WRD 104: Composition & Rhetoric II Rotating Header Image


Saturday NYT: “It’s Showtime. Watch the Closing Doors, Please.”

“We’re very close in a subway car, but there are a lot of norms around keeping in your space,” Ms. Goldman said. What happens when you challenge those norms?

Sure enough, a fascinated horror crept across many faces in the car. People got that look they get when the subway break-dancing men dangle from the ceiling, and the commuters are happy to hear that the men don’t do drugs, but they still don’t want someone falling on their heads.

And yet, as another pair of artists suggested in their performance, it is precisely this contact, this possibility of mutual space invasion among very different souls, that makes the city’s transit system so thrilling and vital — and worthy of artistic processing.

Event site (NY Transit Museum)

April 19, 2014

Your generation, represented

From “Millennial Searchers” (November 30, 2013)

Meaning, of course, is a mercurial concept. But it’s one that social scientists have made real progress understanding and measuring in recent years. Social psychologists define meaning as a cognitive and emotional assessment of the degree to which we feel our lives have purpose, value and impact. In our joint research, we are looking closely at what the building blocks of a meaningful life are. Although meaning is subjective — signifying different things to different people — a defining feature is connection to something bigger than the self. People who lead meaningful lives feel connected to others, to work, to a life purpose, and to the world itself. There is no one meaning of life, but rather, many sources of meaning that we all experience day to day, moment to moment, in the form of these connections.

Search the New York Times for more Millennial-generation articles. For example, “For Millennials, a Generational Divide”: “Young adults do not think and act alike, as it turns out. In fact, some do not want to be called millennials at all.”

Times Topics is also very useful for research on other projects, in other classes. As a subscriber, you have full-text database access to New York Times articles going back to 1851.

April 18, 2014

Identifying issues related to your Inquiry Questions

From your St. Martin’s Guide, 1.3.a

  • What is it? What are its characteristics, dimensions, features, and parts? What do your senses tell you about it?
  • What caused it? What changes occurred to create your issue? How is it changing? How will it change?
  • What is it like or unlike? What features differentiate your issue from others? What analogies can you make about your issues?
  • What larger system is the issue a part of? How does your issue relate to this system?
  • What do people say about it? What reactions does your issue arouse? What about the issue causes those reactions?
April 17, 2014

Holden Review

April 16, 2014

Background for “Mark My Words. Maybe.”

Jamison’s home page. “Empathy Exams” book description:

Beginning with her experience as a medical actor who was paid to act out symptoms for medical students to diagnose, Leslie Jamison’s visceral and revealing essays ask essential questions about our basic understanding of others: How can we feel another’s pain, especially when pain can be assumed, distorted, or performed? By confronting pain—real and imagined, her own and others’—Jamison uncovers a personal and cultural urgency to feel. She draws from her own experiences of illness and bodily injury to engage in an exploration that extends far beyond her life, spanning wide-ranging territory—from poverty tourism to phantom diseases, street violence to reality television, illness to incarceration—in its search for a kind of sight shaped by humility and grace.

Sunday NYT Book Review: Empathy Exams.

Jamison opens with her experience as an actor playing patients for medical students. “I’m called a standardized patient, which means I act toward the norms set for my disorders.” Sometimes, working from a script, she plays a mother whose baby’s lips are turning blue, and sometimes a young woman whose grief over her brother’s death manifests as seizures. The students are assessed on how empathically they respond to her character’s pain. Sensitive questioning elicits vital detail; clumsy handling causes the actor-patient to clam up.

Interview: Paris Review.

“I am human: nothing human is alien to me.”
“Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto.”

Banksy echo

Selfie Project

April 14, 2014

In this Week’s “Education Life” section

“What You Don’t Know About Financial Aid (but Should)”

Education Life section.

Print & Digital Reading Literacy Practices: My Example

Article: “Hidden After Offending, Mural at a State Office Is Back, for Peeks Only”

My experience reading this article in four different ways:

  • First, in print, early a.m., with coffee [physical environment: Starbucks]
  • Next, via the Replica edition PDF [physical environment: home, on a laptop or in my office, on a desktop]
  • Next, on my phone [everywhere — CTA Red Line, on the street, sitting outside]
  • Finally, via the web NYTimes.com version [in my office, throughout the day]

I start my day with the print version of the New York Times. This particular article caught my attention because it is about an interesting piece of art, has political implications, and raises issues about representation and race.


April 13, 2014

An example of conflicting claims

From “The Future of Reading: Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?” New York Times, July 27, 2008

April 12, 2014

Analysis & Opinion, Typographically

Page One: Inside the New York Times (2011)


Watch via Netflix

April 10, 2014


April 9, 2014

Efferent vs. Aesthetic Reading Practices

Louise Rosenblatt explains  that readers approach texts in ways that can be viewed as aesthetic or efferent. The question is why the reader is reading and what the reader aims to get out of the reading:

  • Efferent reading: reading to take away particular bits of information, such as when reading most textbooks.  We are not usually interested in the rhythms of the language or the prose style but focused on obtaining a piece of information.  Rosenblatt suggests that, “the reader’s attention is primarily focused on what will remain as a residue after the reading — the information to be acquired, the logical solution to a problem, the actions to be carried out.” An example would be a deep-sea fishing guide to decide where to go fishing, or a textbook to learn about the economic causes of the Great Depression. 
  • Aesthetic reading: reading to explore the work, the world, and one’s self: “in aesthetic reading, the reader’s attention is centered directly on what she is living through during her relationship with that particular text.” An example would be reading Hemingway’s Old Man and The Sea to live through a deep-sea fishing adventure, or the Grapes of Wrath to plumb the emotional depths of living through the Great Depression. One would not read the Old Man and The Sea to learn how to deep-sea fish, nor the Grapes of Wrath to examine the economic factors that caused the Great Depression.

April 5th, 1968

April 6, 2014

Welcome to WRD104

“We are what we find, not what we search for.”
– Piero Scaruffi

Welcome to WRD104 — Spring Quarter, 2014

In WRD 104 we focus on the kinds of academic and public writing that use materials drawn from research to shape defensible arguments and plausible conclusions. As the second part of the two-course sequence in First Year Writing, WRD 104 continues to explore relationships between writers, readers, and texts in a variety of technological formats.

You’ll be happy to note, I hope, that we build on your previous knowledge and experiences; that is, we don’t assume that you show up here a blank slate. We assume that you have encountered interesting people, have engaging ideas, and have something to say. A good writing course should prepare you to take those productive ideas into other courses and out into the world, where they belong, and where you can defend them and advocate for them.

If you have a project from another course that you would like to continue, or a community project that would benefit from rigorous research, or a professional aspiration that needs research-based support, this is the course for you.

Writing Center

Finally, it’s no secret around here that students who take early and regular advantage of DePaul’s Center for Writing-based Learning not only do better in their classes, but also benefit from the interactions with the tutors and staff in the Center.

A Well Cultivated Critical Thinker:

  • Raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely;
  • Gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it, effectively comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
  • Thinks openmindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, ideologies, implications, and practical consequences; and
  • Communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.

Critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities and a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism. – Adapted from Richard Paul and Linda Elder, The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, Foundation for Critical Thinking Press, 2008

“A persistent effort to examine any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the evidence that supports it and the further conclusions to which it tends.” Edward M. Glaser.An Experiment in the Development of Critical Thinking. 1941.

March 7, 2014