Expository Essay Assignment on Salem Possessed and Tituba’s Confession

Tituba’s Confession:  The Multicultural Dimensions of the 1692 Salem Witch-Hunt   Elaine G. Breslaw   Ethnohistory, Vol. 44, No. 3 (Summer, 1997), 535-556. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici     ?sici=OO  14-1801%28199722%2944%3A3%3C535%3ATCTMD0%3E2.0.C0%3B2-P 1692 Salem  Expository Essay Assignment   Objective:  Students will learn how to read critically, synthesize ideas, and weigh evidence in the case of the 1692 Salem Witch Hunt, to distinguish between innocent people who were accused of being witches and people (accused or not) who were actually doing things that could be viewed (in anthropological terms) as “using magic.”   Assignment:  Write a 1,200 word (minimum) expository essay that analyzes data in two sources – the book Salem Possessed and the article “Tituba’s Confession” – to analyze at least three people involved in the Salem Witch hunt who were doing things that could be viewed (in anthropological terms) as “using magic.”  Students must cite the page number or location number from the book Salem Possessed and the article “Tituba’s Confession” each time they use an idea or data from these two sources.  “Quotations” are not allowed in this paper.   Students must synthesize the material and write in their own words.    Definitions:   Anthropological definition of “witch” – A “witch” is a person who is suspected of harming others through supernaturalmeans [“using magic”], whether intentionally or unintentionally.”  Such practices are “witchcraft.”  Many people were accused of being witches in Salem, but only some of them were doing things that could be considered “using magic.”   Anthropological definition of “magic” – “Magic is a practice that effects change through supernatural force or energy, by invoking, acquiring and using the power of the spirit world to accomplish specific, intended, aims; magic includes the use of spells, formulas, and incantations used with spirits, deities or with impersonal forces; a belief in magic exists in all cultures, and in all religions.”  Keep in mind that magic can be used either to help people or to harm people.     The Puritans believed that witches harmed people through magic.  But for most of the accused, there was little material evidence that they were doing anything that involved “using magic.”  The Puritans accused people of witchcraft based on “spectral evidence,” which would not stand up in a court today. In the two sources, we find that there were some people who were intentionally doing things that involved “using magic.”  Your job is to find them and discuss them.     Sir James George Frazer distinguished two types of magic:   1.  imitative magic  produces a desired effect by imitating the magical action desired ; for example, drinking an infusion of lung-shaped leaves to remedy a lung infection; sticking pins in voodoo dolls to imitate the action of stabbing someone, or sending magic darts into their body.   To paraphrase Frazer’s words, “Like produces like, or has an effect that resembles its cause.”     2.  contagious magic  whatever is done to an object is believed to affect a person who once had contact with it; so, contagious magic would be a spell that is cast over an article of clothing, someone’s possessions and, especially, body products from the intended victim, such as a lock of hair or fingernail clippings.  Contagious has to do with contact.  To paraphrase Frazer’s words, “Things which have once been in contact with each other continue to act on each other at a distance after the physical contact has been severed.”      What you need to do, to prepare:   First, read Salem Possessed and “Tituba’s Confession.”  These two sources offer somewhat different perspectives on witchcraft practices in 1692 Salem.  Look for evidence of people “using magic” according to the definitions provided at the beginning of this assignment.  Pick at least three people where it could be argued that “magic was being used” and discuss them, weighing the evidence with anthropological concepts.  Your job is to determine who was doing things that involved “magic.” Take notes on the people you detect were doing these sorts of things, and write down the things they did (including the page numbers or location numbers).  Then discuss why these people and their actions would qualify as “using magic.”    Sources:  Only use these two sources, and not any other sources: the book Salem Possessed and the article “Tituba’s Confession.”  Do not copy any material off the Internet or in any other sources.  All of your data should come from just these two sources.  Use the definitions provided in this assignment – do not cite dictionaries, encyclopedias, or Wikipedia for anything.     Rubric – Suggested Structure (Expository Essay Style):   This is only a suggested structure.  The essay must be in expository essay style, which generally follows a structure like the one below.     1.  Introduction:  The first paragraph introduces the essay topic, as well as the concepts you are going to use to analyze it.  One of the sentences in the first paragraph must clearly state the thesis of your essay – explain your position on the use of magic in 1692 Salem.  Another sentence should provide a road map that tells the reader at least three people you feel could be considered as “using magic” or “engaging in witchcraft.”  A short paper like this typically analyzes three examples, but you are welcome to write a longer paper and use more examples.  This paragraph should be no longer than half a page. 2.  Background:  The second paragraph should concisely summarize what happened in 1692 Salem, in a few sentences.  This paragraph should be no longer than half a page.  Do not use “quotations” as a replacement for an explanation in your own words.   3.  Analysis (several paragraphs):  Subsequent paragraphs analyze the people and examples you determined were “using magic” according to the above definitions.  Organize your paragraphs around specific examples or around people, whichever way you prefer.  Each paragraph should be about half a page. 4.  Conclusion:  The last paragraph should offer some overall insights (something more than just a summary of the points you already made).  What did you learn about the 1692 Salem witch hunt by writing this paper?   Manage your paragraphs.  Each paragraph should have a “topic sentence” somewhere in it, preferably at the beginning of the paragraph.  