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Month: September, 2012

Natasha Trethewey & Place

Diane mentioned Natasha Trethewey’s interview in Garden & Gun magazine, and because it dwells so heavily on place/geography as formative, I thought that I’d shat it with you here. More about Natasha Trethewey can be found here as well.


Monday & Groups

On Friday, I wrote down your groups. For those of you who were not present, we can try to negotiate a plan, but it is likely that you will be placed with the smallest group. The current groups are as follows:

1. Kyle, Renaldo, Jerome, Elliot, Emily

2. Diane, Mason, Reilly, Kiersten

3. Logan, Jonathan, Kenny, Hunter, Allen, Bobby

4. Danielle, Hanna, Vernita

5. Dominic, Matt, Siedah, Lauren, Leon

—not decided: Holly & Garrett

On Monday, we will be discussing your posts about your project ideas/means to implement them/mapping ideas in addition to forming group contracts. These contracts will be written together turned in to me on Wednesday – they will include an outline of what your goals are, what your standards are for each other, and how you will address group member issues. We will talk about research methodologies as well as narrowing down your topics and producing a series of questions to pursue for your initial forays into your investigation. The reading in CDA should help inform your best practices with research, which you will be doing in class on Wednesday.


Weekend Homework

Read CDA (144-163), make a list of project ideas/places/mediums of expression for your digital documentary. Post this list to your blog. Post a map or a geography (non-traditional) to your blog that resonates with you and explain why you’ve chosen it and why it is different or innovative (due by 11am on Monday).  Look over the first 23 pages of the special edition Pocket Style Manual (the custom UK edition) and be prepared to share what resources you will be using that are mentioned in this edition. If, for some reason, you do not have this book, you need to find a classmate or a friend who does.

As I discussed earlier this week, your upcoming big assignments will fall in this order:

• Proposal for Digital Documentaries (15%)

– Collaboratively written document
– Semi‐formal group speech

• Descriptive Web Text (15%)

– 900 word formal descriptive writing assignment of a place
relevant to overall group theme (each member writes about a
different place based on goals of the larger project)

• Digital Documentary (25%)

– Two parts: 15% finished documentary, 10% group ‘tour’ in
which the group will present the project to the class

Maps to Love

London By Hand

Cartographies of Time

Mapping Patterns of Complexity

Visual Complexity

Christian Nold (map-making artist)

Economic Citizenship: Homework (due Friday)

Now that you’ve read the Evan Osnos piece and Paula Mathieu’s article, you have been thinking more about what it is to be part of a globally-resonant consumer base, especially as a consumer within the United States. I am now asking you to do a 300-word blog post (due Friday at 11am) about your changing notions of our initial definitions (space, place, identity) within this course. Also think about the definitions of place and space that we discussed in class on Wednesday – perhaps these are part of your new conversation (perhaps not).

Some beginning questions (you can go beyond these, but this is just to get you started, not a script to follow): How do these articles make you reconsider your definitions of space, place, identity and citizenship? In what ways are personal decisions political or global? In what ways do consumers perform acts of what Mathieu calls ‘scotosis’? What role does the internet and do international corporations play in forming and reforming our sense of place? How do narratives frame people as consumers? Who produces those narratives of need, desire, and identity? As an individual, do you control them? What do consumer decisions say about us as individuals? Are we part of a connected society or a fragmented one?  What is it to be a citizen of a country? Or a global citizen or an economic citizen?

As with your responses to the Evan Osnos piece, I expect high-quality and organized writing. Spellcheck and proofread your work – and make sure that you are not just writing a series of jumbled thoughts – I want a comprehensive series of realizations/line of discussion that shows me what you are thinking about and how those thoughts are/have been evolving.

Evan Osnos & Andrea Gibson

Because some of you liked Osnos’ writing, here is a link to Evan Osnos’ blog via the New Yorker magazine.

Also, here is a link to Andrea Gibson’s webpage – the poet whose video I showed yesterday – and here is a link to that actual video.

