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Essay Portfolio

Topic:
Debates around transnational feminism have emphasised the tension between universalism
and cultural specificity. Write an essay that uses a Southeast Asian example (or examples) to
explore the relative merits of the different positions in these debates.
For this topic your essay portfolio will include a critical reading log of:
Mackie, V. 2001. The Language of Globalization, Transnationality and Feminism. International
Feminist Journal of Politics  3 (2):180-206.

The essay portfolio is designed to help you write the best-argued, most polished essay you can. It
consists of three components:

1. critical reading log of the designated journal article (two pages, 12 pt single-spaced)
2. a preliminary bibliography (at least 4 relevant, academically credible sources, each with a
50-100 word annotation about its argument)
3. a 300-400 word draft introduction (which consists of some background information, an
outline of the main points covered in the essay and a statement of your argument)
In order to prepare a good portfolio you should do the research and reading, synthesise your findings,
and PLAN your essay. Do not write a draft of your essay before you submit your essay portfolio as
you may receive feedback that refocuses your approach. Some advice when preparing your essay
portfolio:
1. Collect the resources you think you need for the essay and read them.
2. Create an annotated bibliography of those resources.
3. Decide what your thesis (argument) is and how you are going to structure the essay to
convince the reader of that argument.
4. Make sure you have enough evidence to support your thesis.
5. Write your draft introduction (needs background, outline and thesis statement).
6. Put your draft introduction aside for a day or two and reread it to:
a. Make sure it makes sense and is written in good academic English;
b. Make sure it answers ALL aspects of the question.

Reading Log
Adjust the size of sections as required, but do not exceed two pages. The last section is the most
important (instructions follow).

Bibliographical
details:

Academic
credibility:

Summary of
overall
argument:

Type and
quality of
empirical
evidence given
in support of
the argument:

How  convincing is
this argument?
(give evidence
for your
response):

Notes on Critical reading logs:
Critical reading logs are a way of reading an article or book chapter for argument and key points
rather than trying to note and remember all of the content. Reading logs can vary from a single page
for an article/book chapter l to a few pages for a key text.
Steps in Producing a Reading Log
1. Note the reference’s full bibliographical details.
2. Look at the bibliography, checking the academic credibility of the references the author has
used. Take particular note of whether they’ve used peer-refereed sources (e.g. journal articles
and books published by academic publishers). Scan the article and note also how much
original work has been done. Write a short sentence assessing the academic credibility of the
article based on this information.
3. Read the abstract, the introduction and the conclusion. Then put the reading aside and write a
summary using your own words  of the author’s argument in 3-4 sentences. Do not quote
or paraphrase.
4. Skim each section, mentally noting its main point. How relevant is each section and how does
each section relate to author’s overall argument?
5. Pay careful attention to the empirical evidence presented by the author (if any). How useful
and relevant is it and to what extent does it support the author’s argument?
6. Based on this more thorough reading, revise your summary of the author’s argument, making
any changes necessary. Then add your critical comments.
7. Before you submit, check over your work, focusing on the following:
o  Have you identified the main point  of the article? You need to demonstrate that you
understand the argument, which is more than identifying some of the facts covered.
o  Do your critical comments engage with the empirical  and theoretical  elements of the
argument? Again, make sure that you are not just commenting on some of the facts.

NOTE: Critical reading logs are a very individual, particularly as you are required to put the
reading aside and write a summary of main points rather than copying out quotes or key
passages, or paraphrasing. The only things two reading logs on the same source should have
in common are the bibliographical reference.

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