Writing Seminar Assignment: Climate Change

The subject of this paper is climate change. This paper is for a writing seminar class. The essay should focus on a particular issue within climate change, for example recycling practices. I have attached the prompt and rubric as a file. The essay should draw upon at least two of these shared materials from our class discussions: “Great Barrier” by Barbara Kingsolver; “Sea Story” by A.S. Byatt; pages three to eleven of “The Great Derangement” by Amitav Ghosh; pages one to ten of “Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor” by Rob Nixon; “Learning to Die in the Anthropocene” by Roy Scranton; georgiaclimateproject.org. The essay should also draw upon three additional primary or secondary sources, and at least one of these should be a scholarly secondary source (more about this in the prompt/rubric).

Public Scholarship Project In this assignment, you will select a line of critical inquiry from our course, research it further,
and craft an argument for a specific, non-class audience. You will ultimately compose a 5-7 page essay along with an annotated bibliography.

AIMS: Your essay should build upon and move beyond our classroom discussions. It should offer an engaging, focused, and original argument about a specific topic, issue, or event.
Moreover, your essay should also feature a call to action in some shape or form. Do more than simply report the facts to your audience. Lay out a problem or question, provide relevant context and evidence, and then argue for a potential solution, a new way of thinking, and/or a particular course of action.
METHODS: You should structure your essay in one of the following three formats: (1) an op-ed to a selected newspaper, magazine, or journal; (2) an open letter to a chosen administrator, politician, or other academic / public figure; or (3) a grant proposal requesting funding for a specific purpose. While these formats have some genre-specific differences (e.g., an open letter should have a salutation; a funding proposal could include a tentative budget), they all ask you to present an argument to a specific audience. You will need to clarify your audience early in your essay, and you should write with those particular readers in mind. Consider your tone and your rhetorical appeals, and consider what kinds of background context you need to provide.

As with our previous writing projects, consider how to build a conversation between you, your sources, and your audience. Clearly signal your “they say” and “I say” elements, and highlight what new ideas, perspectives, key terms, evidence, etc. you are adding to the discussion. In the process, remember to guide your reader: take the time to unpack quotations and key examples, and use metacommentary to signal transitions and clarify stakes and focus.
MATERIALS: Your essay should draw upon at least two of our shared materials from class discussion: i.e., Carr, Thompson, Berners-Lee, Naidoo and Fisher, Mann, Kolbert, Ping, Lucassen, 2 Peters and Besley, Sullivan and Davidson, Ai, Adams and Robbins, Kingsolver, Byatt, Ghosh, Nixon, Scranton, and the Georgia Climate Project website.

In addition, you will locate at least three additional primary or secondary sources via independent research; at least one of these must be a scholarly secondary source (i.e., written by an expert, peer reviewed, and published in an academic journal or by an academic press.) These additional primary and secondary sources should be useful to your project: do not simply find material that echoes what you already know. Any secondary sources you locate should be reputable and of a significant length. Tertiary sources (e.g., dictionary and encyclopedia entries) do not count toward your source requirement.
If you have questions about a potential source, please let me know. We will discuss primary / secondary and scholarly / non-scholarly sources further in class.

OTHER REQUIREMENTS: Your essay should be at least 5 pages long, but no more than 7 full pages. It should include a descriptive title (something other than “Public Scholarship Project”); the only other header material should be your name and the course number. (You are welcome to use subtitles and headings, though, to signal different sections of your essay.) For formatting guidelines (font, size, margins, spacing), see the course syllabus.

At the end of your essay, please include a Works Cited page alphabetized by the author’s last name. You should also include brief annotations for every source that you locate via independent research. See below for citation guidelines.
As you draft and revise, keep in mind Sword’s style guidelines from Writer’s Diet. Also review Graff and Birkenstein’s templates, structures, and glossaries from They Say / I Say.


I’ve adapted the following guidelines from the MLA Handbook.

Remember to provide parenthetical citations for any source material you reference. As we have discussed, this rule encompasses not only direct quotations but also paraphrased content. As responsible writers, any time we borrow anything (examples, key terms, specific wordings, syntax, etc.) from another author, we need to give credit; failure to do so constitutes plagiarism and will result in a 0 for the assignment.

