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SOURCE: David Trend, Elsewhere in America
LENGTH: 400-600 words
DUE: Tuesday, March 3 11:59 pm)
WEIGHT: 10% of course grade
Pick one of the prompts below and write a formal academic essay in response. (Formal writing
means structure [introà body paragraphsà conclusion], development of argument [thesis, claims
supported by evidence, logical argument], formal English, and footnotes[1] for citation.) Also,
double-space and use proper margins. You will submit this assignment through Canvas(click on the
essay assignment).
1. Trend argues that the United States is an “unfinished project.” [2] How does he mean this
claim with respect to the United States having an aspirational culture? How does he
understand it to include the potential for outsiders to belong to American culture?
2. Trend argues that culture helps frame boundaries for including or excluding certain
subjectivities. With respect to at least two distinct groups, how does Trend suggest these
groups struggled to change their status from “not belonging” to “belonging”?
3. Trend wonders what might happen if the notion of “identity” was treated as nothing more
than “fiction.”[3] Discuss the ways in which at least one identity you claim has become
important to your sense of belonging (or lack thereof) in some aspect of your life. In what
ways is that identity a basis for you activism/engagement with the world. How is it more than
a fiction?
4. Arguments about religion and morality lie at the heart of much conflict in contemporary
society. Describe three issues profiled by Trend that have matters of faith at the core of the
[1] Footnotes should follow either the Turabian or (the nearly indistinguishable) Chicago style. For a
convenient guide to footnote citation systems, please consult either of these websites. They present
the same information but package it different ways so rely on the one you find easier to comprehend.
Alternatively, look at how Trend organizes his citations and copy what he did. A simple example
(citing a book by a single author) is fn. 7 (p.
28). (Links to
an external site.) (Links to an external
site.) OR (Links to an
external site.)
[2] David Trend, Elsewhere in America: The Crisis of Belonging in Contemporary American
Culture (Routledge, 2016), 99. [This is how a first citation of a book with one author should look.].
[3] Trend, 123. Trend follows up that speculation by sourly observing that such thinking amounts to
“utopian silliness.” This passage from Chapter 6 thus seeds his discussion of this country’s utopian
aspirationalism in Chapter 12. [This footnote models how a second citation of a previously cited
source should look. The next two sentences demonstrate the footnote’s other function, as a place to
expand upon an idea raised in the main text.]

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