After reading Dick Meyer’s Why We Hate Us, you probably have pretty strong opinions on a number of the cultural issues he addresses. In this research paper you will identify a single, specific, debatable issue and take a position on whether our current law or cultural practice will help lead us to more of a utopian or dystopian future society, or a place you will love or hate.  You will have to define your terms.  Typically, a utopia balances freedom and order in an appropriate way to allow all citizens to be both relatively free and equally represented as they live together (as in More’s Utopia).  A dystopia, however, tips the balance towards freedom for a specific group holding power (like the Nazis or Soviet Communist Party members) or order towards the state (as in BNW or 1984) or forces outside the individual’s control.  So, introduce your definition of these terms and work towards your argumentative position.  You will not simply disagree or agree, or be “pro” or “con,” on an issue.  Instead, you will define the current dominant cultural practice in the United States (as you research it) against these basic definitions of utopia and dystopia.  For example, is the current trend towards legalizing gay marriage or decriminalizing marijuana usage or educational accountability leading us to more of a utopian or dystopian society?  My position is a statement expressing how I answer that question [i.e. “The current trend towards increasing participation in virtual realities is a utopian movement freeing us from our physical limitations, although it may be misused _______________”].  You argue your position by providing solid reasons and evidence!  Notice I used the term “more of” in the question and “although” in the position statement.  Argumentation is not a practice of absolutes; it is about defining terms, doing research and analysis, and arriving at your own specific position.  Also, remember that you can’t “take on the world” in this paper.  So don’t try to argue that “our government is corrupt,” because first, there is no argument – of course it is! (in some ways and not in others) – and second, you would need to write a book! Also, don’t argue “the media is bad,” because “the media” means everything from tv news to comic books to video games and poetry. Narrow the topic down, perhaps first to a broad issue like “congressional lobbying” or “reality television” that you can further narrow as you develop the paper. You cannot write on the same topic as you did in your first paper. You will propose an idea and then submit a source list, outline, draft, and revision of this paper, as well as complete peer review through the discussion forum. Note, ALL steps in this process must be completed within the allotted time or you will receive a zero for the entire paper.  Late assignments lose one letter grade per day, and after four days receive a zero (although they still must be completed); after 7 days without turning in the assignment, you will receive a zero for the remaining research paper components.  The paper must be 2,000 words and use 7 sources (4 scholarly) minimum.  Except for general web sources, the JJC Library book and journal article databases must be used to complete your research (and cited in at least 3 sources).  Also, only two of those sources can be texts assigned for this course, any other course, or used in your previous research paper and they must be properly used as authoritative, creditable evidence.  All sources must be cited in MLA format.  If this format is not used correctly, your paper will automatically drop one letter grade.  Your paper will be graded on its ability to articulate a clear, well-researched and supported argument, which includes developing logical reasoning and appeals and providing properly used and cited current, authoritative evidence, mixing facts, documented research, and authoritative opinions.

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