The cultures of Latin America] Cultural diversity in Indigenous Cultures OR Environmental view of the world in Indigenous Cultures

Task Description: Please choose one of the essay topics below:

1. Cultural diversity in Indigenous Cultures (IC)

2. Environmental view of the world in IC

Criteria & Marking: Quality of the argument 10

Ability to address the proposed question 10

Use of sources 5

Clarity and presentation 5


Quality of the argument.

This is the most important assessment criterion because the argument is the core of your intellectual work. Constructing a good argument will take some time, a good deal of self-criticism, and lots of help from objective readers  these might include your lecturers, your peers, etc. Since you will be required to develop good arguments over the course of your university studies, you might expect to progressively improve your argumentative abilities. In this course, your argumentation will be assessed in terms of your ability (i) to formulate a focus question in relation to the proposed question, (ii) to discuss the implications of your question, (iii) to present supporting evidence, and (iv) to arrive at a logical answer to your focus question. You must attempt draw on the lectures and your reading in order to avoid obvious and superficial questions  your lecturer can be asked for help with this. You must also avoid the most common argumentative traps, such as trying to demonstrate obvious facts, not trying to demonstrate anything at all, relying on dubious or obsolete sources (especially via the internet), not relying on sources of any kind, or inflating your style.

overall coherence of argumentation:

o Full Marks: your train of thought is sufficiently clear and well articulated;

focus question:

o Full Marks: your essay convincingly approaches a general topic via a focus question that is clearly formulated since the beginning;


o Full Marks: your focus question is explored from at least three different perspectives, combining, if possible, different ideological or theoretical positions;

supporting evidence:

o this can be in the form of case examples, anecdotal accounts, journal or magazine articles, etc.

Full Marks: you provide sufficient evidence to prove your point or to disprove the opposite, and that it is clearly related to your question. You might get fewer marks if your evidence is too peripheral or vague.


o Full Marks: your essay persuasively addresses the proposed question by offering a logical arrival point to the argumentation that is clearly enunciated.

Ability to address the proposed question.

You must focus your essays on a question out of the proposed list. It is important that you understand both the question and its implications before you embark on your research and writing. You must then personalise the question by choosing a side of it that is particularly attractive or interesting to you. Do not attempt to address the question as a whole, or you will end up with a set of general remarks  not an argumentative essay. Once you have decided what aspect of the question is going to be your focus, try to gather as much information as you can  but remember to stick to the question and avoid to be lured by the many other fascinating aspects that you might discover in your research. Use the following checklist:

proposed general question clearly identified

focus question clearly stated in the essay s introduction

relation between the general question and the focus question explained

focus question properly used as a focal point in the essay (i.e. not as a pretext to examine other issues or as a departure point for a different set of arguments)

conclusions clearly respond the focus question

Use of sources.

Your essay must include a bibliography, i.e. a list of references of all books, journal articles, encyclopaedia entries, internet sites, and any other publication or document that you have used in the preparation of your essay. You cannot write your essays without using external sources  otherwise you would not be doing a proper research paper. You must make a clever use of your sources. It is not the case that a longer list of references will give you more marks; your sources must be relevant to your argument; and all sources must be fully referenced. Checklist:

all sources are properly referenced

all sources are relevant to the issue under consideration

a minimum of five different sources have been used in the preparation of the essay and are appropriately acknowledged

demerit points can be avoided if no general reference works, such as dictionaries or encyclopaedias, are listed as research sources