Getting There

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Note: Regretfully, I do not have a research topic as of now. I would like to discuss the topic of language in a epistemological manner, however, in order to do this adequately I need to come up with a research question that is more specific. I will come up with a question as soon as possible. Therefore, this paper is a way to show that I am brainstorming. I would like to come up with a topic related to how language affects how we view nature. I apologize for my punctuality.

 

I was sitting in the Student Union writing an essay about Edward Sapir and the relationship between language and culture. This essay has been very challenging to me because the concepts Sapir presents are very . . . “heady” and while writing, I have been continually “burned out” trying to write about such a complex topic.

An example of this is a quote from his novel, Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech: “The world of our experiences must be enormously simplified and generalized before it is possible to make a symbolic inventory of all our experiences of things and relations and this inventory is imperative before we can convey ideas.”

In other words, what we experience is so complex that through language, we generalize what we think and feel in order to communicate.

 

Anyway, I quickly grew tired of writing about this and decided to take a study break. I walked to the exit of the Student Union and saw a CD sale put on by KDUR. All the CDs were $1, so I decided to check it out and see if there would be anything worthwhile to buy for my car. I ended up buying two Fleet Foxes CDs.

 

Music has always been an extremely important element in my life, but I have recently have been thinking more intently about this topic because of my lack of savings. Before I moved to Durango, I worked at a record store and poster shop in Boulder called PosterScene. Recently, I have been very focused on saving money for my expenses and I realized that I spent a lot of the money I made in PosterScene buying records and going to shows. Although this upsets me because I did not adequately save the money I earned, I read this quote in the album Sun Giant, one of the albums by Fleet Foxes that I purchased:

 

“Sometimes when driving, or riding the bus, or walking around in some park, I will try to get an image in my head of what the land around me would have looked like 400 years ago. The same hills, the same landscape, but in my mind I’ll cover it in nothing, and wonder what it was like to be the first man to chance upon it. This is always useless to me. There is so much wonder in this world, but I always have trouble getting past our influence, our disasters and clumsy systems. And even in those places where there is some real beauty, like down at the Golden Gardens, or on the Olympic Peninsula, or my grandparents’ cabin in Wenatchee when it’s deep in snowdrifts, all I have to do is take one look at the skyline in the distance, or the cement path I’m walking on, or the white car parked in the gravel driveway to take me out of the tenuous illusion and put me back in reality.

 

We are constantly tethered to some safety line. There is always a lantern, or a map, or a screen, or a cell phone. These things guarantee that whatever experience we’re having is just an attempt at connecting to something foreign and old. That it’s not real, no matter how real it looks. We’ve sketched out a new world over the old, and they are two separate universes. The old is lost despite the remnants of it we see everyday. If properly prepared, one could live entire decades indoors, in a world of their own creation.

 

Sometimes, I’ll stay indoors for days at a time, talking to no one and doing nothing of value. Once I do go outside after a long stretch like that, it still feels fake, like some slide in front of my eyes. At a certain point, I’ll have to tell myself, “This is actually real and I’m actually here, that dog or building or mountain range in the distance is a real thing inhabiting the space that I am.” I think that must be a very modern sensation, that of having to convince oneself of reality. What a weird feeling.

 

A very smart and gifted friend of mine told me once that music is a kind of replacement for the natural world. That, before civilization or whatever, the world must have seemed a place of such immense wonder and confusion, so terrifying in a way, unthinkably massive and majestic. And that that feeling of mystery and amazement is somehow hardwired into us. Once the world became commonplace, mapped, and conquered, that feeling left our common mind and we needed something to replace it with and then along came music. I think she’s right, music is magic to me, transportive and full of wonder in a way that I have trouble getting from the natural world. All the human things that make the natural world so hard to connect with just aren’t there with music.

 

I don’t really know what I’m trying to say with this. It’s not good to romanticize a time of great hardship, hardship I’ve never known and am not conditioned to understand. I’m also not interested in a “back to nature” thing, as nature as it was is gone for the time being and it would take a very big leap of faith and common sense to ignore that. But, music to me is just as awe-bringing as the world maybe once was. And I just love it a lot.”

 

-Thomas Jefferson

January 2008

New York City, New York

 

I agree with what was said in the majority of this quote (not particularly the section that describes being detached with nature) and it made me think about some of the concepts I have been writing about in my essay and research project. When viewed through a linguistic scope, the topic of music can be very interesting.

