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To: Betsy Birmingham From: Stephanie Schulz Subject: Progress Report Date: 16 December 2012

The purpose of this memo is to report on my progress on my Capstone project. Since this report is late, and my project is now complete, it will discuss the problems I encountered, the ways I solved those problems, and a timeline of the work I completed and barriers I encountered.

The Project
As explained in my proposal, the project is a cultural critical analysis of the Mumford and Sons album Sigh No More. The main purpose of the project is to determine why Sigh No More might have been compelling to listeners in the United States in 2011. In order to achieve this, I used Marxist critical theory to draw connections between the text and the socioeconomic conditions of the time, identify what those conditions reveal about class struggle, and interpret the text as a critique of capitalism and classism.

Problems Encountered and Solutions

The first problem I encountered involved identifying socioeconomic conditions. In my proposal, my primary research question was to determine why listeners in a specific time and place found the album compelling. I hadnt yet realized that using the four years since the albums release as the specific time and the whole world as the place would be far too vague. To fix this problem, I decided to only look at issues in the United States, as I already had a working knowledge of American issues. I also chose to only look at the year 2011, since the band gained popularity in the United States that year, and the issues of 2011 were obviously reflected in the lyrics, even at first glance. In the end, I decided to focus on the socioeconomic issues addressed in the Occupy movement. The second problem I encountered was difficulty finding reliable resources. The Occupy movement had no real leaders, and most of the information I found was heavily biased. In the end, I solved this problem in two ways. First, I looked at many different websites created by several groups of varying opinions. Doing so allowed me to identify the common issues addressed by protesters and to judge the truthfulness of their claims. Second, I decided that the validity of the protesters opinions wasnt very important. I needed evidence of the existence of the socioeconomic issues, but in order to figure out why people found Sigh No More compelling, I needed to look at what the general public believed to be important and true, rather than worrying over statistical accuracy.

As I moved on from my proposal to actually getting started on organizing my paper, my project started to take a different shape than I was expecting. I realized that I would not be analyzing each song individually, as I had previously planned. As such, instead of just starting my paper with an analysis of one or two songs (a step outlined in my proposal), I worked on narrowing down my project and gathering information on the socioeconomic events of 2011. Instead of completing an analysis of two songs by November 21, I rethought the structure of my paper, then completed an analysis of one of the songs to share in my presentation, which was completed on time. I also did not meet the deadline for my annotated bibliography. A rough draft of the document helped to organize my resources before I composed my paper, but the final draft wasnt completed until after. After my presentation on November 29, Dr. Taggart and I agreed to push the due date of my paper back to December 13. That deadline was met.

Evaluation of Progress
While I met the two major deadlines (the presentation and the final paper), the rest of the timeline from my proposal was shuffled around a lot. Some of the missed deadlines had to do with problems caused by the reshaping of my project. Many of the components of my project were completed out of order. The quality of my final paper probably suffered a bit because of this, but I made do with what I had at the time.