Unit 1: Discourse Community Assignment (1000 to 1200 word minimum)
ROUGH DRAFT Due September 30th:
We have read and thought about the concept of a discourse community. We have also read and are reading work by several authors who engage the idea of discourse communities. In our work thus far, we have examined the way these works are shaped by audience, purpose, content, and tone. For this assignment, you will pick an issue or problem that is important to one of your discourse communities—if you want, you can choose a discourse community connected to one of the texts that we have read.
You also have the option of continuing what you already began in your previous shorter assignment.
Then you will do the following: Research the problem you have identified, its solutions, and what has already been done to address the issue at hand. You will be doing mostly internet-based research; however, you may also find it useful to interview people involved with the problem. Find three or four relevant sources: make sure your sources are reliable, keep track of them, and take notes—YOU CAN USE what you already found from your previous assignment, or come up with a new idea and new/other sources.
Please then write a letter, speech, or poem to someone (or a group) outside of your/this discourse community that you have chosen. Keep in mind your audience and how they may perceive you. For example, in the case of Wollstonecraft, she knows her audience sees her as less powerful and of a lower status. Think about your position in relation to your audience, and use Wollstonecraft, Xango, or Malcolm X as a model. Write a speech, letter, or poem that calls attention to a problem or issue that is central to your DC.
Things to keep in mind: Your goal is to make your audience respect the issue that you are raising and to see it from your perspective. Remember, your audience does not necessarily know or understand your point of view; they may not even consider what you are discussing to be a problem. Or they may understand what you are raising, but perhaps they have a different perspective on the issue. Give specific examples and details to illustrate the issue, make it very clear what you believe must be done, what is at stake, details of the issue, etc. Persuade your reader that they should care about your community and its problem/issue/conflict. This is a letter, speech, or poem, and, therefore, a particular genre with conventions/rules or expectations attached to it. Make sure you follow the conventions related to this genre—you can spend some time also looking up information on types of poetry and/or please contact me if you have questions. You are writing to a specific discourse community and you must navigate their particular values, beliefs and ways of communicating in order to maintain their attention—if your audience is young children for example, what kind of language would they not understand, or, what kind of terms should you be sure to use–keep your audience in mind as you make writing choices. Make sure to properly cite any research you include in your piece. I will be posting links to MLA citation—you CAN include quotes from your sources, but again, if you choose to do so, use MLA citation/format.
How will this be graded? Your audience and genre is clear. Your tone and diction (language use/style) are appropriate for your audience. You give a specific reason(s) as to why your audience should care about your issue. You submit your assignment on time. Your letter, speech, or poem is approximately 1000 words. You proofread carefully.
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