Having completed Conference of the Birds, you will write this final essay as if

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Having completed Conference of the Birds, you will write this final essay as if you are the Hoopoe who just met Simurgh. In addition to a bit of self-reflection, this essay also requires you to demonstrate a solid understanding of Conference of the Birds as well as points of connection that you find with course material.
So, role-playing as Hoopoe after his/her encounter with Simurgh–meaning you should write the essay IN FIRST PERSON, as if you are a bird:
What do you–O wise Hoopoe–think about religion?
Some questions you might consider as you brainstorm ideas:
What did the different birds learn as they traversed the 7 Valleys, and what particular insights does Hoopoe gain as a party to the entire journey?
Is Conference of the Birds about religion?
Is there a difference between spirituality and religion?
Are different religions more similar or more different?
Does the plot of Conference of the Birds speak to modern anxieties about the pursuit of truth or does it seem outdated?
Are there ideas in this course that you consider beautiful?
Are there ideas that you consider ugly?
Have your definitions or conceptualizations of religion changed throughout the course?
What does the study of Islam, in particular, teach us about the study of religion in general?
In addition to the regular evaluation criteria (below), your professor expects you to demonstrate careful engagement with Conference of the Birds throughout your essay. Like many assignments in this course, this essay invites personal and creative reflection, but not at the expense of accurately representing the text.
Evaluation Criteria
Clear thesis statement and coherent argument.
Support any arguments you make.
Demonstrate your command of the English language; proofread your work, and pay attention to detail.
Make at least 8 specific references to Conference of the Birds and 5 specific references to at least 2 ADDITIONAL sources from the course material. For this essay please cite page numbers for your references. (Footnotes or parenthetical notes are both fine.) You should also, as always, explain your references clearly and integrate them smoothly into your essay. Quotes should not occupy their own sentence. And not all references need to be quoted.
DO NOT reference material from outside the course.
Length: 1200-1500 words–no more, no less.


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