Assignment 11: Due Thursday, 10/18

Part 1: In an email to me, propose your topic for Major Assignment 2 in a 300 word paragraph. HEADS UP: This will be 10% of your grade for this assignment and will count as your “zero draft.” In your paragraph, I want you to explain why you’ve chosen this topic for a personal writing experiment investigating literacy.  In another paragraph of the same length, respond to the reading handout on “The Maker’s Eye.” Tell me what from the article inspired you. What skills do you want to work on in your re-writings of this assignment? Reminder: EMAIL THESE TWO PARAGRAPHS TO ME.

Part 2: In a response to this blog post, respond to the second reading for today, “The Meanings of a Word,” in 200-300 words. Choose a word and analyze its meanings. How does this word change according to its social contexts? What is painful about it, mysterious, or slippery? In other words, how does it slip from one meaning to the next depending on the conditions in which it is used and who is using it? How does its word-power slip from our attempts to control this word?

Assignment 10: Due 10/16 9:55am

Read and annotate the poem “Dinosaurs in the Hood” by Danez Smith and the excerpt from the book-length poem “Citizen” by Claudia Rankine (both are in your email). Select a section from either reading to analyze in relation to gentrification. How are these writers making an intervention onto what Sarah Schulman calls “gentrification of the mind”? (We can loosely define this as the way gentrification homogenizes and flattens a community even in its ability to imagine difference, diversity, and new ideas.)

In your response to this post, write a 300-word analysis on how either of these writers tries to combat a “gentrification of the mind”. This is a rhetorical analysis (so be sure to mention audience, intention, and genre) but also a textual analysis, so be sure to reference details from the text you select.

Assignment 8: due Tuesday, 10/11, 9:55am

Part I: After reading Michael Greenberg’s “Tenants Under Seige” article, Anzaldua’s “How to Tame a Wild Tongue,” and Belmihoub and Corcoran’s short essay “Translingualism,” write a 250-word blog post that considers literacy in relation to the Housing Crisis. What messages in the latter two essays (Anzaldua, Belmihoub, Corcoran) do you think would be helpful to the problems outlined in the first (Greenberg)? In other words, how does literacy–the knowledge of and ability to use a particular kind of language–pertain to this crisis? You may decide to write on how problems of literacy perpetuate the crisis or, on the other hand, how a focus on literacy might lead to solutions.

Part II: Find an article published in the last week that relates to gentrification and bring it to class.

Assignment 8: Due 10/9 9:55am

The next crisis that we will investigate is gentrification, particularly what has been called “The New York City Housing Crisis.” While we are somewhat leaving HIV/AIDS behind, the readings for this week will cover the overlap between the “aftermath” of AIDS and the development of gentrified neighborhoods.

I’ve emailed you the reading, which is 35 pages. In your response to this post, write about any one detail in Sarah Schulman’s discussion of gentrification that captured your imagination and explain why.

Whether on devices or printed, bring this reading to class on Tuesday, as we will be doing in-class activities with it.

Final Draft: Due Sunday, at midnight

Hi all,

Your final draft is due midnight on Sunday. Email it to me as a PDF attachment. Here are key requirements:

  • It must include a cover letter! This cover letter should be completely different than your last one but could comment on areas of improvement that were mentioned. You should reflect on your revision process.
  • Size 12 font, double spaced, 1″ margins, page numbers, a title and appropriate MLA format with your name, my name, the class, and the date
  •  PROOFREAD. Press the Spellcheck button but also read your paper, aloud to yourself ideally, to make sure sentences and punctuation are solid. Tutors at the Writing Center can also be of great help in this regard.
  • MLA style citations (see syllabus for style guides or search on Google), and remember that if you’re in doubt you should just cite

Remember to email me with any questions that come up. I can’t read whole drafts but I can respond to questions about specific comments that I made on your papers. Looking forward to reading them!

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