 

Sapir argued that language is a symbolic form of communicating what we are thinking and feeling. After reflecting upon this, I suppose that music can be viewed in the same terms. Songs communicate a certain type of feeling or emotion by the way that they are constructed. Music is also a public and cultural phenomena but contains more interpretation and meaning than speech or writing.

 

Part of the reason I moved to Durango was because there was less people and more wilderness (mountains). I honestly feel more comfortable and authentic calling “reality” as instances when I feel connected to nature, instead of times when I am “cooped up” in civilization. I often need to spend time in the outdoors in order to stay inspired and often find that my “disconnect” is when I stay indoors and do not do valuable things with the time that I have. I suppose that the author of this quote feels more detached to nature because he resides in New York. However, even in Durango there are times when I feel detached from nature when I get behind on studying and have to stay indoors, or if I am too busy to get outside.

 

This feelings of detachment are the reasons why I am so attracted to this quote. It is incredible to me that the phenomena of language can evoke feeling and emotions when they are not physically present.

 

Ted Talks

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Today in class I mentioned a Ted Talk I watched recently that had to do with language and social perceptions. In the video, the speaker, Aimee Mullins tells a very inspiring story of the way language affects evolution or pushing boundaries in society by struggling with adversity.

Ted Talk: Aimee Mullins- The Opportunity of Adversity

Speaking of Ted Talks . . .

Since I did not attend an event on Dead Man Walking, I decided to watch a Ted Talk on capital punishment and I am reading the first couple chapters of the book by Helen Prejean. Many of the thingI i have read relate to sociocultural anthropology and is relevant to some of the concepts I have learned in class. I will include a short blog post on this later once I have read an adequate amount, but for now, here is a link to the Ted Talk I watched:

Ted Talk: David R. Dow- Lessons From Death Row Inmates

 

Prepping for a Project

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Writer/Designer cheat sheet:

(In relation to creating multimodal projects)

Chapter 2: Analyzing Multimodal Projects

  • Rhetoric: Study of making texts that effectively persuade an audience toward change; all texts have a purpose.
  • Rhetorical Situation:
    The rhetorical situation
    The rhetorical situation

    How authors persuade readers through shaping their writing to the audience, purpose, context & genre.

  • Genre Conventions:   Audience expectations in the text.
  • Rhetorical Analysis: Method of describing the context in which an author wants to communicate his or her purpose or call for action to the intended audience in a genre.
  • Design Choices: Emphasis, contrast, organization, alignment, & proximity.

Chapter 3: Choosing a Genre & Pitching Your Project

  • What & How: When creating language, you must have a clear understanding of what you will say and how you will say it.
  • Representation: You must represent your topic in a way that adds meaning to your text.
  • Guiding Metaphor: A way to represent text. Guiding metaphors add meaning to an argument by showing, through visual, spatial, and gestural modes, that can promote learning.
  • Association:
    An example of association: How multimodal discourse is related to other words
    An example of association: How multimodal discourse is related to other words

    Things that are associated with your idea by experimenting with ways of combining content and form.

  • Pitch: A short presentation that explains how the what and how of your idea might come together in the final project.

Chapter 4: Working With Multimodal Sources

  • Ethos: Credibility that can be built by having a well-designed project that pays attention to how the text works as well as why it works the way that it does.
  • Asset: Information about a topic or genre that you gather from your sources.
  • Copyright:
    Citation styles for different academic disciplines
    Citation styles for different academic disciplines

    A legal device that gives the creator of a text the right to how the text can be used.

  • Fair Use: The affordance of authors to use portions of other author’s texts without permission for educational, nonprofit, reportorial, or critical purposes.
  • Citation Styles: Must be considered in the genre that best meets the text’s rhetorical needs.

Chapter 5: Assembling Your Technologies and Your Team

  • Technological Affordances: It is important to consider what technology best conveys your rhetorical situation which can either be through video, audio, blog, poster, etc.
  • Effective Collaboration:
    A visual representation of effective collaboration
    A visual representation of effective collaboration

    Includes a limited group size, diversity of opinion, punctual communication, contribution and listening.

