Here’s the video lecture for this unit. Remember: it’s also in Perusall’s Library in the folder marked Video Lectures. Watch it just like you read an article, stop where you have a question, and hit the button on the top right to annotate/comment.

Carrie’s slide show – the one I showed in the Video Lecture.

Here’s the daily schedule (plus links, handouts, etc.) for this Unit.

Wed July 7: We’ll get started on it even while everybody’s posting Introductions and getting used to OpenLab and the other tech we’re using. At the very bottom of this page, you’ll find the handouts I mention in the video: three to help you get more comfortable with the whole scary idea of interviewing someone, as well as the template for the report itself.

Some basic information about DCs: As I mention in the video, Discourse Communities essentially come in two forms:

  • Primary DC: This is the community you were born into — your family, your culture. The things you can never really escape from. The “Fuku” piece you’ll be reading on Perusall is all about this kind of Primary DC. There are also smaller DCs that kind of grow out of this Primary one (and that are easier to do this report on), things like —
    • Youth groups in a church, mosque, or synagogue.
    • Cultural activities groups that honor and keep traditions alive, like ones that collect and show medieval dresses from China, or clogging dance groups from Ireland, or Dominican Republic celebration groups.
    • Cultural identity groups like Nuyoricans. Or even the hip-hop community.
  • Secondary DC: These are ones you choose to join, often as a beginner where, over time, you become one of the “experts” or leaders. The list is pretty long, and often involves education, internships, and mentors, and includes things like —
    • Professions like medicine or engineering. These can even give rise to smaller DCs like Doctors without Borders within the medical field, or EMTs within the firefighting world, or the vaccination pop-ups that we see these days.
    • The place you work, even if it’s part time.
    • Sports groups and/or teams, like cricket clubs or tail-gaters for a specific team.
    • Hobby groups like the sneaker club a student once wrote about, or ongoing baking classes. My favorite was a student who played billiards and wrote about that DC.
    • Social groups like dance clubs.
    • Volunteer organizations.
    • Community activist groups like Black Lives Matter.
    • Social media groups that actually do things, like the engineering students who used Discord to help each other with their homework.
  • The list is obviously enormous, but it gives you a lot of freedom to find one you really want to investigate. In fact, you don’t even have to be a member — if you want to learn more about what it means to be an engineer, you could talk to people who are professional engineers and get them to tell you all about what it means to be in that DC.

Due EOD Thursday July 8 on Perusall: Do the Assignment labeled “What is a Discourse Community?” You’ll be reading and annotating (and replying to each other about) an article by Dan Melzer. This is a student-friendly explanation of what one discourse community looks like.

Due EOD Friday July 9 on Perusall: Do the Assignment labeled “Discourse Community Examples.” You’ll be reading and annotating two selections: 1) “Fuku” which is from a book by Junot Diaz titled The Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and 2) an essay from the New York Times by Perri Klass. They’ll give you some more ideas about what a DC believes and how language and behavior impact a DC. Be sure to scroll down to make sure you read both parts!

  • The “Fuku” selection is an example of what goes on within a Primary Discourse Community because it’s all about beliefs from the DR.
  • The Perri Klass essay talks about what it was like to join the medical community as part of a hospital, an example of a Secondary Discourse Community.

Due EOD Saturday July 10 on Padlet: Brainstorm some of your DCs and post an image of an artifact of the one you’re going to be investigating. Reply or Comment on ones you think are interesting (“cool” actually works here for once).

Due EOD Tuesday July 13 in Google Drive folder labeled Discourse Community Reports: Upload the first section of your report — the part that gives us the background and basic information about your DC. Be sure to include things you learned from the person/people you interviewed if they gave you something (see the template handout for specifics about what goes into this section).

Due EOD Friday July 16 in the Google Drive (you can simply add/paste this to the first part): Upload the second section of your report — the part that talks about how language works within the DC. Be sure to include things you learned from the person/people you interviewed if they gave you something (see the template handout for specifics about what goes into this section).

Due EOD Tuesday July 19 in the Google Drive (you can simply add/paste this to what’s already there): Upload the third section of your report — the part where you talk about what you learned from doing this little investigation. What surprised you, if anything. What reinforced things you already knew. Also tell us what you want us, your audience, to take away from this investigation — what things you really really want us to remember.

Once everything is posted, go find one you want to read because it interests you, and leave some comments. (I’ll also be Commenting as you go along, too, so that you can use these as the basis for doing revisions). This is what good comments look like:

  • “I like how you…” to give some immediate positive feedback.
  • “I want to know more about…”
  • “I’m not sure what you meant by…” to let the writer know you got a little confused here.
  • “Maybe you could…” to leave a suggestion… which the writer should feel free to ignore!

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