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Critical Reading and Book Review Assignment for City Studies Students

Objectives of the Assignment

Critical Reading and Book Review

The objective of this assignment is to enhance reading and note-taking skills and introduce students to critical debates in City Studies. Over the course of the term, you have been required to write three (3) consecutive reading journals on one of the books listed on the syllabus. Building on your reading journal entries, this final component of Assignment I will allow you to evaluate the book in its entirety. Your three journal entries should help you write the final reflection.

Deadline: November 15, 2021, end of the day, via QUERCUS.

Format: Approximately 1200 words, 12-point font (Arial or Times New Roman are the most common font styles), double-spaced, numbered pages, standard margins, no cover page necessary (put your name and student number on the top of the first page). Please provide a word count.

Provide full publication data for the book at the top (You can use any citation style you like). Once you’ve provided this information at the top, you don’t need a reference list at the end of your review (unless you cite other sources, which is not required).

Recommended structure of the final reflection (please do not use these as actual subheadings; carefully divide your text by separating it into distinct paragraphs: some sections might have multiple paragraphs). You don’t need subheadings.

(1) Introduction (approx. 1/2 page, aim for 1 paragraph)
(2) Summary (approx. 1/2 to 1 page, aim for 1-2 paragraphs)
(3) Critical discussion (approx. 1½ -2 pages, aim for 3 paragraphs)
(4) Conclusion (approx. 1/2 page, aim for 1 paragraph)

Make sure that these sections are clear to you as the writer of the reflection and equally clear to the reader. Try to keep the summary and the critical discussion as separate parts of
the paper.

1. Use the introduction to situate the book in the context in which it is written, identify the author’s main thesis or approach, and preview your own critical response. Prepare the reader for the review. Be short and concise.

2. Limit the space you use for a summary of the book to no more than one page. Try to focus on the main points of the book. You won’t be able to summarize everything in such a limited space. Try to synthesize the content as good as possible. Have a good look at the table of contents; the chapter titles / parts of the book should help you recall the main points the author makes. We look for a summary that is concise and clearly written.

3. The critical discussion evaluates the book under review and is an important part of your final reflection. When evaluating the book, consider how the author seeks to advance our understanding of the issues raised. Try to identify the questions, controversies or problems the author seeks to address. Do you find the argument convincing? Is the evidence provided convincing? Do you find the author’s methodology convincing? Can you think of alternative interpretations? Support your own arguments with evidence from the text.

Write a short and concise conclusion. Try to briefly state what the main merit of the book is. What are its strengths or possible shortcomings? When writing the conclusion, think about
whether you would you recommend this book; and if yes, to whom?

Please avoid lengthy quotations from the book; try to use your own words. A handout from the UTSC Writing Centre on writing critical reviews has been posted in the Content section on QUERCUS. It provides additional useful information.

As always, do not hesitate to consult the instructor or teaching assistants should you require further assistance.

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