  • Organized Assets: (Online) Categorize files appropriately, use good naming conventions, use version control.
  • Version Control: Online system that organizes multiple versions of assets.
  • Proposal: Document used to get suggestions and feedback on your detailed plan from an instructor, a boss, a stakeholder, or a client to gain approval for moving forward with your project.

Chapter 6: Designing Your Project

  • Mock-up: Rough layout of a visual project.
  • Storyboard: Outline that represents a text that moves through time.
  • Elements of Storyboards: Setting, movement of characters/objects, script/dialogue, soundtrack/sound effects, and shooting angles.
  • Feedback Loop: A cyclical model of the process of receiving constant feedback on your project and constantly revising it.
  • Timeline: The author’s proposed timeline on how long it will take to analyze and collect assets.

What is Learning?

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How is learning measured? Learning is not a tangible element that can be clearly defined. I guess the real question would be how do you define “learning?”

Here is the Google dictionary definition:

learn·ing
ˈlərniNG/
noun
 The acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught.
-Knowledge acquired through experience, study, or being taught.
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Here are more definitions of learning strategies (LS) from different scholars:
Definitions of Learning
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Here is a more romantic definition:
Learning
None of the definitions I found gave me a concrete, universal definition of the word learning. Therefore, learning has many different meanings in our language. 
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Within all this diversity, it seems extremely arduous that the process of learning should be applied and systematically uniform in every situation.
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If education is how learning is applied and the concept of learning cannot be concretely defined, the system and manner of education should be as equally complex.
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I recently read an article in the opinion section in Wired Magazine called “American Schools Are Training Kids for a World That Doesn’t Exist.” The article argues why kids are not adequately learning because the information we study is not applied until we go into the “real world.” The article encourages learning through discovery and culture. It also suggests that learning through discovery and more interactive educational methods can create new knowledge by making students excited about what they learn. Through discovery learning, students are allowed to apply more relevancy to their existence in life, not just in the educational system.
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My favorite statement posed in the article was:
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Success brings not just a good grade, or the financial reward of a prize. It brings the satisfaction that one can realize dreams, and thrive, in a world framed by major dramatic questions. And this fans the kind of passion that propels an innovator along a long creative career.”
In COMP 250, I feel that I have received enough freedom to “take responsibility for [my] own learning” (Dylan Malewska) and still have the ability to acquire and create my own knowledge.
Bill Mangrum asked the class to come up with a solution to the conflict that the different views of learning create within Fort Lewis. He spoke of the four different sectors of the college:
  • Administration
  • Community of scholars
  • Program areas (In this case, writing)
  • Professor

 

Within all these sectors, each group has different values and understandings of how learning should be applied. To be completely honest, I am not sure how to answer Bill’s question because of the complexity of what learning is.

Constructing grades and guidelines to learning seems oppositional to the purpose of what learning really is. However, it is the system in place and should be accepted as that.

Learning should be viewed as a dynamic concept that is always changing. The ways that we learn how to learn are always evolving, along with our education. The educational system has adapted to what it is now, and although it is immensely more effective in creating knowledge than the past educational systems, it is still important to keep in mind that it is still changing and it should change.

I view Bill’s question as a reflection of educational systems refusing to shift from the system they have in place.

I know it is not easy to change an institution, evolving from norms takes time and compromise. Therefore, I think that weekly self-assessments (postulated by Denyce White) in the form of logs (idea from Austin Pierpont) are a good idea for common ground.

 

Is Language Making us Dumb for the Sake of Keeping Societal Norms?

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The greatest enemy of clear language is insincerity.” 

Orwell

The most intriguing article I read in Language  thus far was George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language.” Orwell argues why the English language is in decline because of political agenda,  resistance to change, and lack of purpose in writing. Not only does Orwell address language and writing, he also draws attention to our society as a whole. He asserts that language is culturally influenced and that “if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” The agency of language is very complex, and Orwell demonstrates the complexities in this article.

English Language in Decline

In the article, Orwell describes how language is viewed as finite and unchangeable. He suggests that contrary to that belief, language is an a constant state of change that fluctuates due to societal perspectives that are always evolving. Language and it’s change is a process, and does not have a definite “end.”

Since language is not viewed in the perspective of time and change, it is used negatively, especially in regards to politics and persuasion. It also leads to systematic writing that is not original and therefore, does not confront the real issues in the argument of their writing. This in turn, dramatically influences our thought processes and the way we think and essentially, the way our culture functions. Because writing is a reflection of our thought processes, if we are not writing for purpose, we will often find ourselves not thinking purposefully (only in terms of “progressing” to function in our contrived society).