The “topic sentence” tells the reader what this paragraph is going to deal with.  In a short paper like this, the paragraphs should be roughly half a page.  A paragraph is a “unit of analysis,” not just one or two sentences.  If you have a paragraph that goes on for more than two-thirds of a page, you might check it to see if there are actually two or more themes in there that need separate treatment, in separate paragraphs.  Introduce the point you’re making in this paragraph in the first sentence.  Provide data and examples in the other sentences to bolster the point you made at the beginning of the paragraph.  And always be sure to cite the data properly.     Length:  1,200 words (minimum) of expository analysis, plus a title page at the beginning, and a bibliography page at the end, all in a single Word file.  The 1,200 words does not include the Title Page or the Bibliography.  Must be double-spaced, in 12-point font.  If it’s shorter than 1,200 words, it won’t be eligible for a high grade.  If it is single-spaced and I have to reformat it in order to grade it using Microsoft Word technology, expect a lower grade.  Writing a super long paper will not guarantee a high grade, but students are welcome to write longer papers, so long as all of the words deal concisely with the topic.  Conciseness and clarity are important.   Deadline:  The deadline for the paper is announced in the course syllabus.  Late penalties will apply after the deadline, as per the course syllabus.  Papers will not be accepted after the last day of class.     Copying:  Whatever you do, do not copy and paste any phrases or sentences off the Internet or from other people’s papers or published works, because for college term papers that’s considered plagiarism.  Even shuffling words around is plagiarism, so don’t do it.  Therefore, be sure to study the slide show “How to Paraphrase,” so that you summarize and paraphrase the right way, and don’t get caught plagiarizing.  Keep in mind that “quotations” are not allowed in this paper: you must synthesize the material and paraphrase in your own words (and cite).     Editing:  Edit your paper before turning it in.  The paper should be double spaced  (no more, no less).  Use Times New Roman font, 12-point.  Make sure the first sentence of each paragraph is indented 5 spaces.  Do not include photographs in your paper.   Format:  The paper has to be formatted in Microsoft Word, or it will not be accepted; I use Word technology to grade the papers.  Your paper must have a separate title page at the beginning and a separate bibliography page at the end, all in the same (single) Word file as the text of your paper. Do not use footnotes, endnotes, photos, or photos and decorations.  Double-space the text of your essay.  Use one-inch margins.  Do not right-justify the text.  Use 12-point font that is easy to read such as Cambria (Mac) or Times (PC).  The Title Page must not have any extra formatting in it – no Microsoft picture frames or style formats – just type the text on the title page, and that’s all.  Keep it simple and business-like.  Use the Chicago style of citing sources (Author-Date-Page) in each citation (inside of your sentences) and the full reference information in the bibliography (author’s full name, date, full title of the work, place of publication, name of publisher.  Be sure to include a page number, location number, or slide number wherever these are available.    Please note:  This is an individual assignment, not a collaborative assignment.  Just make sure you develop your own ideas and don’t use anybody else’s.   If your paper sounds like somebody else’s, you may be in trouble.   How to turn it in:  Upload your term paper on Blackboard as a Microsoft Word document.  If you do not have Word on your computer, you can get it for free:  log in to your UMass email, click the gear icon next to your name, choose Office 365 Settings, and then Software.  Download it to your computer.     Content:  A substantial portion of the grade is based on whether or not you have made good use of anthropological theory, concepts, and terminology, as well as examples and data from sources in your analysis – and whether or not you have cited the sources every single time you use them.    Always cite a summarized or paraphrased passage or a “quotation.”  Citations and quotations are two different things.  “Quotations” are not allowed in this paper.     Citations:  Give credit to your sources:  Sources for this paper must be cited in the Chicago Manual of Style format that anthropologists use (see AAA Style Guide).  All you have to do to cite a source for anthropology papers is remember to put 3 things in your citation: (Author Date: Page).  It’s easy.  Do not use any other format for citations. Citations are extremely important in scholarly writing.  If you don’t cite your sources each time, do not expect to earn a high grade. You need citations throughout your paper, every time you use any data from them.     Bibliography:  You list the full reference information for the source, at the end of your paper, in the bibliography section.  This includes the author’s full name, the date of publication, the title, the place of publication, and the name of the publisher.  For websites, put as much information as you can find to identify the article, including the URL, name of the website, and the author and date if available.     Quotations:  For this assignment, students are expected to paraphrase instead of “quoting,” unless the exact words of the author make a critical difference in your analysis of the data.  Literature courses analyze an author’s writing style and wording, by picking a sentence or passage to “quote,” and then analyzing it.  However, this is not a literature course.  Anthropology is a humanistic science.  Science courses, including anthropology, do not analyze an author’s writing style. Science courses analyze data, which you must summarize or paraphrase in your own words.  You should be able to summarize or paraphrase information from sources, and not use “quotations” as a replacement for your own writing. If a person’s specific words are used as data, you should limit the amount of verbiage that you “quote” to just the important words that make a critical difference in your analysis.  You should not have long “quotations” filling up the pages of your essay – this is called “patchwork.” Always cite a paraphrased passage or a “quotation.”  Citations and quotations are two different things.

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