Performative Rhetorics Assignments

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1) Weekly Reading Posts: Informal notes analyzing/exploring key issues in the readings on the canvas course site under Discussions. One or two people will be responsible for writing the opening post for each reading, to which others will respond. Opening posts due on the discussion board by the Saturday before the class in which we discuss the text. Substantial responses will be due by Tuesday at noon. Whether you’re responding to a classmate’s post or offering your own read, these “substantial responses” should offer a real engagement with the material that takes us into the text, using quotes and page numbers, and posing questions and/or offering reflections on passages or ideas.

2) Three Summary/Response Papers: Formal, one-page, single spaced, beautifully polished, and terribly insightful papers that are interested less in opinions than in relationships and that are to be read aloud in class and submitted to the course site before class begins. Margins are optional, but no smaller than 12 point font and no more than one letter-sized page. The first half of each paper should be a very concise but thorough summary of the assigned text. The second half should be your reading of that work “across” another text we have read in class. I am very serious about devoting half of the page to each task.

Please don’t be fooled; these one-pagers are hard as hell—they demand a higher level of reading/writing savvy than a traditional essay. Until you get the hang of the process and the style-cramping format, expect to rewrite at least once, maybe more. The grading will be rigorous; excellence will be required. The hope is that when you leave this course, these short, dense papers will offer you a theoretical base for one or more publishable papers and also provide you with some valuable study resources for your third year or comprehensive exams.

Here are a few S/R papers from other courses:  Gerdes Paper 1 / Eric’s Paper 1

3) One medium-form seminar paper: A 15-ish page, double-spaced paper, in which you accomplish one of the following:

  • define the significance of performative theory for rhetorical studies, writing studies, or literary studies
  • read an issue, a cultural event, a philosophical approach, or a literary (or other) “text” through the lens of performative theory (ex: Felman, Butler, Derrida)
  • do something I can’t imagine right now that makes use of the course content in your own work (must be approved: make me an offer)