Do not over-rely on quotations, I want to hear your thoughts, analyses, & ideas

The final project will ask you to connect themes from our final text, E. O. Wilson’s The Social Conquest of Earth with any two other course texts. You will have your choice of creating an Adobe Spark Video (which is basically a narrated slideshow) or a traditional academic essay.

REQUIREMENTS: No matter which format you choose, the final project should:

  1. Select one of the *deep questions* from the list below to be your main theme
  2. Summarize/indicate Wilson’s perspective on that theme
  3. Make connections to the same theme in (2) two other class texts (Plato, Marx, Wollstonecraft, Coates, Galileo)
    • Remember that connections do not have to be similarities, they can reveal differences as well.
    • Be creative and expansive in making connections.
  4. Present your own thoughts on the theme.

FIRST, SELECT one of the following *deep questions* to be your main theme. You may choose any of them, regardless of which you answered on the Wilson VoiceThread.

1. Are humans “tribalist” by nature? That is, is it natural for us to prefer our own religious, ethnic, political, or economic group & distrust or persecute outsiders?2.Do societies have an obligation to take care of people who can’t take care of themselves: children, the elderly, the poor, the cognitively or physically disabled, etc…? Why or why not?

3. Do humans have free will? Are we actually in control of our choices, or are they determined by something else? If so, what? God? Fate? Biology? Genes? Instinct? Hormones? Social conditioning? Implicit bias? Something else?

4. What is morality? Where does it come from? How do we know “right” from “wrong”? Are there any absolute standards of morality or is it all just social convention? Why or why not?

5. Can people be truly altruistic (showing a selfless concern for others, putting others’ needs first)? Why or why not?

6. Is science just another belief system, just another “way of knowing,” comparable to any other set of beliefs about the world? Why or why not?

7. Are humans fundamentally different from animals, or are they a type of animal with comparable behaviors & skills?

8. What is “evil?” Is it just a religious category, or a real thing? Why does evil exist in the world? What causes it?

NEXT, If you choose to write a paper: 

  • It should be 3-5 pages, 12 point font, double-spaced, with normal margins (750-1250 words).
  • It should clearly indicate which *deep question* you are addressing, & which (3) three texts you will be discussing. (As noted above, one of the texts must be Wilson.)
    • You can indicate these things in a header, or include them in the body of the introductory paragraph.
  • It must include at least (1) one quotation from each of the three texts (so 3 total).
    • Any quotation you include must be explained or analyzed in your own words.
    • Do not over-rely on quotations, I want to hear your thoughts, analyses, & ideas.
  • It should be written in standard academic writing with paragraphs, complete sentences, & correct grammar and punctuation.
  • It should meet all four REQUIREMENTS listed above.

some of the texts:

  • Coates, Ta-Nehisi. “The Case for Reparations,” The Atlantic, June 2014.Preview the document
  • Galilei, Galileo. Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany, 1615.Preview the document
  • Marx, Karl & Frederick Engels. Manifesto of the Communist Party, 1848. Preview the document