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Now that you have digested the generic expectations of scholarly criticism, proposed a text/artifact for analysis, and laid out the criticism tools available to you, this paper asks you to bring it all home!  The time has come to produce your own piece of rhetorical criticism.

As a meaning detective, you will use the tools laid out in your last paper to make observations and conduct an analysis of your artifact(s)/text.  You have three central tasks in this 6-8 page paper (12 pt font, double-spaced, 1 inch margins).

  1. Position your text in a scholarly context AND a cultural context
  2. Illustrate your understanding of the tools of criticism by actually using the tools to analyze your artifact(s)/text.  
  3. Conclude how your artifact(s)/text are in conversation with something politically or socially important in our shared world.

To help you with this endeavor, your paper must employ the following headings and should be structured as follows:

  • Introduction & Justification of Artifact(s)/Texts (.5 pg)

To begin your paper you will briefly reintroduce your artifact(s)/text and preview your paper.  DO NOT DUPLICATE YOUR INTRODUCTION FROM THE PREVIOUS PAPER.  You are to craft a solid paragraph that justifies why scholars AND everyday people should care about your selected object.  This section MUST end with a thesis statement that summarizes the central argument in your analysis/social-political conclusion sections.

  • Cultural Context  (1 pg)

In this section you will position your artifact(s)/text in a cultural context.   What other artifacts are like the one under analysis?  What cultural situation/issue gives rise to your text/artifact?  Is your artifact responding to a cultural problem?  Is it reifying a cultural problem?  Does it do a little bit of both?   What are the central cultural issues surrounding your artifact and where does your artifact fit in relation to that issue.  You MUST cite two external cultural sources in this section.

  • Scholarly Context (1 pg)

In this section you will position your artifact(s)/text in a scholarly context.  If the final section of your last paper went well, then this is an opportunity to expand on it (if it didn’t go so well you have an opportunity to redeem yourself J). What are other scholars saying about your artifact (or an artifact that is similar)?  Make an argument about how the analysis you are about to do (in the next section) joins this scholarly conversation.  You MUST cite two external SCHOLARLY sources in this section.

  • Rhetorical Analysis (3 pgs)

The rhetorical analysis section is the core of your paper! You will use the three tools proposed in your last paper to finally become an actual meaning detective.  This section MUST consist entirely of fresh observations about your artifact(s)/text.  The only citations that will appear in these pages are when you are making use of a criticism tool.   The best way to organize this section is to dedicate one page each to each tool and illustrate your observations about the meaning(s) communicated in your artifact(s)/text using that tool.

  • Socio-Political Conclusion (1 pg)

Once you have drawn out the various meanings circulating in your artifact(s)/text, it is time to conclude and answer the “so what!?” question.   Given the meanings you find in your artifact(s)/text, how are those meanings in conversation with something politically or socially important in our shared world?  Why does an analysis of a seemingly small topic like yours have large-scale implications for our society?

In addition to your 6-8pgs, you are also required to provide a properly formatted (APA) bibliography.   That bibliography will include:

  • At least 2 external scholarly sources cited in section three
    • At least 2 cultural sources cited in section two
    • Brummett and other relevant class reading
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