A Note about Paper Proposals and Final Exams

Hi all,

As some of you have opted to propose a paper rather than the final, we wanted to take a moment to clarify what you will need to complete if you want to do the capstone project rather than the final exam. Remember, you must propose a capstone project to the Professors by today (Thursday April 23rd).

1) You should email Professors Thrailkill and Rivkin-Fish to set up a time to talk about your project via either email or zoom.

2) Send Professors Thrailkill and Rivkin-Fish your proposal today. (details found at https://anth272engl264.web.unc.edu/final-assignment/)

3) Receive approval of project from Professors Thrailkill and Rivkin-Fish.

IMPORTANT: If the final capstone is not submitted to Professors Thrailkill and Rivkin-Fish via email by Thursday, April 30th at 3:00pm,  you forfeit the capstone and must take the exam.

What is a capstone project?

A capstone project has a precise focus (e.g. an illness narrative) yet also consolidates important ideas from the the full semester: about health experiences, their cultural significance, and/or wider existential and societal issues that are core to health humanities and medical anthropology.

Arthur Frank talks about what makes an illness story a “good story.” Crucially, as we have seen throughout, that stories are made significant by being linked with larger themes and concerns — otherwise they are narrowly therapeutic. Also, there is always a danger of falling into pat narratives, cliched writing, and unstructured description.

To have a successful capstone project, you will need to include analysis that unfolds the significance and makes explicit, more-than-surface connections to course readings and concepts. (You can look to our exam forums for a reminder of some core ideas… as well as your own notes and the readings themselves.)

For example: You might think of Tweedy’s careful linking of his own clinical stories and experiences to larger cultural, racial, and societal structures.

The writing matters too: we have talked about the importance of figurative language, and powerful, precise expression — think of Bauby’s lyricism and dark humor! Or Dunlap-Shohl’s visual personification of his Parkinson’s and his pain.

If you need additional clarification, please consult the Final Assignment Page (https://anth272engl264.web.unc.edu/final-assignment/) or email us.

Good luck,

Your Healing in Ethnography and Literature Team

Author: Grant Glass

English and Comp Literature

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