Project 2 assignment



A pdf version of this assignment, with links, is here: HUM103 Project 2 assignment.

HUM 103, 2018: Project #2

From Sapere Aude forward, you’ve been thinking about the big questions of our course: What is a revolution? What are the humanities? These questions are in the background of this second project, but we will ask you to focus your thinking and writing on a more concrete issue, one that requires just two texts from our course.

The assignment has two main parts, to be integrated into a single, unified paper. Part 1: Drawing on our Kuhn reading, identify and describe ONE important aspect of the Copernican Revolution. Part 2: Explain how that aspect is or is not manifested in ONE humanistic text from Sapere Aude or Unit 1. You should use this second part to shed light on the nature of the humanities or the nature of a revolution, though a full definition of these concepts is not required in this project.


This assignment will initially seem very abstract to you, so below are some ideas to get you thinking about what such a project could look like. You are welcome to use or alter any of these, or even design an entirely new topic, so long as your project fits within the constraints of the assignment.

As Kuhn explains, Copernicus uses virtually all of the mathematical tools and devices of the old system. Yet Lorde says, “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house”. Does resolving the apparent contradiction help us to understand a difference between scientific and humanistic revolutions?

A scientific revolution, as Kuhn presents it, involves replacing one conceptual scheme with another. Was King (alternatively: X, Baldwin, or Lorde) proposing a new conceptual scheme? Why or why not? And what does the answer tell us about the importance of a conceptual scheme in the humanities?

According to Kuhn, the Copernican Revolution originated in a small, technical puzzle in mathematics, namely, the “problem of the planets”. But Copernicus’ innovation then had much wider implications for religion and philosophy. Assuming King’s “Letter” is revolutionary, does it similarly proceed from small, local issues to a wider impact, or is the pattern importantly different?

One problem with the Ptolemaic model was that it became monstrously complex. This was an important spur toward revolution. Is the “Map of the System of Human Knowledge” from Sapere Aude also so complex and unwieldy that we need a new way of thinking of knowledge? Why or why not?


Your paper should begin with a short introduction setting up your topic and previewing your paper. Avoid broad generalizations: get quickly to the main point of your paper.

Pretend you’re writing for a reader who is not necessarily familiar with the texts or ideas of our course. This will help you to be as clear and explicit as possible.

Your paper will involve some exposition of both Kuhn and your chosen humanistic text. But you will have to be very selective as you explain these texts: discuss only those parts that are directly relevant to your main purpose.

Try to think beyond the obvious. Your paper will be stronger if your chosen aspect reveals an interesting connection or contrast between the Copernican Revolution and your humanistic text.

While outside research is permitted, it is not required. It is possible to complete this project using only the assigned readings in our course. In any case, all sources used should be properly documented.


The first draft of Project #2 is due on Sunday, September 30 at 5:00pm. That draft takes the place of the weekly post on the course blog. Put your draft into this Dropbox folder (/project 2 draft) before 5:00pm, using this naming protocol:

LastnameFirstnameProject2Draft.docx (or .pdf)

You’ll have access to all the papers in that folder. Remember our course ethos: open, collaborative, transparent. (More on this below.)

The final version of Project #2 is due on Friday, October 5 at 5:00pm. Put that one in this Dropbox folder using this naming protocol:

LastnameFirstnameProject2Final.docx (or .pdf)

Each draft of your project should contain 1000-1200 words.  Please include a word count at the end of your paper on a new line in [square brackets].

Format your project using Chicago style. You can find guidelines for that in our resources page, here. That is: double spaced, twelve-point font, one-inch margins, numbered pages (bottom right), and on the first page, your name, the date, the course number (HUM 103), the name of the professor of your section. If Chicago style is still unfamiliar to you, go to the Purdue University OWL site (also linked in our resources page). Document all external sources, including conversations that shape your drafts, according to The Chicago Manual of Style.

You will discuss the first draft with fellows, with professors, and, ideally, with other HUM 103 students, like this:

If you would like, and we encourage this, share your drafts with other Humesters. This of course has to happen before you upload your draft on Sunday the 30th. So this would probably be Friday or Saturday the 28th or 29th.

If you incorporate the ideas from one of your peers, acknowledge that in a footnote! Say thank you! (CMS documentation format for the “personal communication” footnote is here.)

Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday of Week 3 (Oct 1-3) you will meet one-on-one with a fellow in the Writing Center. You will be able to schedule that 30-minute meeting online beginning Sunday after your drafts are in. These meetings are required.

You will meet with your section professor after your meeting with a fellow in the Writing Center. So these teacher meetings will happen throughout the week, before the end of the day on Thursday, Oct 4. You will need to schedule that 15-20 minute meeting with your professor. These meetings are required.