Instructions for writing a summary Summaries should be about 1 single spaced page, approximately three paragraphs. The first paragraph must contain the following information: • Author and title (Eg. Yael Zerubavel, Recovered Roots) • One sentence on the topic of the piece (eg. Zerubavel looks at how Zionism recreated and reinterpreted Jewish history. • One sentence on the data used, or about what is used instead of data (e.g. Zerubavel looks at a range of rabbinical and Zionist texts about three historical moments, to show how Zionists altered older interpretations to support new Zionist ideals). • One sentence on a central concern or main argument (e.g. Zerubavel is interested in how Zionists “negated the exile” or constructed Jewish life prior to the return to Israel as backward, inauthentic, and depressing). • One aspect of the article that struck you. It does not have to be something the author cared about or made central; this is about what struck you. Use the second paragraph to elaborate on some example of the author’s analysis. For example, Zerubavel goes into detail about how the rabbis were ambivalent about the suicides at Masada, while the Zionists valorized them. You don’t have the opportunity to summarize the whole piece if you only get three paragraphs, and I’d suggest focusing on an example that you found either convincing or unconvincing. Your final paragraph should contain some discussion, including any connections you can make between the reading and the course questions or section topic (e.g. Zerubavel, to my mind, shows us how colonialism and orientalism influenced Jewish nationalism, and begs comparisons with Arab nationalism). It is fairly easy to get a pass; you only need to follow the above instructions, convince me that you read the piece, and get the author’s argument mostly right. To get a high pass, your description of the reading needs to be accurate, and your final paragraph has to be interesting and intelligent. Over time, you should be developing your own arguments on a set of issues you care about.
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