Category Archives: 1121 Unit 1-Discourse Community

Kieran Reichert FINAL 1121 Unit 1

Unit #1: Rhetoric, Genre, Discourse

In this second unit, you will draw on what you have learned about the concept of discourse communities, apply it to your life experience, and define one community you belong to according to Swales’ six criteria. You will also choose an issue facing a discourse community you belong too and take a position on that issue.

Related readings:

  • John Swales: “The Concept of Discourse Community”
  • Laura Bolin Carroll: “Backpacks vs. Briefcases: Steps Towards Rhetorical Analysis”
  • Anthony Bourdain, “Don’t Eat Before Reading This”
  • Excerpt, Ta-Nehisi Coates, “My President Was Black”
  • Colton Wooten, “The Florida Shuffle”

Rhetorical Situation, or Your Jumping Off Point for Writing: 

How do discourse communities make claims that situate them in relation to society, and to what extent are those claims effective? How does a special interest group or a cultural minority, professional association, or demographic group sway political leaders or influence elections, policies, or laws? (Some examples could include labor unions, LGBT groups, cultural minorities, etc.) This analytical project involves a deep analysis of the rhetorical components of a text or artifact, helping you define links between rhetorical situations, discourse communities, and genre. In particular, you’ll analyze how authors respond to rhetorical situations using research, appeals, and rhetorical moves to effectively appeal to their audiences. You’ll also have the opportunity to perform your own primary source fieldwork to develop your own definition of your discourse community and how it functions in the world, with specific attention to prevalent genres and modes of communication.

Your Task:

 In this assignment, you’ll 1) identify a discourse community that you want to explore and write about your relation to it, 2) plan and conduct an interview with an elder/expert/member of the DC that will aid in your descriptive analysis of your DC, and 3) analyze a single text or cultural artifact of that discourse community and the genre as a whole. You will ultimately produce a thoughtfully written report of 1,200 – 2,000 words with an accompanying reflection (1-2 pages) on how your analytical approach helped you make specific conscious choices about your writing process based on genre, rhetorical situation, research, audience, and relationship with the discourse community in question.

I think it is useful to break the assignment into its chief components (N.B. the fourth is the final essay assignment):

  1. A descriptive look at your understanding of how the group functions as a discourse community, i.e. what are its “common public goals” and “mechanisms of intercommunication”? (If you break down the DC into its component parts, and think about your relationship to it, this should be fairly.)
  2. Plan, prepare for, and conduct an interview with a member/elder/expert from your community and write a report of the key takeaways and insights from the interview.
  3. An analysis of a single text or artifact of that discourse community, like an article or painting or film. (The key here is to think about how the DC uses its specific lexicon and “mechanisms of intercommunication” to meet its “common public goals” regarding a particular topic.)
  4. Ultimately, you will put steps 1-3 together into a descriptive report of your discourse community and one prominent genre within it. This should be 1,200-2,000 words and be accompanied by a 1-2-page reflection.

TIMELINE

 

Wed 10/16                                         Description of DC Draft (1-3 pages)

  • Pick a discourse community: either a cultural group, religious group, political group, advocacy group, nonprofit organization, creative community, or other group linked by commonalities, interests, language, and literacy. Explain who and what this discourse community is as you understand it – in a paragraph or two – and your relation to it. Why is it interesting to you?
  • Then, choose a text or cultural artifact to analyze. You should use the analytical criteria we define in class. What is their audience, how are they establishing credibility, using what types of rhetorical moves, ethos/pathos/logos, or other appeals, language, and/or visual rhetoric?

Mon 10/23                                         Report of Field Research Notes

  • Do an ethnography, field research visit, and/or interview with a member of the community. First, brainstorm a list of questions and then go into this community, and conduct a 30-60 minute interview, exploration, or visit into this group.
  • Record, transcribe, or take detailed notes during your interview and then type up a 2-3 page report of the research notes you captured in this community. Introduce your notes with a one-page letter to me. What happened? What were your impressions? How will you use this firsthand research in your article?

Mon 10/28                                         Working Draft of Report (2 printed)

  • Write a Working Draft of your report. Define your discourse community and a prominent genre within it, using an integrated combination of firsthand research and secondary sources. Use your analysis of the mentor text to help you draft your argument – what moves does it use, and how are those specific to your discourse community?

Wed 10/30                                         Peer Review letter (>2 pages printed, 2 copies)

  • Peer Review letter to partner due, using a technique called descriptive outlining.

Mon 11/11                                         Final Draft Due (1 via BB + 1 Hard Copy)

  • Including a 2-page Reflection Cover Letter explaining why and how you made the choices that you made for your target audience, using your mentor text, and for the publication of your choice.

