RhetCrit Working Notes

Each set of working notes will include three parts:

  1. a tight and polished summary of the particular theoretical approach we’re currently addressing, including quotes and page numbers from Foss (or Richards). Be sure to include an explanation of the methods and goals (the steps and the aim) andthe major tenets or presumptions (beliefs) held by this specific methodological approach. (Methods, goals, and tenets are separate items.)”Tenets” means, according to Webster’s: “a principle, dogma, belief, or doctrine generally held to be true; especially: one held in common by members of an organization, group, movement, or profession.” Okay, so you want to address the beliefs orconvictions held by critics of this approach, specifically for our purposes: their beliefs about language, our relationship with it, and its relationship to what we call “reality.” You will not find this in Foss. You may find some of it in class notes, which you may also quote. But the point is that you’ll have to thinkabout it. What must a neo-Aristotelian critic believe about meaning and intentionality, for example, to believe that this sort of analysis is valuable?
  2. a meta-application of that approach to an artifact of your choosing in which you respond to the question: If one were to do a narrative critique (for example) of this artifact, what aspects of it would one most productively analyze? Be sure to cite passages you’re dealing with, including (where appropriate) page numbers or paragraph numbers in parentheses. Include a link to this artifact if possible.The key is to do enough of an analysis of an artifact through this critical lens to show what it would expose and leave unexposed. Neo-Aristotelian would miss any unintentional aspects of symbolic effect, for example. Cluster might miss contextual limitations, for example. Narrative might miss associative meanings. Etc.
  3. a response to one of your classmates’ notes that engages their summary and/or meta-analysis

When the schedule assigns working notes, go to the class Discussion forum on Canvas and select the topic that names the critical approach the notes will cover (Neo-Aristotelian, narrative, cluster, feminist, etc.). Complete parts 1 & 2 of your notes by 10pm Sunday Night when they are due on a Tuesday; by 10pm Tuesday Night when they are due on a TH. (This will allow you time to complete part 3, commenting on at least one peer’s notes, before the due date.) For full credit you must complete the notes on time. I’ll take 1 point off for each day a set of notes is late.

NOTE: Though these notes are worth only 5 points each, together they add up to 30% of your grade; so if you were to skip some or only half-ass complete them, you could easily bring your final grade down one or even two letters.

Grade Scale:

  • For a 5.0 (100%): You’ll not only follow the instructions exactly but wow me with your insight and demonstrate extra effort, citing several passages along with the correct page or paragraph numbers. Your notes will be well-written and proofread, with few errors or typos.
  • For a 4.5 (90%): You’ll post the notes on time, completing all the steps thoughtfully, demonstrating a good, strong, above average effort, citing passages along with the correct page or paragraph numbers. Your notes will be well-written and proofread, with few errors or typos.
  • For a 4 (80%): You’ll post the notes on time and complete most of the steps thoughtfully, demonstrating a slightly above average effort overall, citing some passages with page or paragraph numbers and perhaps summarizing thoroughly and offering a straightforward but not especially insightul meta-analysis. Your notes will be well-written and proofread, with few errors or typos.
  • For a 3.5 (70%): You’ll complete most of the steps somewhat thoroughly, and demonstrate an average effort overall, perhaps following the steps mechanically but without much insight or thoughtfulness, perhaps failing to cite passages or to offer page or paragraph numbers. Your exercise will be pretty well-written, with some errors or typos.
  • For a 3 (60%): Your notes will be posted, but incompletely, demonstrating a below-average effort overall, mechanically following most of the steps without much insight or interest. Your exercise may be sloppily written or unproofed, and it may fail to cite sources and/or page numbers.
  • For a 2.5 (50%): You’ll offer a half-ass effort that looks like you threw it up in a mad rush right before the class bell.
Grading Rubric
  • Tenets 1pt: There is an accurate explanation of the major tenets of this critical approach.
  • Goals and Method 1pt. There is an accurate explanation of the method and goals of this critical approach.
  • Meta-Application 1pt. The meta-application offers a fine description of what would be analyzed in this specific artifact through this particular methodological lens, doing enough actual analysis to indicate what this method would and would not expose.
  • Writing 1pt. The whole set of notes is well-written and carefully proof-read with very few if any surface errors or typos.
  • Response .5pts. The response to peer’s notes is engaged and thoughtful.