Please use the following in-text citation guidelines: For written materials with page numbers, include the author’s last name followed by the page number(s). (For Carr, Thompson, Berners-Lee, Mann, Kolbert, and Byatt, you may use the page numbers from our class PDFs.) For example, … blah blah blah (Peters and Besley 1368). … “blah blah blah” (Byatt 3 and 5).
For films, include the creators’ name(s), followed by a timestamp in hour-minute-second format. For example, … blah blah blah (Ai 0:29:31). … “blah blah blah” (Adams and Robbins et al. 0:02:47).

For poems, include the author’s name, followed by the line number(s). For example, … “blah blah blah” (Kingsolver 3-4).
For materials without page numbers, timestamps, or line numbers, simply include the authors’ name(s), followed by “n.p.” (an abbreviation of “no pagination”). If the author is not listed, then name the website, venue, or company. For example, … blah blah blah (Girl Rising n.p.). … “blah blah blah” (Georgia Climate Project n.p.).

Please include a Works Cited list at the end of your essay. Every citation should include the author’s (or authors’) full name(s), the full title of the source, and the publication information.
Use the following templates as a guide:
Last name, First name. Book Title (Place of publication: Publisher, Year).
For example, Celeste, Mark. Writing Connectivity: Analyzing Modern Networks of Culture (Rome, GA:
Berry College. Press, 2020).
Last name, First name. “Chapter Title.” In Book Title, ed. Name of Editor (Place of publication:
Publisher, Year), [Full Page Range of Chapter].
For example, Celeste, Mark. “The Internet, Your Essay, and Your Brain.” In Essays on Connectivity, ed.
Nicholas Carr (Rome, GA: Berry College Press, 2020), 34–52.
Last name, First name. “Article Title.” Periodical Title [Volume Number, Issue Number]
([Month or Season of Publication] [Year of Publication]): [Full Page Range of Article].
For example, Celeste, Mark. “Physical Boundaries and Political Borders.” Studies in Globalization 33, 7
(Spring 2020): 254-276.
Last name, First name. “Title of Work.” Periodical Title (Publication Date): [Page Range or URL].
For example, Celeste, Mark. “A Two-for-One Crisis: The Pandemic and the Anthropocene.” The New
Yorker (31 October 2020): 15-21.
Director’s Last Name, Director’s First Name, dir. Film Title, written by Script Author [if the 5 author differs from the director]. Year of Publication, Name of Production Company.
For example, Celeste, Mark, dir. Sea Story: The Movie, written by A. S. Byatt. 2020, Warner Brothers


Author’s last name, author’s first name. “Name of Page.” Name of Website and/or Publishing or Hosting Company. Date of last update (if available). URL.
For example, Celeste, Mark, “Teaching RHW102.” A Forum for Composition Instructors, hosted by the Modern Language Association. Updated 30 Oct. 2020. https://mla.org/forums/teaching_composition_Celeste.
Your Works Cited page should include citations for every source that you reference—including the shared materials from our class (see the list at the top of p. 2, above). Review the physical books, PDF scans, websites, and films carefully: all of our shared materials provide enough information for you to construct a full citation—with two exceptions. Please use the following entries for Ping’s poem and Byatt’s story:
Ping, Wang. “Things We Carry on the Sea.” Originally published in New American Poetry,