 

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

Assignment

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

 

Final Discourse Community Paper

English 1121

Paper #1: Portrait of a Discourse Community

 

Proposal/Conceptual Outline:

First Draft:

Final Draft:

 

Assignment Overview and Requirements:

Your first paper asks that you define and analyze a discourse community that either you’re a part of or that you have seen represented in the stories we have read. As we’ve read and discussed in class, a discourse community is a collection of people or groups that work towards a common goal through communication. This group develops a process for communication, a unique vocabulary of jargon, and a power structure tied to the source of their community. John Swales maintains that genres both “belong” to discourse communities and help to define them (Borg, 2003).  He outlined six characteristics of discourse communities: 1) common public goals; 2) methods of communicating among members; 3) participatory communication methods; 4) genres that define the group; 5) a lexis; and 6) a standard of knowledge needed for membership (Swales, 471-473).

 

Examples of groups can be employees at the same company, clubs at City Tech, Skateboarders, super fans, engineers, doctors, hospital patients, residents of a neighborhood, etc.

 

Identify a discourse community that you’re either a part of or that interests you.  Compose an insightful analysis of a discourse community using the material you have gathered from your research. Remember you’re describing a DC you’re a part of for an audience that knows nothing about them. What does the audience need to know?

 

I think it is useful to break the assignment into its chief components

 

  1. A descriptive look at your understanding of how the group functions as a discourse community, i.e. what are its “common public goals” and “mechanisms of intercommunication”?
  2. Plan, prepare for, and conduct an interview with a member/elder/expert from your community and write a report of the key takeaways and insights from the interview.
  3. An analysis of a single text or artifact of that discourse community, like an article or painting or film. (The key here is to think about how the DC uses its specific lexicon and “mechanisms of intercommunication” to meet its “common public goals” regarding a particular topic.)
  4. Ultimately, you will put steps 1-3 together into a descriptive report of your discourse community and one prominent genre within it. This should be 1,200-2,000 words and be accompanied by a 1-2-page reflection.

 

Part 2: Reflection

After you have completed the first draft, you will bring in three copies of your essay – one for me and two for two of your peers. You will share these essays with your group, and, after reading each other’s essays, provide thoughtful, critical feedback. While you should provide suggestions for improvement, you should also consider this an opportunity to take cues from your peers and build a sense of community and solidarity. Note what you think works and what you think could use some work. After gathering notes, write a letter to each of your group members responding to their paper with your comments and suggestions. You will attach a copy of letter to your final draft.

In addition to the letter you will write a reflection (500 words), also to be attached to the final draft. In this, you will explain:

  1. Why you chose to write the way you wrote
  2. What insights you’ve gained from the readings, the journals, and your peers
  3. What you think worked and what you might improve on

 

Guidelines and Paper Format

The paper follows MLA format and documentation-style sheet, with in-text citations and a works cited page.  There are different ways to think about approaching your paper.

 

If you choose prompt two, remember to write your paper as if your reader is not familiar with the story, but do not overly just summarize the plot. Although you will use some summary in your analysis, present your own interpretation using textual evidence for support. Present your interpretation and try to convince your reader why your particular reading reveals the discourse community in the story, one that you believe is significant. Quote briefly, but quotes should make up no more than about 15% of your paper.

 

I hope you enjoy writing this paper.  Don’t plagiarize (this can lead to an “F”): write your own essay.  Your ideas are good!   Give them a chance to develop.  Title your paper!

 

 

Paper Length and Format: 4-5 pages, double-spaced, typed, one-inch margins, no larger than 12 point font, New Times Roman or Garamond. Minimum of 1200 Words

 

 

Guidelines for Documenting Sources

 

You are not required to use outside sources for this assignment, but if you do, you must use MLA (Modern Language Association) documentation.  Refer to a reference style handbook such as Diana Hacker’s A Pocket Style Manual.  Also, the OWL (Online Writing Lab) at Purdue and The University of North Carolina offer especially good websites for documentation as well as writing papers in general.

 

 

Works Cited Page

 

Complete bibliographic information (author, title(s), publication information, should be listed on a separate “work (or works) cited” sheet.  This must be organized in alphabetical order by the author’s last name.  This appears after the conclusion of your essay.  For example:

 

Work Cited

 

O’Brien, Tim  “The Things They Carried” The Literary Experience

Bruce Beiderwell, Jeffrey M. Wheeler, .2nd ed. 

Boston: Cenage, 2016. Print. pp. 1277-1291

Criteria Excellent

A

Proficient

B

Developing

C

Deficient

D

·      Development of Ideas         40%

  • Does the author respond fully to the prompt?
  • Does the author analyze a single text or artifact of that discourse community?

·      Are supporting points fully explained and supported with evidence and reasoning?

 

       
Organization                          40% 

  • Does the author include a clear beginning that pulls readers into the essay?

·      Are paragraphs organized in support of a single idea?

·      Is there a clear connection between each paragraph?

·      Is there a logical pattern of development in support of the main idea?

 

       
Mechanics and Usage             20%

·      Does the essay use a variety of sentence lengths and structures to create sentence fluency?

·      Does the essay use effective diction?

·      Does the essay avoid errors in grammar and syntax (particularly those we have covered in class)?

·      Is the essay formatted in MLA document style?