally inter-disciplinary, asking you to draw on at least two different perspectives from your readings and video viewings: For example, how does Nescio as a fiction writer help us see Amsterdam’s landscape? How does that contrast with the perspective we get from some particular aspect of Joppe Schaaper’s “crash course” in architectural history or Betsky’s architectural walk through Rotterdam? Be thinking about how each view informs or contrasts with the other, how each gives you a different take on the city. Make explicit reference to at least one of the UN’s sustainability goals to help frame your work.
Style: This is public intellectual work, which means that you may write in any style or mode you feel will be effective to this purpose. You’re writing for a public audience, people who may or may not have knowledge of Amsterdam or of any of the concepts or principles you’re writing about. Write for readers without prior knowledge, but also for your peers, who are familiar with the concepts but may not see them the way you do or may not recall details you think are important.
Your prose can be rigidly analytical or more loosely interpretative–even including some fictionalization, poetry, or other creative forms–as long as your central aim is clear and your claims are built upon specific evidence. The concepts from the readings/viewings must be clearly referenced, and you must include relevant detail from them and from your evidence. If you’re using a standard public intellectual approach, you’ll name your sources as you reference them (e.g., “architectural historian Joppe Schaaper argues . . .”), and quote accordingly. If you’re using creative forms, these references might be woven more smoothly into your prose (e.g., if fictionalizing, “as they crossed the polder, they ruminated on the compromises it took to build it”), but they should still be clearly alluding to or referencing the sources, even quoting them if needed–you want to avoid plagiarism. In any case, you will list all sources in a References list at the end.
Optional: You may do a little bit of online research, if you wish, to get more evidence for the elements or aspects of Amsterdam you’re analyzing. But this is not a research project, so there is no expectation of this. Cite any sources used in your References list.
Also optional: By way of contrast, you may choose to apply the concepts to any of your local geography and experiences as well, e.g., to show how the concept reveals something peculiar about Amsterdam that may not be true (or may be true in different ways) of another locale.
Images: Choose at least one image to illustrate some key point you’re making in the essay, or to stand as a kind of metaphor or “epigraph” for the essay–alluding to these you deal with in your text. I encourage you to include additional images as evidence for your analysis. Treat these like block quotes, in that you must analyze them not just let them stand on their own. Cite your images in the References list as well, including links if they are online. You may create or revise your own images for this project as well, if relevant.
Citation: Cite page numbers in parenthesis when you quote or paraphrase closely–or in creative modes, do this in your reference list, noting what pages you quoted or paraphrased from. At the end, use the header References, and list all sources used. Follow the current MLA style for works cited; use these models for books (and chapters), journal articles, and web sources. For Joppe’s videos, use this format: Joppe Schaaper, “Amsterdam Architectural History Crash Course”, video lecture #1 [or #2, etc.], Amsterdam: City as Work of Art, GW, Summer 2020.
Title: Finally, give your essay its own unique title. Great titles hint at or encapsulate some key concept, theme, or even claim from the essay itself. Be creative.
Byline: You may choose to identify yourself by name if you like, but knowing that this is public, you may simply want to use your WordPress username and initials. We know who you are and that’s all that matters.