In a Tortoiseshell: In this excerpt of her essay on Hugo Chávez’s mythologization of Simón Bolívar, Anais Mobarak demonstrates how best to establish scholarly motive when numerous texts are in conversation. Anais is clear and deft in her explanation of a tension that exists between two scholars, highlighting the relevant points made by each writer. She then plays peacemaker, suggesting a new lens through which to view Chávez and his complex relationship to Bolívar. Continue reading
In a Tortoiseshell: In this excerpt, Willow develops a rich and multilayered motive for writing about the Martin Hayes Quartet’s album The Blue Room. She begins with a hook that orients the reader to the album and prefigures her motive. She then establishes an explicit personal motive, which is interwoven with her primary source motive. Having made her question clear, she deftly answers it in her thesis and later analysis. Continue reading
In a Tortoiseshell: In his Writing Seminar R3, Arya Maheshwari uses correlation networks to model air pollution data gathered in India. This excerpt, which is a condensed version of his introduction, demonstrates how quantitative papers can effectively utilize global and scholarly motives to communicate the importance of their high technical studies to a lay audience.
In a Tortoiseshell: In his paper for Aesthetics and Film, David Veldran discusses immoral fictional characters and their potential benefits for improving our moral intuitions. He weaves together a complex scholarly motive, which allows him to clearly demonstrate the necessity of his original argument, “aufheben.”
Strong motive is generally a prerequisite for a strong argument. When authors respond to a particular puzzle or incongruity in their evidence, they narrow the scope of their argument and also clarify its implications. Papers with compelling motives often tap into broader personal or societal narratives. For example, editor Emily Wu points out that Sam Bisno’s paper builds on an incongruity in a painting by David Hammon to explore the artist’s storytelling and its relationship to the Civil Rights Movement. Ayra Maheshwari’s paper on air pollution in India and the accompanying editor commentary also focus on global motive. Conversely, in her discussion of Willow Dalehite’s paper on Irish music, editor Natalia Zorilla emphasizes the personal narratives that motivate Dalehite’s argument. Both Christina Cho’s and Owen Travis’ editor commentaries (discussing David Veldran’s paper for the Philosophy Department’s Aesthetics and Film Junior Seminar and Anais Mobarak’s paper on Hugo Chávez’s mythologization of Simón Bolívar, respectively) focus on scholarly motive. Despite their scholarly framing, both papers engage with the role of narrative in today’s society: the stories we tell, whether through film or political mythology, affect our ethical interpretation of our surroundings.
— Frances Mangina, ’22