Overview: In this assignment, we will focus on a type of rhetorical criticism called ideological criticism, engaging with a major critical concept of the arts and humanities: ideology. After learning about ideology, and how to recognize it, each student will choose and critique a rhetorical artifact (an article, a movie, a book, an institutional website, etc.) revealing how the artifact helps to achieve hegemony by emphasizing dominant ideological paradigms while silencing conflicting ideologies or suppressing real/concrete conditions.Purpose: Your purpose is to liberate a particular audience from ideological oppression through a thorough and helpful critique of an ideological artifact.Audience: Your audience for this assignment should be a relevant stakeholder within the ideological power dynamics you are critiquing. Audience and purpose are inseparably linked in rhetoric and in an ideological critique the purpose is to help liberate an audience that is in some way oppressed by the dominant ideology. Subject: you should pick and critique an ideology that has some relevance in and to the humanities, thus your audience should also be interested in issues of the humanities (or you should be able to convince them they should be interested from a humanities perspective). Development: A thorough critique will develop claims (with supporting reasons and evidence from primary and secondary sources) that show an audience how hegemony is achieved through the ideology.Context: You will use a research-based approach to situate the artifact within the wider socio-economic and cultural contexts in order to reveal to your audience the marginalized realities.
Organization:You will use rational, thoughtful, strategic and clear positioning and transitioning of and between the parts of the critique in order to best meet the expectations and constraints of the audience.Style: You will create an appropriate writing persona fit for the conventions of public argumentation. Required Parts: We will use class/homework time to attain the skills necessary to fulfill these requirements. Our class readings and resources will set you up to successfully meet these assignment requirements. Note that there is no rhetorical formula and we will discuss various ways to organize these requirements into an effective and coherent critique.1. Describe the ideological artifact to your audienceUse language to make it visible (Ekphrasis)Situate the artifact rhetorically; explain how the artifact is an argument (Bitzer, Rhetorical Situation)2. Identify the ideology the artifact contains for you audience Formulate the dominate ideology and its wider range Use experts to define your terms and introduce your theoretical toolsIdentify the present and suggested elements of the artifact and how they work ideologically—what function do they elements serve?3. Explain the oppressive nature of the ideological artifact and how ideological domination is achieved in this instance.Explain the usefulness of an ideological critique as a liberating functionIdentify the ideological functions in play (dissemination, legitimization, reification, fragmentation, unification) Identify Kairos and stakes 4. Reveal the marginalized/hidden material reality Provide relevant facts hidden or marginalized by the ideology. Use a research-based approach 5. Reframe the narrative Offer a reframing in line with your audience’s agency. For example, you might use Burke’s Dramatism as a guide to offering alterative reality narrativesYour conclusion might offer ways your audience might further free themselves from ideological oppression.
Formatting & Logistics Format your argument and document your sources according to your discipline’s conventions and include a Works Cited Page. (Though we are critiquing for a public audience, a style of writing that usually does not utilize documentation systems, we are situated in a context where academic integrity and our ongoing development as scholars require us to take a hybrid approach where we integrate academic documentation systems into our public discourse).Bring a fresh and full workshop draft to each workshop to get full assignment credit onSubmit your final, polished draft by uploading it onto the Assignments folder before class on 10/8. We will discuss the appropriate number of sources in class as we work on Context & Development, but, generally, 10 sources are about average for this assignment.Paper Length: 6-8 pages, double-spaced
First Draft: 10/1