english class

Project Description:

length: 2-3 pages

audience: members of the discourse community of ub writ 200 students.

objective: this task is in two parts. you might find it easier to approach if you think of it as two separate tasks.

first, identify and describe a non-academic discourse community that you belong to (or one that you are familiar with).

second, explain how your participation in that d.c. has prepared you to participate in the d.c. of academic writers and scholars.

context: this essay prompt is somewhat inspired by gerald graff's "hidden intellectualism," in which he explains how his boyhood interest in sports paved the way for his later success as a university professor. talking about sports with his friends, he writes, introduced him to “the rudiments of intellectual life: how to make an argument, weigh different kinds of evidence, move between particulars and generalizations, summarize the views of others, and enter a conversation about ideas.”

in “blue-collar brilliance,” similarly, mike rose examines the high level of intellectual ability that is required to succeed in the working-class world. he challenges the common assumption that the skills used in academic work are of a different kind than those used in physical labor.

although neither graff nor rose uses the term “discourse communities," the concept is closely related to their arguments. we can easily see how the idea of a d.c. can be applied to sports fans, waitresses, and shop foremen.

(in case you're wondering, "what's the big deal about discourse communities anyway?" -- let me point out that the writ 200 portfolio rubric uses the term in several places. one of the learning outcomes for this course is to understand and apply the discourse conventions of academic writers and scholars.)

tying all the above together, then, your task for this essay is to convince your readers that the skills or expertise you have developed through your membership in a specific discourse community are relevant to your ability to succeed as a ub student. where appropriate, draw on the characteristics of a d.c. as defined by swales to describe your discourse community. use specific details and examples to support your analysis.

remember, your first draft can be as "shitty" as it needs to be! just get something down -- let yourself be surprised! and please use the discussion board to talk about your ideas before you dive into the writing itself.
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