English 128

Paper Assignment 2

In the last few weeks, we have read in depth about two scientific breakthroughs, and about their accompanying cultural contexts (Newton's and Darwin's).  We have also read two different ideas about how scientific breakthroughs happen, and how such breakthroughs relate to cultural context in general (Willis and Kuhn).

Choose either Darwin or Newton for this assignment.  

Write a five-page paper in which you summarize the nature and importance of your scientist's scientific breakthrough, but also show how there was a 'literary' or 'cultural' element to the way the work was concieved, presented, or recieved.

You may use Willis and/or Kuhn to help you set up your argument.

Note that this assignment can take a lot of different forms.  For example:
  • You could discuss the literarary techniques Darwin used to present his work.  
  • You could explore how Newton was recieved culturally, by Swift or Blake for example.
  • You could talk about how the 19th century culture of imperialism may have helped Darwin when he concieved his theory.
  • And so on.

Note that this assignment is designed to provide you with a good amount of flexibility in writing about the course materials.  If you have a different idea for a paper topic that will let you do this, feel free to ask ahead of time and I might approve it.

A full rough draft of your paper is due in class on Wednesday, April 3 for peer review.  Final drafts of the paper should be submitted through the Canvas tool by 5pm on Friday, April 5.