“They will construct their sentences for you- even think their thoughts for you, to a certain extent- and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing even from yourself.”

That is a very powerful statement . . . do humans perform based on their own thought or are their actions sociologically determined?

Language and Sociological Thought

“It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.”

In my Anthropology classes this semester, much of what I have been learning about is theories as to what influences cultures to function in a certain way, and how culture influences people’s thoughts.

I found one theorist, Emile Durkheim, to have particularly interesting views on what frames society and cultural phenomena. In his article, “What is a Social Fact?” Durkheim postulates that people learn to function in society through the education system and cultural influence on language. Therefore in different cultures, “collective habits are inherent not only in the successive acts which they determine but, by a privilege of which we find no example in the biological realm, they are given permanent expression in a formula which is repeated from mouth to mouth, transmitted by education, and fixed even in writing.”

This notion is surprising to me because it implies that all thinking is not completely independent, free, or original. We can only build on other’s thoughts. He goes further to say:

“Even if they conform to my own sentiments and I feel their reality subjectively, such reality is still objective, for I did not create them; I merely inherited them through my education.”

Back to Orwell—if language is sociologically influenced and is in decline, is our society’s thought process in decline?

Or is it just stifled?

Orwell says that although English language is lacking, it can be “reversible.

The Solution: Language Must Have Purpose

In every occasion, one must think for themselves.

Orwell suggests that “bad” contemporary writing usually encompasses two things:

  • Staleness of imagery
  • Lack of precision

When we write, we create meaning about the world around us. Within this, we must also show the process that leads us to believe a certain thing because words can have “several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another.”

Language is also culturally produced, and therefore, has different meaning which needs to be supplemented by purpose (confidence) and details . . .

or else language and meaning will lose it’s foundation.

“Let the meaning choose the word.”

Notes:

  • All italicized quotes can be found in Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language.”
  • I used many words in this blog post (such as “phenomena”) that Orwell objected to in his article . . . I wonder how purposeful my writing is?
  • Random thought: What would Orwell think of the thesaurus?

Making Meaning Out of Writing

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10/3/14

I really enjoyed the conversation we had in class today because it mentioned some concepts that I have been thinking about recently in regards to writing.

Before I moved to Durango this August, my mom handed me a box of all my old journals because she said that my little brothers were sneaking in the storage closet and reading them. I tried to read them, but I couldn’t even get through one because all my entries were very embarrassing to me. My thought process has completely matured over the years and I couldn’t believe my perspective on certain things. It wasn’t necessarily just the content that what unappealing to me, it was my lack of imagination and freedom of thought that I have now. I had a couple good laughs at some of the things I had written, but there was only so much I could take.

However, as elementary as my journals were, they still allowed me to grow as a thinker. The act of writing mimics the act of living because both are processes. This concept is very challenging for me to explain through language, as is most of the things I like to write about, however, the process of completely unraveling your thoughts is what makes writing so unique. When a person thinks something, there is context, reasoning, past experiences, feelings, etc. that lead them to believe a certain thing.

Writing helps a person deconstruct how they were led to believe a something outside of the pressure of time. It is similar to what Bill Mangrum said in class: “Writing is the first form of traveling through time and space.” A page in the book, Be Here Now by Ram Dass helped me understand this concept a little better (it may be a little abstract):

What are thoughts outside of time and space?
What are thoughts outside of time and space?

I still keep a journal, but my writing is more meaningful now. I am learning so much knowledge and better understanding (or realizing that I don’t understand that much) about the world we live in now. My mind is a lot more open than it was back then and this creates more fragmented and incomplete thoughts; through my writing, I am able to work these thoughts out and understand things more. It makes my intellect feel more holistic and it is rewarding to be able to look at the process of life that I have lived and how I have evolved.

Anyway, what I am trying to say is that without writing, most of the processes that lead to thoughts would be lost in time. Writing helps us remember and further our expansion of knowledge. All modern knowledge and academia is built from things written and thought in the past. It is similar to having a conversation with someone and learning new knowledge by connecting with each others ideas.

