This is a directed research course, intended to prepare you for the kind of work you will be expected to do at the graduate level. Each of you will select a topic or issue that you care (deeply) about and want to spend considerable time and thought pursuing. You will learn how to write an extended research paper, or thesis, concerning this topic/issue, by working through various stages in the development of a thesis. This begins with topic selection and ends with a polished draft of the first chapter of a thesis. Your work this semester will be structured by the assignments on this syllabus, and we will meet as a class regularly until towards the end of the semester, when individual conferences will be set up to discuss your work. Next semester you will work mostly on your own, in regular consultation with me. Since this is an intensive project, you are advised not to overload your schedule with other courses and to work at the steady, measured pace that the syllabus facilitates.