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How to read arguments 10.8.2013 Prof. Kingsley ENGL 116.

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Presentation on theme: "How to read arguments 10.8.2013 Prof. Kingsley ENGL 116."— Presentation transcript:

1 How to read arguments Prof. Kingsley ENGL 116

2 Working with arguments: The topic The overall argument on that topic The individual sections’ arguments Supporting ideas Supporting examples

3 The overall argument: Reflection (aka…checking in with your reading process) Without your book or any notes… Brainstorm the important terms (ideas) Clay Shirky presents in Here Comes Everybody. Think: What is significant? Create a list. (example: collective action)

4 Now, look back at your notes Under your list of terms or ideas you remembered, add in ideas or terms that you marked or observed in the text. INCLUDE PAGE NUMBERS.

5 As a group Choose one team member to record or document the ideas (the “scribe”) Each team member in the group should read out loud their reflection and their list of observations The “scribe” can record important ideas (especially those that echo). After each person has read his/her list, as a group, decide on what you think are the most significant terms or ideas based on your groups reflections. Write those terms out and be ready to share with the class

6 Constructing a summary of an overall argument What is the topic of the text? What is Shirky exploring? (Topics are usually issues or concerns or particular categories people will then have argument about—a matter, a subject, a question: Poverty in developing countries, Unemployment in America, The Federal Government Shutdown, College Education and Technology) Argument: What is Shirky saying about this topic? What argument is he making? As a group, try to piece together Shirky’s argument in your own words.

7 Chapter summaries: using textual clues Before we start the process of writing out chapter summaries, what kinds of textual clues or reading clues exist in each chapter. Are there any indications or places where the argument is highlighted (look for italics, bolded points, etc.). What do you see? Which ones seem significant?

8 Example (clue: chapter title) Chapter title: “It takes a village to find a phone” QUESTIONS! Let’s start asking questions to get to the arguments in the text? What village? Who? Why does it take a village to find a phone? How does the village form?

9 Chapter summaries As individuals (though use your group for help) sketch out 1-2 sentence chapter summary for each of the three chapters.

10 Group Presentations My example: “#Unplug: Baratunde Thurston Left the Internet For 25 Days, and You Should, Too” Once you have selected your group, you should plan a schedule for selecting your article, sending the article out to us, preparing the presentation, and presenting. Once you have finished your group presentation, you will have an individual write up due (posted to your blog).

11 Getting us engaged Take 2 minutes and write out all the social media sites you belong to.

12 Laying out the main ideas What is the article? Who wrote it? Where? Is the author significant? What is the topic? What is the argument or main idea presented? EXAMPLE: Baratunde Thurston is a comedian, author, entrepreneur. He is an upcoming “figure” or “influencer” who is steering young, tech culture. This is an article about Thurston’s ability (and inability) to disconnect from his entrenched digital world.

13 Tell the story of the article What happens? What takes place? What arguments are presented? What supporting points? What examples? Example: Thurston decides to unplug for 25 days and writes about this experience. His experience throughout this experiment shows how difficult (and necessary) it really is to disconnect. However, disconnection allows you to reflect and solidify ideas and relationships rather than be scared of constantly missing out on them. He is a “connected man,” and finds himself constantly in a digital/social media circus. His life “became so mobile”(2). He discusses how he has an “addiction to constant connectivity”(2). In order to disconnect, he argues that you have to prep, dis-entangle the FOMO, warn everyone, and turn off all the settings that keep you connected. As he moves through the process of disconnection, Thurston realizes how much connectivity can distract. Disconnecting actually allows you to connect to those around you more clearly and with better focus. He finds more “presence,” finds new ideas, and realizes how obsessed with information (any information) he had become.

14 Get us to have a conversation Lead us to passages In detoxing off of the internet, Thurston writes: “There are a plethora of posts on digital detox….(4)…. Why can’t he commit to “that”? What is that? What is FOMO? And, why do you think it is so strong in Thurston? Do we have that same fear? (or do you have that same fear? How so?)

15 Conversation continued Another passage: In his discussion of how to free oneself or escape social media, Thurston argues “The more I tried to control these data streams, the more I realized that everything is too integrated”(7). What is integrated? Why? What do these integrations of technologies give us? What do they take away (in Thurston’s case)?

16 Other things to bring in? Having us look at and analyze specific passages is going to be a necessary practice in getting us to talk about the text…HOWEVER… You could also bring in a related idea or image or video You could bring in a related (short text) or quote You could have us look at the visuals on the page

17 Wrapping It up… What can we take away from an article like this? What is relevant or important… Example: So what can we take away? How easy would it be to take Thurston’s advice? Is is valid? Or, is there a real


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