Rough Draft: Due Tuesday, 10/2, 9:55am

Your drafts should be double-spaced, in size 12 font, with 1 inch margins.

In the header of the first page and in MLA format please include your name, our course number, my name, the date, and then a title for your essay.

Finish your draft with enough time to print and staple 4 copies. Bring those copies to class on Tuesday. This may mean finishing your draft on Monday, even if it is technically due on Tuesday morning.

Email your draft to me as an attachment.

Assignment 7, due Thursday, 9/27, 9:55am

Hi everyone,

In the rush at the end of class, I did not hand out the reading packet. So I’ve emailed you all a PDF attachment of the packet. In your comments to this post, I’d like you to write 250 word response to the following questions: Have you ever done peer review of papers before? If so, please tell me about it. Also, what do you hope to learn through our peer review process?


Assignment 6: Due 9:55am Tuesday 9/25

This homework has two parts. The first is a written response to the readings and the second is your first step of Major Project 1.

  1. The readings for Tuesday shift our focus from observation/analysis to the writing process. Read “Shitty First Drafts,” “Freewriting,” and the Introduction in the pack I gave you. Then, in your comment on this post, tell us which part of the reading resonated with you most and why. In your 250-word response, please include some reflection on how this part of the reading made you want to reconsider your own writing process.
  2. For Major Project 1, consider your options for a paper topic and make a decision. Here is a PDF of the paper assignment: Major Project 1. I strongly encourage you to explore the list of options that I emailed to you (and which I’m linking as a PDF download here: Major Assignment 1 List). If you want to write about a public space or museum exhibit, visit that site this weekend and take notes. If you want to write about a film that we didn’t watch in class, watch it and take notes. Whatever you choose, take plenty of notes on your observations of its rhetorical effects and your interpretations of its purpose, audience, and rhetorical effectiveness, especially regarding the ways your objects characterize the crisis. In an email to me, submit the following:  (a) the name of the rhetorical object that you’ve selected, (b) a 200-word description of the artifact much like the descriptions you’ve been practicing in class with me, and (c) your notes on potential interpretations of the object’s rhetorics of crisis. Please include this in the body of the email. No attachments.

Assignment 5: due Thursday 9/20 (before class but by midnight if necessary)

Hi everyone, it has come to my attention that my blog post last week did not post due to a glitch. Additionally, the interviews I wanted you to write about are not accessible unless you have QuickTime, which is no longer downloadable with certain operating systems, like Mac. These are my reasons for changing the assignment! I’m keeping the “before class” deadline. Make this deadline. However, if you’re honoring Yom Kippur today, you have until midnight on Thursday to complete the assignment.

Assignment 5: Using your notes on the film, your memory, and notes from class discussion, write a 250-word response to How to Survive a Plague as a whole. What does it try to persuade you of? How does it do that? While your commentary is about the broader film as a rhetorical object, you must refer to specific details in the film in your response.

Remember, “Rhetoric” defines the “means of persuasion”—the ways that a form of media tries to convince you of something. Rhetoric might not always be obvious. There are many effects that How to Survive a Plague has on its viewers. Some of them are more obvious than others. I encourage you to think deeply about this and try to show your peers something unique and new about the film.

Assignment 4: Due 9/13 at 9:55am

ACT UP brought together people from all races, genders, sexualities, classes, and professional backgrounds. They were united in a common purpose: to force people in power who were ignoring HIV/AIDS (and the deaths of hundreds of thousands) to acknowledge the epidemic and, most importantly, to use their power to help save lives. Graphic designers, visual artists, and writers played a major role in ACT UP.  They envisioned and shaped the visual identity of AIDS activism, or the “brand” of the movement, if we want to use that word. Below I have pasted images that were designed for ACT UP campaigns. This week I am asking you to analyze the visual rhetorics of one these major images, and I will comment on your writing. This assignment will still count as part of your weekly assignment grade. However, now I know you better as writers. : )  I want to seize the opportunity of this little bit of knowledge that I have gained so far to comment on your efforts in the weekly writing assignments.

Your assignment is the following:

  1. Look at all of the images and choose the one you want to write about. (In order to look at them more closely I recommend dragging an image to your desk top and then opening it to enlarge it).
  2. In a 250-word paragraph, analyze the visual rhetorics of your chosen image. Remember to DESCRIBE then INTERPRET, drawing clear connections between your descriptions and interpretations. You may choose to refer to anything you learned from the first half of the documentary How to Survive a Plague, which we viewed on Thursday. Ultimately, I want you to use your rhetorical analysis (your description, your connection-making, and your theorizing) in order to advance an argument about the intended effect of your chosen image. What did the creator want people to feel, do, or avoid? How is the image working upon people’s visual and verbal perceptions in order to persuade them accordingly?
  3. Revise. I will print and comment on these writings, so invest as much time and effort as you can in editing. That said, I will not grade them a letter grade. Your substantial completion of the task will  be logged into the weekly assignments and will weigh evenly with the others.
  4. Last, I realize that we have not discussed basic information about HIV/AIDS transmission and other health-oriented facts that are essential to your understanding of this unit. If you want clear info, I encourage you to read the following:–the-basics

Assignment 3: due 9/6 at 9:55am

Lakoff and Johnson discuss how metaphor creeps into our daily speech in ways that we often do not recognize. One example they offer is the abundance of metaphorical language associating aspects of time with aspects of money. Their essay uses this example to demonstrate how common metaphors in our speech patterns reveal common concepts in our thinking (i.e., “that time is a limited resource” or “time is a valuable commodity”). Interestingly, another metaphor often associated with money is water. Assets often have “liquidity.” Bank accounts are sometimes “frozen.”

After you read the article, think about common phrases that contain hidden metaphors. Choose two and write ~100 words on each metaphorical phrase. Your goal is to theorize–to make a guess or a hypothesis–about the larger associative concepts behind these ordinary metaphors that people use without realizing it. Lakoff and Johnson’s essay provides an excellent model for how to do this.

In your response, you should try to include (1) your own description of the metaphor, (2) a discussion of the contexts in which it is used, such as where you have heard it before, (3) a brainstormed interpretation regarding the many possible associations of ideas that this metaphor links (i.e., that time and money are both valuable in some way, or that water and digitized money seem to “flow” in different directions), and (4) a clear statement of your theory about the hidden concept that this metaphor reveals.

***Note***  Since some of you speak languages other than English, I would encourage you to analyze one (or even two) non-English expression(s). If you go this route, make sure that you translate the expression into English in your post so that non-speakers of the language can follow.