My favorite quotes said in class were:

  • Writing is a way of coming to know, epistemological value
  • The most common way we make sense of life is through knowledge

I am sorry that this blog is mostly theoretical and I tried to indicate the meaning of writing in a short blog post. All I can say is that I am still in the process of trying to figure it out . . .

A Conventional Day in Class

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Notes: September 22, 2014

  • Pay attention to the fundamentals (i.e. mla citation)
    • “I intended” is not good enough
    • Sweat the details, pay attention to form and conventions (system of rules without at discipline that give it order)
      • Conventions are social agreement
      • Must identify social agreements
      • Quit fighting against the rules of the game you are trying to play
        • You don’t have to play the game
        • You have agency (the power to choose)
      • If you choose to play the game, must follow conventions
      • Have to master conventions before you are given authority to question them
      • Afforded privilege of challenging conventions
  • Problematize the word conventions
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Rephrase what you hear and recheck from speaker
  • Are all conventions social?
  • Writing: style
  • Questions should not be construed as resistance
  • Exigence (urgent need that requires…)
  • Critically aware in every setting that you’re in and being attentive
  • Can’t change until you’ve mastered it, but you can challenge and question it on the way there- Austin Pierpont
  • Lone Survivor- Marcus Latrov: talk to oneself
  • These kinds of conversations improve writing by experiencing and talking, where you pay attention, writing will improve
  • What we accomplished was talking, listening and reasoning
  • If you take good notes and have good conversations, your writing will improve

On September twenty-second, the focal point of the scholarly discussion within my COMP 250 class was the understanding of the term convention.

When I first heard the word convention mentioned in class, I immediately associated it in a negative regard. From my experience, conventions and conventional circumstances are often associated with things that are boring, uniform or connecting to utilitarianism. It reminded me of the scene about the oppressive school system in Pink Floyd’s The Wall.

Any Pink Floyd fans?

However, by the end of class I realized my irrational fear and bias of conventions. In the discipline of writing, it is essential to pay attention to fundamentals because they force you to consider the details and conventions that will allow you to communicate most effectively.

The easiest way for humans to think constructively is to put things in order. In my Historical Anthropological Thought class, we are studying the concept of theory and how it applies to social sciences and intellect in general. My professor described the construction of theories through placing our thoughts, reasoning and knowledge in a certain order to compose a certain idea, argument or theory.

When we are thinking, theorizing or arguing, conventions guide and direct us in a way to organize our thoughts and make them more communicative to others.

Without conventions, the way that we think would not be as holistic, comprehensive and socially cohesive as it is now. Throughout the process of writing and communicating it is extremely advantageous to be present and aware of the reason behind why you think a certain thing or use a certain word. All writing should be purposeful. If you don’t have a purpose for writing, then what are you actually writing about?

Like theories and reasoning, conventions are interdisciplinary. The most effective agency that conventions employ is through social agreements. Social agreements are what keeps our society from complete disorder and anarchy. Something as simple as paying for a cup of coffee instead of stealing it is a social agreement. We adhere to social agreements all the time without conscious of it.

Not only do we perform social agreements all the time, we also choose to agree. We develop our own rules that we decide to follow socially. It is vital to know that we have a choice in the matter.

Before I attended this class, I was resistant to the idea of conventions. I realize how ironic that is now because I am following a social convention by writing this blog post.

I became confused by the concept of conventions because the most influential individuals in history were the ones that questioned and challenged social conventions.

Like this guy:

A 1964 article about Bob Dylan published in Life magazine
A 1964 article about Bob Dylan published in Life magazine.

Bob Dylan challenged social conventions and was an activist for social rights through the lyrics in his songs. Bob Dylan, like many others who have made a difference in social change, questioned conventions that were already in place or regarded as the “norm.” Without people questioning conventions, it would be impossible for social issues to change.

However, questioning conventions does not always mean that you are resisting them. Conventions are mostly in place because they are logical for our society. The majority of conventions that we have are very beneficial to people and civilizations.

This is why it is important to master conventions before you challenge them. Once you completely understand something, you are able to form an impartial opinion that is authentic to your reasoning. Therefore, if you encounter a convention that you disagree with, you are able to dispute it. Not just resist it.

A fellow COMP 250 classmate, Austin Pierpont says it best: “You can’t change it until you’ve mastered it, but you can challenge and question it on the way there.”

