Unit 1: Discourse Community Assignment

(1000-word minimum) 

First Draft Due Date: March 7

Final Draft Due: March 9


We have read and thought about the concept of a discourse community. We have also seen work by several authors who engage with the idea of discourse communities (Douglass, Wollstonecraft, Tan, Henderson, and Ocasio-Cortez). 

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

  1. Write a speech or letter to someone (or a group) outside of your discourse community. In your  speech or letter describe a problem and make it visible to someone outside your community. As you write, keep in mind your audience (who is reading and/or listening) may not know the impact this problem has on your community or that it even exists. Note: It should be clear from reading your piece what genre you are writing in and whom you are addressing.
  2. To help you write your speech or letter, research the problem you have identified, its solutions, and what has already been done to address this issue. In addition to using the City Tech library’s online databases or the internet for your research, you may find it useful to interview people involved with the problem. An interview is not a requirement, but if you do choose to do one, it may be done over the phone/video chat, by email, or by text.  In all, incorporate two to three relevant sources in your speech or letter: make sure your sources are reliable and keep track of them. You will integrate this research into your speech or letter to help you develop your point. Remember: your piece is a speech or letter… you are not writing a research paper!
Here are the grading criteria for this project:
  • Genre
    • It is clear from your document whether you have written a letter or a speech; in other words, you use the conventions of letter-writing or speech-writing.
    • You use concrete and specific examples and details to illustrate the issue for your reader.
    • If appropriate, you include suggestions or solutions addressing the issue.
  • Audience
    • It is clear from your document whom you are addressing. 
    • Your tone, diction & writing style makes sense for this group.
    • Your letter or speech shows the audience the issue from your perspective. Your piece also aims to help them understand (and ultimately gain respect for) the issue you are addressing.
  • Purpose
    • It is clear from your document, why you are addressing them.
    • You have an overall point.
    • You give a specific reason(s) as to why your audience should care about your issue. 
  • Your piece is written and organized in a manner that makes your meaning clear, and you carefully choose your words and transitions. 
  • You properly cite any research included in your document (using MLA style).
  • You proofread carefully.
  • Your letter or speech is approximately 1000 words (2-3 pages, double-spaced).
  • You submit your assignment on time.