Writing Assignment #2: The Economic Geography of your place
Goal: Analyze the economic geography of a place you know well.
Preparation: Choose a place you know well (likely a place you have lived for an extended period of time). Research its economic history, its present conditions, and its position (economically) within the global, national, or regional economy. Depending on the size of the place you choose, identify the ways that economic geographers have characterized your place (or places like it—more in class).
Writing: Write a 6-8 page (12pt font, 1 inch margins all around, double space) analysis that answers the following questions:
- What does the economic geography literature tell you to expect about your place?
- What does your analysis of the characteristics (historical, demographic, economic, and geographic) of your place tell you about it? Where has it been? Where is it going? Why?
- Compare and contrast the above two points.
- Narrate your own experience of this place. How does your own experience in this place build on the literature and on the data?
- How can we better understand this place? What is missing?
Organization: The structure of your response will be critical to success in this assignment. As discussed in class your response should take the following form:
- Introduction with thesis statement that characterizes the argument you are going to make.
- Narrative answers to the above questions. Use quotes with page numbers to support your assertions e.g. The author states that, “a failure to cite correctly can lead to extraordinarily painful outcomes.” (Fowler 2014 pg.xxi).
- A concluding paragraph that, at a minimum, restates your thesis statement and projects outward.
- A bibliography including citations for the sources of the data presented in your paper as well as at least 2 peer-reviewed journal articles referenced in the paper.
Other details: We will be spending time in class discussing the elements of a good research paper. In particular we will focus on accessing academic journals and using them to construct a sense of the literature. We will also devote time to accessing statistical information about places using census and other tools. Given the time devoted to these topics, a high level of achievement with respect to data and literature will be expected in your paper.
Also important is some clarification of what we mean by the “economic history” of a place. We do not want simply a timeline of key industries, but an effort to weave together issues around institutions, stakeholders, effects, space, place, time—in short a framing of the place as geographers understand that term. You are on the right track if you find yourself thinking about abstract models, about path dependency, technological change, migration, markets, uneven development and other concepts from class. These will be the hallmarks of a good research paper.
Review by classmate: Each of you will be assigned two reviewers from among your classmates and each of you will be given two papers to review. The draft you turn in to your reviewers (via turnitin) must be “complete,” that is, of a quality you would be willing to turn in to your instructor. Your reviewers will help you succeed, but you need to give them a complete version to work with.
Submit your work: Your essay is due to your reviewers by 5pm on April 12th. via Turnitin
Your reviewers will get their comments back to you by 5pm on April 19th also via Turnitin and you will have a little over a week to finish the paper. The final draft is to be submitted electronically via Turnitin no later than April 28th at 5pm.
You will be graded both on the quality of your work and on your response to the editor’s comments (more on this in class later). You will receive a separate grade for your efforts as a reviewer.
Please be very aware of the student code of conduct cited in the syllabus. Plagiarism will absolutely not be tolerated and will result in a minimum of a 0 on the assignment as well as disciplinary action that could include an F in the class or other penalties as described in the class syllabus.