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Author: Professor Sean Scanlan (Page 1 of 2)

Important News for Last Week of Class

Hi Class,

  1. We do not meet on Thursday, May 17 (classes follow a Wednesday schedule)
  2. Next Tuesday, May 22:  Essay 3 is due in class in a paper folder. Include the final draft, early drafts, peer reviews, and photocopies of quoted source material. Staple the Annotated Bibliography to the Essay. No late essays will be accepted.
  3. We will review for the final exam on Tuesday, May 22.
  4. Bring your word notebooks on Tuesday, so I can give you credit.
  5. Our final exam is Thursday, May 24 at 10:00 in Atrium 633. There is no lab.

Email any questions.

Homework and Student Example

Hi Class,

For Tuesday, bring in a complete draft of Essay 3 for peer review. And also bring in your Freewrite Portfolio, which consists of:

Three freewrites from the semester–either photocopy them or type them and print them out. Attach these three freewrites to a one-page typed reflection on freewriting. Consider these questions in the freewrite:

  1. Why did you chose these three?
  2. What do you like/dislike about the freewriting process?
  3. How do you plan to use freewriting in the future?


First page example:

An American Icon of Hope and Tourism


Just as the twin towers were struck by 19 plane hijackers with box cutters, devastating an entire city of New York, and bringing tears to millions across the world, Saddam Hussein became the national image of terrorism. But how does one event lead people to label such meager events into an icon, an image, thus unconsciously correlating terrorism to a single man? Whether big or small, mankind has been defined to label their surroundings, whether it be people, objects, society, or whatsoever that is deemed irrational. As a little kid, I used to look at pictures and posters of the Statue of Liberty and remark to her being the “green lady who wore a sari,” a sari being a traditional Indian clothing dress worn by married women. With age, I came to realize that this colossal monument isn’t just an ordinary woman cradling the tablet of law and torch that shines freedom, but a woman who faces the Old World, lighting the way for all immigrants. But how exactly did the Statue of Liberty become the American icon for hope, and how did it become the central tourist attraction for the city? [missing: methodology]

America’s symbol of freedom is ironically, however, French. The idea, the design, the fabrication, and the financial contributions were all provided by the French. According to Wilton S. Dillon’s and Neil G. Kotler’s Statue of Liberty Revisited, it was actually during a dinner party in 1865 hosted by Edouard de Laboulaye that the conversation began (5). The topic of discussion was a set of ideas for ways to commemorate the alliance between the United States and France during the American Revolution, as well as, according to the National Parks Services website, to “create something honoring America’s commitment to freedom and liberty and present it to the US in time for the nation’s 100th birthday celebration in 1876.”

Conducting an Interview

Below, I’ve included information below pertaining to conducting your own interview:

Obtaining information by direct questions is a form of primary source material, so you may want to conduct a short interview with a person connected to your topic/site. You may conduct the interview in person, by email, or by phone.


1. Determine your purpose, and be sure it relates to your research question and perhaps even your hypothesis.

2. Set up the interview well in advance. Introduce yourself cordially and professionally. State who you are and why you want to conduct an interview.  Specify how long it will take, and if you wish to record the session–always ask permission to record or photograph.

3. Prepare a written list of factual and open-ended questions. Brainstorming or freewriting can help you come up with questions. Leave plenty of space for notes after each question. If the interview proceeds in a new or different direction, don’t panic, let the person speak. Do not feel that you have to be prepared for every question or response.

4. Record the subject, date, time, and place of the interview.

5. Thank the person that you interview (in person or by email). Be professional in all interactions.

6. Very important: right after the interview, sit down and rewrite your notes and reflect on the interview. If you do not do this now, you will forget vital information. Do this while it is fresh.

Research Process:

Research Project Process





Homework for Tuesday, May 1

Hi Class,

For Tuesday:

  1. Read Whitehead and White–both are in the first chapter. Then, in two or three sentences, write down the thesis of each. Most likely, the thesis will be implied, therefore, you will need to think for a few minutes about what the authors are trying to say.
  2. Select one place in NYC that you like (or want to know more about), and then answer the who, what, when, where, why about that place. Make sure to write down in your notebook exactly where you got this information. We will not turn these homework assignments.


Prof. Scanlan

Homework for Thursday, April 26

Hi Class,

Continue to think about a place that interests you. Or places.

For Thursday, please write Journal 6: 8 sentence summary of Jennifer Egan’s “Reading Lucy.”


Tuesday’s Joke:

Student: Would you punish me for something I didn’t do?

Teacher: Of course not.

Student: Good, because I haven’t done my homework.



Prof.  Scanlan

New Photo Terms

Hi Class,

Essay 2 is about taking photos, reading them, and writing about them.

Here are two more questions will help us as we move toward Essay 2:

1. What is the history of photography?


2. Why do we take, keep, share, and discard photographs?


The French sociologist and critic Roland Barthes wrote about photography, and he came up with two useful terms for studying photographs.

1. Studium: The studium of a photograph is the public and historical background of a photo. The studium is the photo’s context and its general understanding which includes the precise time and place and weather. The studium of a photo must be visible, and it is the cultural reading of people (their faces and clothing), gestures, buildings, trees, and actions within a photo.

2. Punctum: The punctum of a photograph is highly individual, not public. The punctum pierces the viewer in a particular, private way. The punctum, which must be visible,  pierces the viewer like a arrow, raising certain individual memories and consciousnesses to the surface. The punctum bruises me but not you. The punctum is about loving, while the studium is about liking.

*These definitions are from Barthes’ Camera Lucida (New York: Hill and Wang, 1981)



Barthes’ example of punctum:


Little Italy. New York, 1954. Photo by William Klein

“What I stubbornly see are one boy’s bad teeth…”

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