 

List From Language

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It is fascinating to me how crucial communication is to survival presently. In order to function in society, a person must be able to interact and coexist with others; the world is so overwhelmingly social that part of the human experience is learning how to shape the environment and phenomena around you into a way that is intelligible to human understanding.

As an Anthropology major, I am very fortunate to be able to study how language shapes the modern world. Most of the essays in the book, Language, that I chose not only portray how language is sculpted by society, but also how society evolves through language.

Through my experience of exploring the discipline of Anthropology, I have also learned that the concept of language is not just written and spoken. Language can also be communicated through gestures, sounds, etc. I have not spent a significant time studying the linguistic aspect of my Anthropology major, however, I realize it’s vital importance to culture and human interaction in general.

  • Arika Okrent, “Body Language” (Pages 18-26): I chose this essay because I am interested in how language is communicated through something other than linguistics. In the U.S., or at least personally, I seldom see gestural modes of communication. As an Anthropology major, it would be interesting to study how gestural language is used in different cultures.
  • Alexander Arguelles, “Experience: I Can Speak 50 Languages” (Pages 49-51): As Anthropology major that is multilingual has an immense advantage over a Anthropology major that only speaks English. The discipline of learning a new language is very challenging to me so I would love to learn about someone who has mastered so many.
  • Ellen Collett, “The Art of the Police Report” (Pages 86-91): The discipline of Anthropology is often concerned with the effectiveness of narrative. Narratives are overwhelmingly used within the field in order to theorize about past and present cultures. “The Art of the Police Report” focuses on the concept of narratives and I have a personal curiosity to read this narrative because of a speeding ticket I got in the past. When the officer wrote me the ticket, he forgot to write the violation and complete the entire form. I didn’t notice until after he left, and I planned on attending the court date to contest the ticket because he also told me the wrong speed zone that I was in. Later, I was sent an amendment to the ticket with the missing information and I paid it because I didn’t want to deal with it.  To this day, I regret not going to the court date, not just because of the money, but also because the officer’s narrative of the situation was completely different than my own.
  • Linton Weeks, “R Grammer Gaffes Ruining the Language? Maybe Not” (Pages 115-117): The study of culture coexists with the study of change. One of the main ways to view culture is through it’s evolution. This article studies the process of change that languages endure and language is one of the best factors to convey how cultures transform.
  • Wendy Kaminer, “Let’s Talk About Gender, Baby” (Pages 138-140): Feminist theory is a widely studied subject in Anthropology. The way women are treated defines a large part of all cultures. Writing is a tool to see how cultural significance is placed on both genders and it is thought-provoking to see how is has been effected by culture.
  • Bassey Ikpi, “Why the Whole ‘Poor Africa’ Thing Isn’t Cool” (Pages 164- 166): Recently, I have been thinking a lot about the topic of philanthropy and how it is most effective.  There are many impoverished regions in the world that need care and aid. As I matured into my Anthropology major,  one valuable lesson I observed through my studies was that often times, when people wanted to help a certain culture they did not appreciate or know anything about, it was strongly prone to being unethical. The notion of understanding and learning about a culture is one of the most important aspects of Anthropology.
  • George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language” (Pages 203-215): Honestly, I saw this was written by George Orwell and chose it before knowing if it connected to my major. Big 1984/Animal Farm fan here. Turns out it does relate anyway, in how language is related to power. An important word in Anthropology is biopower, and this article seems to explore this concept in concern with words and communication.
  • Mark Peters, “Why Pesonhood is Powerful” (Pages 265-268): This argue is intriguing to me because it’s goal is to define what a “person” is. The entire discipline of Anthropology is also concerned in what it means to be “human.”
  • Shehzad Nadeem, “Accent Neutralization and a Crisis of Identity in India’s Call Centers” (Pages 293- 296): I have often wondered about the emotional effects of people working in a call center and the prominence of outsourcing. People often make fun of the people that work in call centers, but when you think about the work, it really is a demeaning job by through the way people are affected by language.
  • Roy Boney, Jr., “The Indomitable Language: How Cherokee Syllabary Went from Parchment to iPad” (Pages 316-324): Salvage Anthropology and the motivation to save dying languages is vital to Anthropology because language is such a defining factor of culture. Without language, anthropologists and archaeologists would know a lot less than they do now.  Globalization is beneficial in many ways, but culture and multiply languages and modes of expression help preserve the world’s diversity.

