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Update with retrospective on Japan tsunami and Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant failure. How does this affect current and proposed nuclear power plants in the U.S., globally?

101C final paper: on a subject and topic of your choice
A 5- to 7+-page critical thinking, research-based paper in MLA format
5 or more annotated sources in Works Cited
Due Tuesday, December 11th (20 percent of semester grade)
Note: final open-book exam on Tuesday, December 11th, 12:00 to 2:00 pm

Criteria for evaluation:
Critical thinking skills: Writing skills:
Understanding of source material Compound / complex sentences
Explanation + analysis—beyond summary Paragraph development
Development of critical thinking argument or position—logos, pathos, ethos Whole essay clarity and coherence
MLA format, incl. annotated works cited

Strategies for finding sources and consultation:
1 What is your subject and topic? Find general, specialized, interdisciplinary source material.
2 Key words? Key words and phrases help to refine your search engine.
3 Ohlone library database: db articles can be downloaded as full text.
4 Avoid quick Google grabs: qualify your sources as credible, avoid opinionated blogs or websites without credentials.
5 Find one book that provides a “big picture.” Criteria: research-based nonfiction by an academic, investigative journalist, or practicing expert in the field.
6 See your librarian or instructor as you navigate the process from brainstorming to research to writing a draft.
7 See ELC for extra help with overall organization/paragraph development and sentence grammar.

Potential topics for final paper:
Note: Consider developing a subject and topic based on your interests—see instructor or research librarian—or find an anchor book or article to define issues and questions.

Death Row
Update capital punishment topic with California ballot initiative backed by Jeanne Woodford, a former San Quentin warden. Recent case example: Troy Davis.

Protest and Assembly
Update free speech and assembly in public spaces with the role of protest in recent news events. See Time magazine cover story on Person of the Year 2011, the protester at,28804,2101745_2102132_2102373,00.html
Occupy Movement
Update topics on wealth distribution and the growing gap between the rich and the poor. See commentary by economists Elizabeth Warren and Robert Reich <>.
See What is Occupy? News commentary by Time magazine editors.

Women’s Health
Update topics on contraception and abortion by discussing Susan Komen Foundation / Planned Parenthood funding or congressional hearings on federal funding of contraception and abortion. Or, Sandra Fluke; TX requirement for a transvaginal ultrasound and waiting period for abortion.

Gender and Race
Updates on states that have legalized same-sex marriage. Is same-sex marriage a civil rights issue? Is it a Constitutional right? Or, college and employment ID as female, male, trans. Or, LBGTQQ identities. Alternately, policy questions on race—education, employment, housing, healthcare. Is race a social construction or biological fact?

Hurricane Sandy and Climate Change
Is there a connection? What is the role of FEMA and government in a natural disaster? Is government policy on climate change science-based? How to change the status quo?

Fracking or XL Keystone Pipeline
Update topics on energy policy and fossil fuels by evaluating public controversy of fracking—its economic benefits and environmental costs.

Nuclear Energy
Update with retrospective on Japan tsunami and Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant failure. How does this affect current and proposed nuclear power plants in the U.S., globally?

Internet: Regulated or Unregulated?
Update topics on Internet freedom of speech by discussing SOPA and PIPA—proposed federal legislation to regulate the Internet. Should the Internet be protected as a free, open public space?

Focus on a key issue and discuss current 2012 Presidential elections—campaign financing (Citizens United Supreme Court case), buying media (especially TV ads). Or, reassess electoral college and how delegates are counted toward party nomination versus one person/one vote.

Organized Labor (unions)
Update topics on organized labor (unions) and governance; case example, re-call campaign against Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Teachers, nurses, fire fighters, police, auto industry, hotel workers, etc.

Update with role of the military contractor (mercenary) or private security forces in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars—Xe (Blackwater), Aegis. Historical perspective of draft v. volunteer army. Changing culture and tradition of the U.S. military; for example, civil-military relations; civilian/military boundaries blurred by social media. Harper’s “The Warrior Class.” Karl Marlantes’ What It Is Like to Go to War. VA and social policy on PTSD, veterans’ mental health.

Update with recent NFL referee lockout. Multiple POVs: mass media, franchise, owner, players, fans. Or, college sports v education—funding, education mission, conflict of interest? See Derek Bok’s Universities in the Marketplace: the Commercialization of Higher Education.

Art or Music
How the arts or music offer social or political criticism—protest art (Ai Wei Wei, Banksy), hip hop and spoken word (see Decoded by Jay Z), war protest (Bob Dylan), union organizing (Pete Seeger and the Wobblies), see instructor or research librarian for more examples.

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