New deadline & Next week

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me on index cards, today. I will do my utmost to cover the material you have requested and to incorporate it as we move into our next shared goal: naming your generation (and writing well-researched arguments to support your choice).

Please remember that you can and should share difficult or challenging questions with me in office hours, as well, if you’re having trouble approaching them in class. I can often help direct you to readings or research that might interest you, in office hours.

While I hope to create space for you to isolate and practice the skills that go into strong writing, I hope that you can see that re-writing papers is its own kind of challenge. I will grade the next round according to this rubric.

New paper deadline: Your final draft, after another round of peer review, is due in my box in the English department (second floor of Hoover) by 10am Monday morning 10/22.

this the final deadline, don’t miss it. 

The rubric should not be surprising to you, but I know that rubrics intimidate people. Remember: generate specific language to describe your ad first (observation). Think carefully about how what you describe is working (what does it call to mind? why? what anxieties does it provoke or soothe or both for whom? — complication). Make a claim about how what you have observed and explained is targeting a specific audience.

As an editor, once you have written a draft based on a strong thesis, go back and look for the types of strengths that the rubric describes. 

I also heard that you'd like to hear about the academic conference I'm attending -- thank you for asking! I will show you a few of my slides and let you know how it went when I see you again on Tuesday. 

Soon after I return, we will schedule individual appointments for your academic advising for next semester. Start thinking of courses you might want to take in the context of the big questions we started with: What do you want to learn in order to become the person you want to be? 

Thanks for all your hard work, and see you in class.

Paper Two

As discussed in class, please bring in your revised draft of the ad analysis to class today, 10/11. I am postponing the in-class essay. 

Remember: You must be able to identify, in your own work, the three components of a strong thesis (which are on the form I gave you with examples).

  • OBSERVATION (or What?): Identify specific aspects of the ad, and find precise language to describe them.
  • COMPLICATION (or How?): How are these elements working? What associations, feelings, or anxieties do they provoke or soothe or both, in the current social context?
  • SIGNIFICANCE (or Why or So What?): Remember, saying “this will sell a product to everyone” is not an argument. Your O and C should point towards a specific audience. Who is likely to be provoked or soothed or both by the complications you described? Significance, in a thesis, is the moment in the argument where you pivot to the world outside the ad: This is how this ad is targeting its audience. 
    In a literary critical argument, your significance would answer the question, “Why does this matter in the world outside this novel?” In the ad analysis, your significance is also answering the question “Why does this ad do these things?” You will not answer that question unless you argue that the ad is targeting a specific audience (age, gender, type of views, general demographic position…).

P.S. Here is that helpful page on Ad Analysis from Writing Commons. 


  • Credible journalistic sources — Media Literacy
    • The New York Times
      These can cite peer-reviewed sources. This article about the brain, literature and empathy cites Science Magazine
    • The Washington Post
    • The Houston Chronicle
    • The Wall Street Journal
  • Not credible: No news room, no fact checking, no re-publishing, click-driven. Go over some examples — guess. 
  • Peer-reviewed sources
    • Sarah Banet-Weiser, on the market in self-esteem, document. And here.
    • Search on Scholar for new media, young people and society. What are the types of articles? How do you evaluate sources? 
    • Cyber-bullying article.
    • Nicholas Carr, What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. This book is on campus:

Attendance & discussion

Dear class, 

I would like to reiterate my attendance policy: I give you 2 “free” absences over the course of the semester. You must participate in class, with a paper copy of the book on your desk, in such a way that demonstrates evidence of having done the reading and engaged with it thoughtfully. This is a mandatory aspect of the class, for the entire semester. If lots people begin to miss class or show evidence of not having done the reading, I will begin to add assignments to the class, including but not limited to pop quizzes. Thank you for your hard work. See you in class.