With only a few weeks to go until the colloquium, our class received feedback from the first drafts last week. It was nice to have other sets of eyes examine my paper and judge its strengths and weaknesses. Some of the areas in which it needed improvement are thus, as well as what I have done or will do to make changes:
Historiography: I realized my historiography is far too general. It highlights the development of the literature on capital punishment, as opposed to my specific focus on Prejean’s role in advancing human dignity within the context of capital punishment. The revised version is significantly shorter because I tailored it to a more specific subject, but it better alludes to how my paper can further the thinking on Prejean’s ministry.
Organization: My initial draft first examined the general history of abolitionism and then looked at the specific arguments and developments of the debate during Prejean’s first two decades. It made for a confusing setup. I combined the first section with the rest of the paper, and it is better. But a persisting problem is placing my paper in historical context. Because I am focusing on recent history, the past and the present are blurred. Fixing this will be an important goal of mine.
Citations: I turned in a very messy listing of endnotes. My new draft converted my citations into footnotes and included more specific information, specifically page number. I will need to tweak some things but I will be waiting until the content itself is in final form before I return to citations.
There were obviously other issues as well but these were the most glaring. I have already made important changes but in dealing with remaining challenges I plan on dealing with them one at a time. Through the process I hope my thesis naturally becomes refined and carries greater weight.