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Apr

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How To Write Any Humanities Academic Paper In 9 Steps Or Fewer

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WWJD? (What Would Judith Do?)

Ever worried your academic writing isn’t quite up to scratch? Never fear: Arts Editor Riva Weinstein is here to break down the average humanities paper and show you how to write like a true PhD!

HOW TO WRITE A LITERARY ANALYSIS

  1. To compile my title, I’ve run my chosen text through a paper shredder along with the Communist Manifesto, Freud’s Civilization and its Discontents, and any New Yorker op-ed. The result is something along the lines of “The Cultural Super-Ego in Pride and Prejudice’s Critical-Utopian Landscape and Population Dynamics, Revisited.”
  2. So I’m going to say this normal word, right? And then I’m going to say it again, but this time… get this… it’s in quotation marks. That’s how you know I’m talking about the reified epistemological concept of a canine, not a dog.
  3. Those of you who escaped immediate heart failure at seeing the page count of this paper: Good news! Half of it is a single block quote.
  4. Though I don’t mean to jump to conclusions, some of this material may be leading me in the general direction of… Marxism.
  5. I’m not really sure if I interpreted these 6 Judith Butler quotes correctly, but as it turns out, in literary analysis you can say pretty much anything you want.
  6. In conclusion: The culture! The landscape! The cultural landscape! I’m done.

 

HOW TO WRITE AN ARCHAEOLOGY PAPER

  1. So you know that [time period/historical figure/material culture/site/artifact] that everyone says is one thing, right? Well get this: it’s actually some OTHER thing.
  2. What is this other thing, you ask? Well, it’s not aliens, hahahahahahahahahahahaha. Oh boy, that would be funny. No. Nope. It’s the Postprocessual re-membering of the socially constituted dividual. It is not aliens.
  3. Anyway, here’s some bones from a cave in northern Ireland.
  4. The bones mean nothing, because they’re specific and my argument is super general.
  5. My argument also means nothing, because it’s general and reality is super specific.
  6. Here’s the entire results of my field program: 3,216 potsherds and a watch somebody left in the dig site last weekend. If the university tries to cut my funding, I’m going to start offing undergraduates one by one.
  7. Here’s 622 more made-up words, 4 Judith Butler quotes, and a subtle reminder that the past is gone and we’re all hurtling into oblivion, day by day.
  8. I’m going to go ahead and say the word aliens a few more times, because that’s the only way I can get non-archaeologists to read this paper.
  9. In conclusion, fuck V. Gordon Childe.

HOW TO WRITE AN ETHNOGRAPHY

  1. The last hundred years of ethnography? Super racist. This paper right here? WAY less racist.
  2. Here’s how I embarrassed myself in front of 300 Bedouins and wrote about it to make myself feel better.
  3. Dyadic kinship relations engender reified epistemological aestheticism… but you didn’t hear it from me.
  4. Here’s a selection from 316 interviews I conducted with locals, carefully curated to exclude the parts where they laugh at me for not having a real job.
  5. This is really all about colonialism. No, not this. This. NO, NOT THIS –
  6. Recent studies show that if you look into a mirror and chant “Modernity is an unfinished project” three times, Edward Said will appear and punch you in the face for becoming an anthropologist.
  7. In conclusion, fuck every ethnographer ever except Zora Neale Hurston.

 

HOW TO WRITE A WOMEN & GENDER STUDIES PAPER

  1. Do you know what Judith Butler would say in this situation? No? Well of course you don’t, you piece of garbage. Nobody knows what Judith Butler would say in any situation. The entire, 10,000-year project of human civilization is about trying to understand even a single goddamn sentence that Judith Butler has ever said.
  2. In conclusion, I’m really gay.

 

HOW TO WRITE AN ART HISTORY PAPER

  1. “Unrealism?” No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Try “optical antinaturalism.” Or better still, inverisimilitude.
  2. Here’s a 6 paragraph disclaimer on how “art” means something completely different depending on time period, setting, and historical context, because I assume you have a 7th grade-level understanding of cultural relativism.
  3. If anyone disagrees with me, it’s because they’re not seeing it right.
  4. There’s no way these ancient non-European cultures came up with the idea for this great art all by themselves! It must have been Greco-Roman influence. Or aliens.
  5. A topic for further inquiry: GRECO-ROMAN ALIENS?!
  6. In conclusion: The materials! The culture! The material culture! God, I just wanted to be a cartoonist.

 

HOW TO WRITE A PHILOSOPHY PAPER

  1. Instead of writing a philosophy paper, consider switching your major to Economics. Get a real job, like investment banking. Make $200,000. Invest it all in quantum field research. In another hundred years, your great-great-grandchildren will be able to go back in time and beat the shit out of Aristotle, saving us all a lot of trouble.

 

Our lord & savior via Wikimedia Commons

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