RGarcia Final 1121 Unit 1 Discourse Community Assignment

Prof. Ruth Garcia

English 1121, semester ???

Unit 1: Discourse Community Assignment (1200-word minimum)

Due: xx/xx/xx


In class we have read about and discussed the concept of a discourse community. We have also read and discussed Frederick Douglass’ “The Meaning of Fourth of July to the Slave,” and Mary Wollstonecraft’s Introductory letter to A Vindications of the Rights of Woman. In our discussions, we have examined the way these documents are shaped by audience, purpose, content, and the way that the texts (what and how they say things) are shaped by the writer’s discourse community as well as their position vis-à-vis their audiences’ discourse community.

For this assignment, you will pick an issue or problem at City Tech that is important to one of your discourse communities here. Then you will do the following:

  1. Research the problem you have identified, its solutions, and what has already been done. This is light, internet-based research. You may also interview those affected by, dealing with, and in other ways involved with the problem you have identified. Find 3-4 relevant sources, make sure your sources are reliable, keep track of your sources, and take notes.
  2. Write a letter or speech to the administration (a discourse community that will presumably see you as different and perhaps less knowledgeable then themselves). Thinking about your position vis-à-vis your audience, use Douglass and/or Wollstonecraft as a model, as well as some of their strategies, to write a speech, letter, or call to action/open letter making clear the problem that exists.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Give a clear understanding/outline of the problem you are discussing. Remember, the person you are addressing does not necessarily know or understand your problem. Or, perhaps they do not understand the problem in the way that you do.
  • Give specific examples and details to illustrate the problem.
  • Persuade your reader that they should care about your community and its problem.
  • This is a letter or speech and therefore a particular genre with conventions attached to it. Make sure you follow the conventions related to this genre.
  • You are writing to a particular discourse community that possess particular values, beliefs, and language use and these are likely very different from those of your student-related discourse community. Therefore, keep your audience in mind as you make writing choices.
  • Make sure to properly cite any research you include in your letter, speech, or call to action/open letter.

How will this be graded?

  • You should have an audience and genre in mind.
  • You should write with tone and diction appropriate to your audience.
  • You should give a specific reason(s) to your reader as to why he or she should care about your issue and your reason should keep details of the discourse community you are working with in mind.
  • Your assignment should be on time.
  • Your letter or speech should be 1200 words.
  • You should proofread


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