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November Seventeenth

Page history last edited by Sue Muecke 10 years ago

How to Achieve Your Cultural Analysis





Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, Have you Reached a Verdict?


Debate #1: English 1020 Should/Should Not Have an Attendance Policy

And the winner is...neither - for the first time ever, we have a TIE!!!


Why Team A Should Have Won

  • "Their opening statements and main arguments were well thought out and explained in a way that made it challenging for the other team to go against them."
  • "The affirmative side had brought up the point of the student's choice of scheduling online classes rather than having to attend class/lecture.  Another point the affirmative side addressed was the responsibility to attend, and give personal insight and participation during class discussion."


Why Team B Should Have Won

  • "The negative side made the argument that there is no relation between someone's grade earned and attendance.  Also that a majority of college students have other responsibilities outside of  
    their classes, that sometimes may take higher priority over attending every class."
  • "Brad made some good points...like if we pay our money to the school we should come to school when we feel like it."



Debate #2: English 1020 Should/Should Not Be a Required Class for Graduation

And the winner is...the Affirmative (English 1020 should be required)!!!

  • "Fahad and Alex were the two who did the most talking, so I feel they did the best work on their team.  They articulated their stance (and their defense of their stance) very effectively and managed to convince myself – and many others – to side with them."
  • "Another thing, team A did was they brought up every point the other team made and questioned it, as well as defended themselves."
  • "Team A brought up that some universities were contemplating making English 1020 a free course for all students because it is, in-fact, that vital. That piece of evidence alone could be a deciding factor as to why English 1020 should be a required class, and also shows that Team A can back up their argument with hard evidence."


The Opposing Opinion  -or-  Why Team B Should Have Won

  • Their main argument was that this class is very similar to certain AP classes offered in high school, and that some students are at a higher level than other students, and that skipping the basic composition class would save those specific students money and time.
  • They proposed a number of possible alternatives to the current English 1020 situation including lowering the passing grade to "D" and eliminating either English 1010 or English 1020 (on the grounds that students don't need two introductory writing classes).



Project Foer: How Soccer Explains the Cultural Analysis


Foer: "How Soccer Explains Islam's Hope"

  • Claims


  • Thesis:


Remember the elements that should be included in this thesis:

P = the phenomenon you are studying

X, Y, and Z = your observations or assessments of the phenomenon

the blank space ( __________ ) = your overall argument about American (or in this case Iranian) culture


Another soccer case study: the humble vuvuzela


More sports-centered cultural analysis examples



Phinding a Phantastic Phenomenon  -or-  What Can I Write About For Project Four?


Possible Phenomenon Categories

  • TV shows (e.g. LostAmerican Idol)
  • Movies (e.g. The Twilight Saga, Brokeback Mountain)
  • Video games (e.g. Grand Theft Auto)
  • Sports (e.g. the World Cup, baseball)
  • Politics (e.g. the election of Barack Obama)
  • People (e.g. Hilary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey)
  • Places (e.g. Detroit)
  • Events (e.g. Woodstock, 9/11)
  • Behaviors (e.g. social networking)
  • Technologies (e.g. the internet)



1.  Choose 3 categories from the list above.


2.  For each category, brainstorm one possible phenomenon for this project.  You cannot select any of the phenomena listed above as examples.


3.  Consider what argument you could make about American culture based on each of the three phenomena you brainstormed.  Then write a thesis statement for each phenomenon expressing that argument.


4.  Choose one of your thesis statements and develop it further:

  • How would you support your claims?  Be specific!

  • What kinds of sources would you need?  What would you use these sources for?  Where might you find these sources?  Be specific!



Assignment for Friday:

  • Read excerpts from Steven Johnson's Everything Bad is Good For You.  The excerpt packet can be found on our course Blackboard site under Content / Readings / Friday, November 19th.


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