GWRTC 103: Fall 2011
Discourse Community Assignment
Purpose: The purpose of the assignment is to determine how language helps you establish and maintain collective identities, amplify the harmonies and dissonances among those identities, and to clarify the ways we use language to negotiate different affiliations and solidarities in our daily lives.
As you examine the interviews, visuals, and/or descriptions, you should try to pinpoint the following:
Although I expect you to write about these five categories in your final analysis, it is likely that other important categories and questions will arise during your study. Please feel free to explore them. Try to observe my criteria, but don’t feel limited by them.
As your research progresses outside class, we will continue reading about communal identity. Once you have composed this brief “essay”/ collected “data” about the discourse conventions of your group, you will have a case study or mini-ethnography.
Next, you should use the information you have gathered about your discourse community to create an auto-ethnography. You can do this in whichever genre you see fit so long as you are presenting a text (which can be visuals, audio, stories, etc.) that presents your discourse community back to us in a manner we can fully comprehend. Last week we looked at work by Chris Offutt and Amy Tan as representative of textual auto-ethnographies and you were asked to consider if they used any tactics you might borrow. Both of those authors used their texts to display their discourse communities while also subtly and blatantly critiquing the larger discourse community they reside within. For example, Offutt pokes fun at sociologists who study where he’s from while Tan reflects on the ways first-language English speakers interact with or ignore her mother. These are the tactics that make their work auto-ethnographic. They are using a standard English form to describe themselves, illustrating how they are constructed by others, and critiquing our gaze of them or refusal to see the “true” essence of who they are.
As always you should proofread for clarity and provide ample explanation of your main points. Since you are presenting these communities to us, don’t assume we know anything about them. Be sure to explain terms and/or behavior specific to the group.
An “A” level paper will demonstrate all of the points described above with minimal surface errors
A “B” level paper will demonstrate most of the points described above
A “C” level paper will demonstrate a limited number of the points initially described above
Anything below a C will be poorly developed or supported, have limited word choice, and an accumulation of errors throughout.