Issue Paper–Due April 4

Get started on this project right away.

Your job:

You need to have six to eight sources for this paper. They should be a mix of expert sources, peer review articles, journalistic essays (but be selective here—get substantial think pieces). You may also use US government documents as well as Corporation documents. If you can find documentary films related to your issue, you can include those as well.

Method & Organization

As you will see below, you have three jobs. I can see your paper starting with any one of them, with the exploitation, with the discussion of the corporations, or even with the dream-solution (“Imagine a world where. . . .”), and then coming back to that world in the end.

Think strategically about how you are going to organize your piece. It needs to have an intellectual AND emotional impact on your reader. In the end, you want your reader to believe your new world can be done with enough support. (The Zapatista slogan: “A new world is possible”).

I would suggest that you compartmentalize your work so that it is easy to accomplish for yourself. Each section—money, exploitation, and solution—should be broken down into subtopics. Make sure you do this. Make sure that each paragraph you write is about one specific subtopic that goes into that larger section.

I suggest using subheadings and separating each section from the others. This will help you organize.

Write the introduction last. Use the introduction to hook and entice your reader to read on.

Follow the money.  Around half of the the sources should discuss the financial side of the issue. Your job should reveal who is making money from the status quo and other related questions. How big is the industry? Who are the major players, what stakes do they have invested in the industry? How powerful are they? Who else is implicated that is not immediately apparent? If you take drug trafficking, for instance, you might discover that that various governments are implicated and benefit from the drug trade. Do these corporations or cartels have lobbyists? How is the government influenced by those who have power?  Or, alternatively, does the government contract out work to private industries? Commonly known as “outsourcing,” how are specific groups and the common good spoiled by these contracts? Private for-profit government contractors are in every industry, from private prisons to NSA contractors to the defense industry to health insurance to petroleum to chemicals to telecommunications to just about everything. In fact, read this article, which discusses how private contracts in LA lead to systematic child abuse.

  • Private prisons
  • The NSA contractors concerning the issue of privacy (think Snowden who was working with Booz-Allen)
  • Defense spending on private military contractors and makers of weapons, planes, vehicles, etc. (the numbers of overall defense spending compared to the overall budget is staggering.)
  • Health insurance
  • For more, see this list.

Follow the exploitation: The second part should document who is suffering from this social justice issue. Let me borrow a quote from a former student, Michael, that he had in his paper. He is drawn, as are you, to the “systematic exclusion of certain groups of people from the global economy.” Perhaps your project does not concern itself with the “global economy,” but, as we’ve learned, the global economy is behind much of the social ills that persist today. Your paper needs to go into detail and provides ample examples of people who are suffering. Tell us their stories, let us see how the economy manifests itself through exploitation of groups. Document your stories with research and citations.

Solution: I want you to address the issue of what can be done to change things. Now, here, you’re going to have to speculate, and I want you to think creatively, get out of the way things are done and imagine alternatives. Don’t bother thinking about typical avenues that are within the system, calling your legislators or writing letters or any of that. Those things should be done, that’s a given. But rather, I want you to address the issue from the bottom up. Think about the Zapatistas. Think about Occupy. Think about building something from the ground up. Think about destroying something that creates this system of exploitation or think about creating something that offers an alternative. I want you to use your IMAGINATION here. I will be looking very closely at this section. I want you to speculate, invent, imagine, even dream. But don’t dream of the result. In other words, don’t dream about how the world should be. We know how it should be. Invent, create something that helps us get there. Is it through art? Through protest? By hacking? By breaking the law? By performing on the subway? By dismantling a machine? What can be done? Be SPECIFIC about your  STRATEGY & use your IMAGINATION.


It is very important that you be detailed and specific in your discussion. Each paragraph should have a main point. Just one.

Quoting: avoid long quotes. I want your words primarily. When you quote, which should not be very often, tag your quote. (Tyler Jonson underscores this idea when he writes “ . . .”; Frank argues against this notion when she writes “. . .”)

Bring your research into your discussion. As we discussed in class. Use names and page numbers. Make sure to cite everything you use and make sure to have a correct and completed Works Cited.

You need to use all your sources in specific ways in your piece. That’s what I mean about details. We want to see specifics and those specifics need to be cited. Before you write your paper, go through all your sources and locate the specific things that you want to use in your paper. Understand why you want each one. When you write your paper, get it in there. As we read through, we should see very clearly that this is a research paper and that you are drawing from all of these sources and citing them. We should see names and citations, with primarily paraphrasing and a few powerful quotes.

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1 Response to Issue Paper–Due April 4

  1. Pingback: Issue Paper for Monday 04/04, & Response 10 for Wednesday 04/06 | Introduction to Language and Technology

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