SOURCE: David Trend, Elsewhere in America
LENGTH: 400-600 words
DUE: Tuesday, March 3 11:59 pm)
SUBMISSION: Online
WEIGHT: 10% of course grade
Pick one of the prompts below and write a formal academic essay in response. (Formal writing
means structure [intro→ body paragraphs→ conclusion], development of argument [thesis,
claims supported by evidence, logical argument], formal English, and footnotes1 for citation.)
Also, double-space and use proper margins. You will submit this assignment through Moodle
(click on the essay assignment).
1. Trend argues that the United States is an “unfinished project.” 2 How does he mean this
claim with respect to the United States having an aspirational culture? How does he
understand it to include the potential for outsiders to belong to American culture?
2. Trend argues that culture helps frame boundaries for including or excluding certain
subjectivities. With respect to at least two distinct groups, how does Trend suggest these
groups struggled to change their status from “not belonging” to “belonging”?
3. Trend wonders what might happen if the notion of “identity” was treated as nothing more
than “fiction.”3 Discuss the ways in which at least one identity you claim has become
important to your sense of belonging (or lack thereof) in some aspect of your life. In
what ways is that identity a basis for you activism/engagement with the world. How is it
more than a fiction?
4. Arguments about religion and morality lie at the heart of much conflict in contemporary
society. Describe three issues profiled by Trend that have matters of faith at the core of
the conflict.
1
2
Footnotes should follow either the Turabian or (the nearly indistinguishable) Chicago style. For a convenient guide
to footnote citation systems, please consult either of these websites. They present the same information but
package it different ways so rely on the one you find easier to comprehend. Alternatively, look at how Trend
organizes his citations and copy what he did. A simple example (citing a book by a single author) is fn. 7 (p. 28).
https://www.library.georgetown.edu/tutorials/research-guides/turabian-footnote-guide (Links to an external
site.) OR http://www.press.uchicago.edu/books/turabian/turabian_citationguide.html
David Trend, Elsewhere in America: The Crisis of Belonging in Contemporary American Culture (Routledge,
2016), 99. [This is how a first citation of a book with one author should look.].
3
Trend, 123. Trend follows up that speculation by sourly observing that such thinking amounts to “utopian
silliness.” This passage from Chapter 6 thus seeds his discussion of this country’s utopian aspirationalism in
Chapter 12. [This footnote models how a second citation of a previously cited source should look. The next two
sentences demonstrate the footnote’s other function, as a place to expand upon an idea raised in the main text.]

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