HMXP102 Assessment of COVID-19 and the Role of Community
HMXP102, Assessment, COVID-19, Role, Community
This paper as a final: Due to Winthrop’s COVID-19 response, we will not be meeting in person for the final exam. This paper now takes the place of your final and accounts for 25% of your overall grade in the course (this paper was originally 20% of your overall grade).
Notes on feedback: Furthermore, because this assignment will be due during finals week (see your course calendar for your essay’s due date), I will not have as much time as normal to grade and comment on your writing. Because of this, I will be unable to provide as much feedback on this paper as I have on your first two papers in this course.
I will only be using a rubric on Turn It In to grade, and I will not be leaving comments throughout or an end comment. If you have questions after you receive your grade, however, and want more specific feedback, that can certainly be arranged on a case-by-case basis. You can view this rubric on Turn it In if you go to “Essay 3.”
I love leaving thorough feedback on your papers, but I will only be using a rubric to grade these so that you all have as much time as possible to work on this. If I scheduled more time for me to give you all feedback, you would not have as much time to write the paper (final grade deadlines for faculty are hard deadlines). This is not ideal, but I think this approach will be in everyone’s best interest.
Late Work: Additionally, because this paper is doubling as your “final,” late papers will not be accepted unless there are some seriously extenuating circumstances. Technology/connectivity issues are not considered “extenuating circumstances.” You have the assignment and the due date weeks beforehand. If you believe you may have technology or connectivity issues, it is your responsibility to troubleshoot any foreseeable problems beforehand.
Below you will find the list of requirements for the paper and three topics you may choose to write about.
All papers must include the following:
- at least 1500 words
- connections to our readings
- an underlined thesis statement
- multiple paragraphs developing your thesis statement
- some sort of acknowledgement of alternative opinions
- MLA for documentation and formatting
Topic One: COVID-19 & the Role of Community
In 1623, as the bubonic plague swept through Europe and killed 30-60% of the continent’s population, John Donne wrote
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee (95).
While Donne’s Meditation XVII is a moving tribute to the importance of the community, other authors, also grappling with the role of community, have rejected Donne’s assertion (Emerson, Camus). Camus for instance sketches the human being as doomed to suffering and certain death.
He argues that our conscious, reasoning mind recognizes the absurdity of our situation and the irrationality of our existence. Camus does however conclude that recognizing the absurdity of our situation frees us to live for the pleasure and beauty of today. He concludes “One must imagine Sisyphus happy (241)” because he can live for the pleasure of the moment, with no thought to the future.
As you examine what is happening in the world around you with COVID-19 and our response to it, consider the differing perspectives our authors have taken about the role of community. What philosophy of community underlies your response, your family or friends responses, or your country’s response to the COVID-19 virus? What might the impacts and implications of such an outlook be?
Write a paper in which you argue the merits and drawbacks of one of the above-mentioned perspectives as a response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Incorporate your observations and any necessary outside data into your response. Include two readings from the HMXP reader.
Topic Two: What is “sacred”?
As evidenced by the ideas presented in the HMXP Reader, “the sacred” is understood in various ways. In an interview with Stephan Bodian, Arne Naess considers, “In what situations do I experience the maximum satisfaction of my whole being?” (Bodian 257).
Tillich describes our relationship with the sacred as an “ultimate concern…[which]…demands the total surrender of him who accepts this claim” (269). More specifically, Swimme notes the effects of the “religion of consumerism” which inundates our American culture and defines our “cosmologies” (156).
And while Lewis describes the sacred as personal transformation attainable through a relationship with Christ, Moore notes a “sacred dimension” in the “secular” which nurtures the soul (294).
In what ways should we define “the sacred?” How do you define that which gives your life meaning and value? Are there shared essential elements, concepts or ideals that help to determine what we hold sacred? How are these ideas reflected in the actions of the larger community? Do we need things that are “sacred” at all? Include at least 2 authors from the
reader in your argument.
Topic Three: Everyday Acts: Absurd or Sacred?
When Albert Camus talks about “the worker of today,” he sees this worker’s “fate” as “no less absurd” than that of Sisyphus, in part at least because this worker “works every day of his life at the same tasks” (290).
Thomas Moore, on the other hand, seems to recommend the frequently repetitious acts of what he calls on page 292 “the everyday arts”: washing dishes, hanging wet laundry on a clothesline, weaving, and knitting. He sees such work as a way of overcoming “modern soullessness, an alienation from nature and things, as well as from our fellow human beings” (293).
In a thesis driven essay, explore your opinion about the absurdity or the scaredness of everyday acts and everyday work. Does your own experience of work seem closer to Camus or to Moore? How much is this due to the work and how much to your attitudes toward it? What does Camus recommend as the best response to absurd modern work? Can we in fact find sacredness in everyday tasks? Include at least two authors from our reader in your essay.
I am open to suggestions if you would like to write about something slightly differently, so if that’s the case, email me to schedule a time to talk about your idea. Every paper must respond to readings from our “Self and Sacred” section of the course, though.
You must get approval from me if you would like to write about something other than the options listed above.