Schedule Update

Because I cannot print out the rest of your syllabus (no budget), I will be doing all of the updates on the ‘course outline’ section of the blog. Just so you have it here in front of you this is what I have changed for this week. I will elaborate upon the homework/reading you’ll be doing Wednesday night (that will be due on Friday):

W, September 26th

IN CLASS: Discuss Semester Project and Goals; Invention for Digital Documentary

HMWK: Read Mathieu, Paula “Economic Citizenship and the Rhetoric of Gourmet Coffee”


F, September 28th

IN CLASS: Read & Discuss Eblen’s article “Short Street Long on History”

View Short Street Map; Discuss assigned readings

HMWK: CDA (144-163), bring some project ideas for discussion

Week Seven

M, October 1st

Due: Pick Groups; Drafts of Group Contracts to Hannah; Give examples of digital documentaries

IN CLASS: Discuss CDA (144-163); Discuss Project Ideas from Homework; Introduction to Research

HMWK: Draw up group contracts, solidify research goals


Reflection One: In a New Tab

Now that we’ve finished out speeches, it is time to reflect about your experiences as speech writers and audience members. This is our first formal reflection (aka Reflection One) – these reflections will be an important part of your course grade, so I advise you to take them seriously because I will be grading them as formal writing assignments. Therefore, I suggest that you outline your answers in a way that is structured and organized – not just a random slew of thoughts that bounce off of each other. Begin with an introductory paragraph, answer the questions in the body, and then write a conclusion paragraph. Do a thorough job with this, please. That is, don’t just answer the questions in a rote manner – put them into a form that an external audience member who didn’t have the questions in front of them could understand and even enjoy. Be specific and thoughtful.

Here are the questions I’d like you to explore (not necessarily in this order – put it in coherent form) – and you can elaborate upon other points that you’d like to touch upon, too, that are not necessarily addressed by the questions I’ve posed:

What did you expect to feel in front of the audience when you began your speech-writing process? What did actually you feel? What were you surprised about? What did you feel as though took the most mental preparation? What did you feel came easily to you? What did you find most difficult? How did this project challenge you academically or personally? What do you think was the utility of this project for you – professionally and/or in the context of this class? How did it feel to watch your classmates perform – what did it make you think about your own speech? What surprised you about their stories? Did they spark any ideas and/or memories for you? What would you do differently? Did you feel prepared? Why or why not? What could you have done on your own time or what would you have liked to do in class to be more prepared? Did you like giving your speech? What did you like or not like? What goals can you make in order to improve on the aspects of this project that were difficult for you? What positive aspects of yourself do you feel were reflected in the culmination of this project? What did this process help you discover about yourself? Did you actually push yourself when you did this speech? In what ways?

This is only a beginning – feel free to write more along these same reflective lines.

You must write at least 500 words. If you do not write at least 500 words, you do not get credit.

****************DUE BY 10PM ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27TH****************

Weekend Homework

This weekend,  read the Evan Osnos article “Your Cheap Sweater’s Real Cost” – in the wrd reader – and respond (in a well-constructed and not-just-wandering-thoughts way) to the article, propelling your discussion by the series of questions I’ve posed on blackboard (listed below). Post your responses on blackboard in the Discussion Board section.

It is due by 11am on Monday.

If you do not turn it in by 11am then you get a zero.

The prompt is as follows:

Here are some example questions to ponder: What does this article tell us about space and place and economies? What surprised you about the article? How does Osnos effectively construct his argument? What is the argument? What kind of research does he perform? What are other examples of interconnected economies? What does this article say about governments, consumers, and the risks taken in the name of a global marketplace? How does this article alter our ideas about the contained nature of place? How do our individual actions reverberate internationally?

Write at least 300 words. If you don’t write 300 words then you don’t get credit for the assignment.

Also, If you have not done the ABOUT page on your blog do it. Your blog needs to be visually pleasing and it needs to have an ABOUT page.

Speech Days

Monday: Holly, Garrett, Matt, Diane, Allen, Kenny, Danielle, Lauren, Bobby,

Wednesday: Vernita, Kiersten, Logan, Reilly, Elliot, Kyle, Jerome, Renaldo

Friday: Jonathan, Hunter, Mason, Emily, Hanna, Siedah, Dominic, Leon