 

 

Why Bill Mangrum Should (At Least) Read My Exceedingly Late Blog Entries: Part I

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There is a large difference in how a professor views a student who posts their blog entries when assigned and those that post it three weeks later.  I am a student who falls in the latter category. Writing a blog post so far after the due date makes it seems ridiculous because I have learned more knowledge than I would have three weeks ago.

I know what you are thinking…I’m a complete slacker…

Let me show you why...
Let me show you why…

I may not be the most punctual student, but I can prove to you that I am learning.

In this case, learning how to develop arguments in my writing through analysis of the book, So What? 

Chapter 1: Why Do We Argue?

I am seizing the opportunity to prove to my professor, Bill Mangrum, that I care about my COMP 250 class and that the reason I have not been blogging is not because I am an apathetic student. This opportunity will allow to me explain the reason I should be able to turn in my blog entries late and why I think that. This blog entry should prove that I have:

  • Utilized multimodal resources
  • Thoroughly read, analyzed and understood So What?
  • Adapted my blog post to an appropriate purpose, audience, and general rhetorical situation
  • Created a uniquely-structured blog to demonstrate my learning and more broadly, the process of writing an argument

This argument will be separated into two entries:

  • Post 1: Setting up the argument, Chapters 1-4
  • Post 2: The argument, Chapters 5-10

All italicized words and phrases are key concepts in So What? to indicate my comprehension of the book.

Chapter 2: How Do We Argue?

For the sake of adhering to the general directions of writing a blog post from what I learned from So What?, my argument will be structured around the ten chapters of the book and will function as a reaction to the catalyst of turning my blog posts in late.

Although it is controversial that I should be allowed to turn my blog in late because most of my peers in the class have turned their posts in on time, I am determined to reach some sort of common ground with my professor.  I will establish this through:

  • Evidence (observations)
  • Verification (things I look up)
  • Illustrations (visualization)
  • Linking claims

Here is a sneak peek of one of my supporting arguments:

Are you curious yet?
Are you curious yet?

Chapter 3: How Do We Read Arguments?

“For many of us, if something isn’t highly captivating with flashy graphics, bright colors, short snippets of text, and lots of pictures it, won’t hold our attention for very long.”

Honestly, this statement gives me anxiety.

As does blogging . . .

I knew the exact dates I was supposed to blog even though I never did:

  • 9/9: Multimodal discourse and “11 Essential Ingredients Every Blog Post Needs” in cohorts
  • 9/12: One hour on So What?
  • 9/15: One hour and fifteen minutes on So What? blending Writer/Designer
  • 9/17: One hour and forty-five minutes blogging about multimodal texts on campus incorporating So What?
  • 9/19: Reflection with cohort groups
  • 9/22: Bullet point notes from class and write an essay
  • 9/24: Ten readings connected to my major from Language
  • 9/26: One hour and thirty minutes working on blog

Do I have a subconscious fear of blogging? It is peculiar that I attend every class but do not do the work.

I guess I’m pretty irresponsible as a scholar . . .

I did not mean for it to get so out of control, and honestly, the reason I have procrastinated on posting my blog entries is because I feel like I have nothing original to say. I have drafted some ideas but haven’t published them.

However, reading through So What? gave me ideas and strategies for writing my blog.

The repetition of reading the structures of arguments gave me confidence in my own writing.

Chapter 4: What’s a Good Source?

According to So What?, sources help:

  • Establish that the question posed has not already been answered
  • Compile research to help answer question
  • Present the framework, background and setting of a question
  • Adopt theories and methods other scholars have used
  • Explore perspectives of the argument that you can use or deviate from

The majority of sources that I will use in this argument are my own experiences and thoughts.

However, at one point in my argument I will use the research database, Google Scholar, to help elucidate one of my arguments. I personally trust Google Scholar’s

  • Stability
  • Credibility
  • Reliability

(All aspects of an adequate source suggested by So What?)

Public and Private Writing

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The last page of Chapter 1 in Writer/Designer helped me realize how public writing is much more interactive and comprehensive than private writing. I am referring to the concept that “Multimodality gives writers additional tools for designing effective texts.” (P. 19). Public writing requires a much larger scope of audience than private, and therefore requires more fine-tuning to adapt to more people. I think that multimodality helps with this because it provides more modes of relating to your audience.


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