Placement is how closed. Please contact dsherman [at] haverford.edu (Debora Sherman), Director of College Writing if you have not yet submitted your writing placement materials.
When writing the essay, please observe the following guidelines. Submit the essay, along with your seminar preferences, using the online form.
- Limit the length to approximately 750-1000 words.
- Be sure to include an essay title and your name in the text boxes provided for these in the online form. This will ensure that when your essay is printed out, it will be identified as yours; otherwise, the essay will appear to have no author or title.
- Compose the essay without any assistance, either in the form of other people or outside commentary. You cannot use the web or the library for research. You are, however, permitted to use a dictionary (online or paper) for words which are unfamiliar to you. And you can use reference tools (online or otherwise) to identify names which you don’t recognize. Your best interests will be served only if the Writing Program can make an honest appraisal of how you write on your own. This will be your first opportunity to put Haverford’s Honor Code into practice.
In the wake of the recent, and multiplying, mass shootings, a debate has emerged over what former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson called in several interviews the need for “an Emmet Till moment”. That is, whether the political utility of photographs of physical violence should outweigh any ethical considerations of whether such images should be shown. Three different articles have been linked here: Elizabeth Williamson, “From Sandy Hook to Uvalde: The Violent Images Never Seen”, The New York Times, May 30, 2022; Susie Linfield, “Should We Be Forced to See Exactly What an AR-15 Does to a 10-Year Old?”, The New York Times, May 31, 2022; Jeh Charles Johnson, “It’s Time to Show The Real Horror of Mass Shootings. In Pictures.”, The Washington Post, July 1, 2022. All three of these raise issues of the ethics of journalism and the use of visual imagery; the need for empathy and sensitivity towards the victims of violence and their survivors; the potential political value of using this imagery; the racialized history—and even the racial inequity—of such imagery.
In a clear and well-organized argument of 750-1,000 words, take your own position in this debate and defend it by drawing on these arguments. You can choose to use only one article or you can draw on all three in your essay: either approach will produce a strong essay. Nor do you have to respond to all of the issues each article raises: pick your own point of entry; find what speaks to you and develop an argument from that.
The citation for a newspaper online (Chicago) should be: Author’s last name, first name. “Title of article”. Publisher, date of publication. Accessed date. URL. For example: Williamson, Elizabeth. “From Sandy Hook to Uvalde: The Violent Images Never Seen.” The New York Times, May 30, 2022. Accessed June 25, 2022. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/30/us/politics/photos-uvalde.html?searchResultPosition=1
This can be a footnote to your first use of one of these articles in your essay or a Works Cited bibliography at the end of your essay that lists the article(s) Because there are no page numbers in online articles, you should cite carefully and accurately, and make sure that the reader understands who you are referring to. For example, As Williamson points out, “After Sandy Hook, Connecticut passed some of the most stringent gun safety measures in the nation.” It’s not necessary to repeat the footnote or to link the quote to the original article in so short an essay.
Accessing the Articles:
All students can access these articles without a personal account to the New York Times or the Washington Post. If the links included above won't work for you, please follow these instructions from the Library: Accessing NYT, WaPo, WSJ and Chronicle.
When evaluating your essay, Writing Program faculty will draw upon the following criteria:
- Engagement and reasoning: How well do you demonstrate an understanding of the argument while still establishing and supporting your own position?
- Structure and style: Does the organization help or hinder readers? Is there enough control of particular sentences to allow us to follow your reasoning?
Any questions, please contact Prof. dsherman [at] haverford.edu (Debora Sherman), Director of College Writing.