  1. Poets.org, https://poets.org/poem/things-we-carry-sea.
    Byatt, A. S. “Sea Story.” In “Water Stories” series. The Guardian (15 Mar. 2013), https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/mar/15/as-byatt-short-story-sea.
    In your essay and in your citations, remember to italicize the titles of longer works (such as books and films, and the titles of journals, magazines, and newspapers) and place the titles of shorter works (such as poems, single chapters, or articles within a journal) in quotation marks.
    As noted above, for each source that you locate via independent research, you should include a brief annotation after the relevant Works Cited entry. An “annotation” is essentially a brief summary of the source and an explanation of why you found it productive for your work. Each annotation should run around 5-6 sentences: quickly recap the author’s project, and then explain how its uses and/or limits contributed to your own essay. For our purposes, each annotation should directly use Harris’s key terms (i.e., aims, methods, materials, uses, limits).
    For example, Scranton, Roy. Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End of a Civilization (San Francisco, CA: City Lights, 2015). In Learning to Die in the Anthropocene, Roy Scranton aims to show how our carbon fueled, industrialist civilization is already dead. For materials, he juxtaposes scientific facts with philosophical ponderings, placing, for example, NASA statistics alongside quotes from Montaigne. His method forgoes formality for urgency and emotion: Scranton makes us worried—right now. In my essay, I found particularly useful how Scranton compares humankind to a hive of bees, locked in their rhythmic patterns of energy expenditure. His work remains limited, though, in not offering a concrete way forward: as I argue in my essay, philosophy can only take us so far.
    Does the essay contain a clear, arguable, non-obvious thesis statement?
    yes, undoubtedly yes, sufficiently not sufficiently no
    Does the essay provide an engaging and focused call to action about a specific topic?
    yes, undoubtedly yes, sufficiently not sufficiently no
    Does the essay clearly address the stakes of the project (i.e., directly providing answers to the “so what?” and “who cares?” questions)? Does the conclusion “look outward” to the bigger picture, acknowledging remaining questions, next steps, etc.?
    yes, undoubtedly yes, sufficiently not sufficiently no
    Does the essay effectively introduce and contextualize the ongoing conversation?
    yes, undoubtedly yes, sufficiently not sufficiently no
    Does the essay quote and paraphrase specific, useful material from its sources? Does it avoid sweeping generalizations and/or unsubstantiated claims?
    yes, undoubtedly yes, sufficiently not sufficiently no
    Is the essay written as if for an uninformed reader (i.e., someone who hasn’t read the sources or taken part in class discussions)?
    yes, undoubtedly yes, sufficiently not sufficiently no
    Does the essay build a “conversation” between the author, the sources, and the audience? Does the essay strike an effective balance between multiple voices (including its own) and consistently “weave” materials together over the course of its pages?
    yes, undoubtedly yes, sufficiently not sufficiently no
    Does the essay organize its ideas logically and avoid overcrowding body paragraphs?
    yes, undoubtedly yes, sufficiently not sufficiently no
    Does the essay utilize metacommentary (including paragraph- and sentence-level transitions and analytical topic sentences) to guide the reader and directly connect claims and evidence?
    yes, undoubtedly yes, sufficiently not sufficiently no
    Does the essay show evidence of proofreading? Does the essay consistently avoid errors in grammar and syntax?
    yes, undoubtedly yes, sufficiently not sufficiently no
    Does the essay make effective choices in style? Specifically, does it adhere to Sword’s guidelines for active verbs, concrete nouns, clear pronouns, strategic prepositions, and useful modifiers?
    yes, undoubtedly yes, sufficiently not sufficiently no
    Does the essay utilize voice markers to delineate who’s “speaking” in the conversation?
    yes, undoubtedly yes, sufficiently not sufficiently no
    Does the essay cite all materials responsibly and correctly in the text?
    yes, undoubtedly yes, sufficiently not sufficiently no
    Does the essay include a Works Cited page with the required information for each source?
    yes, undoubtedly yes, sufficiently not sufficiently no
    Does the essay provide annotations for all of its independently researched sources? Does each annotation include Harris’s key terms?
    yes, undoubtedly yes, sufficiently not sufficiently no
    Does the essay include all of the required materials? Do the independently researched sources meet the requirements, and are they productive choices for the project?
    yes, undoubtedly yes, sufficiently not sufficiently no
    Does the essay begin with a descriptive and engaging title? If an uninformed reader encountered saw the title by itself (i.e., without reading the rest of the essay), could he/she/they reasonably predict the scope and purpose of the essay at hand?
    yes, undoubtedly yes, sufficiently not sufficiently no
    Is the essay formatted correctly, as per the policies in the syllabus?
    yes, undoubtedly yes, sufficiently not sufficiently no
  2. Did the author submit a rough draft on time and constructively participate in peer review?
    yes, undoubtedly yes, sufficiently not sufficiently no

First Draft: _ / 20 Final Draft: _ / 125
Annotated Bibliography: _ / 40 GRAND TOTAL: _ / 185

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