Tag Archives: Writing Seminar

Methods, Spring 2017

Paul and Mary would very much like you to make… a national heritage: ‘The Great British Bake Off’ and forming a Modern British Identity

In a Tortoiseshell: Abigail Denton positions The Great British Bake Off as a site of postcolonial tensions, bringing together insights from a range of disciplines, including media studies, sociology, and history, in order to weave a compelling argument about the nation-building capacities of the popular television program.

Continue reading


The Zodiac of the Beth Alpha Synagogue

In a Tortoiseshell: This excerpt of Hannah Tandy’s “The Zodiac of the Beth Alpha Synaogue” showcases a strong delta thesis–an argument that develops over the course of the paper through the analysis of evidence. The paper analyzes an ancient mosaic in the Beth Alpha synagogue and argues that its design, which includes a pagan zodiac, was a conscious design decision meant to reinforce its purpose as calling for obedience to God, using the precedent of other synagogue mosaics examined in the paper. The development of this argument from the paper’s start to finish is highlighted to emphasize the delta thesis’s potential. With a delta thesis, one can see that as the argument builds, the paper’s  finale has the ability to lead to a conclusion that fills in all the gaps.

Continue reading

Orienting, Spring 2016

A Nation of Maniacs: Understanding Commodified Mania Through Bipolar Narratives

In a Tortoiseshell:  Alexandra Marino’s “A Nation of Maniacs: Understanding Commodified Mania Through Bipolar Narratives” uses sociological and medical analysis to explore the commodification of mental illness.  Her ability to artfully explain sociological theory in the context of illness narrative makes the beginning of her paper a compelling example of stellar orienting.

download printable PDF

Continue reading


Bounded by Beauty: The Influence of Photography on Perception and Approaches to Cultural Landscape Assessment

In a Tortoiseshell: This paper is about the impact of the huge amount of photography and photo-sharing networks available on the internet on viewers’ perception of cultural landscapes. This paper was written for Alice’s writing seminar Cultural Landscapes and responds to a prompt asking her to make an argument about the impact of photography on cultural landscape conservation. It is showcased here for its masterful approach to structure. Continue reading