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The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing By Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein.

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Presentation on theme: "The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing By Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing By Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein

2  Academic writing requires to express themselves and respond to others  Effective writers do more than make claims (“I say”); they also map those claims relative to the claims of others (“They say”)  Writing as series of moves  Seasoned writers do these naturally… templates help the rest of us learn them explicitly!

3  To help you become a critical, intellectual thinker who can participate in conversations in a meaningful way. “You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, as discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about… You listen for a while, until you decide you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you… The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress” - Kenneth Burke, The Philosophy of Literary Form

4  Most importantly: writing needs a point  Not only your point, but what larger conversation your thesis is responding to  Must come first  Best to state your position and the one you’re responding to ASAP. Elaborate later!  Always keep what “they say” connected in your essay… gives you a sense of mission and urgency

5  Introduce standard views  Conventional wisdom has it that…  Introduce something implied or assumed  Although X doesn’t say so directly, she apparently assumes that….  Introduce ongoing debate  On the one hand…. On the other hand…. Others even maintain… My own view is…

6 The following claims all provide an “I Say.” See if you can supply a plausible “They Say.” What might these be responding to? 1. Our experiments suggest that there are dangerous levels of Chemical X in the Ohio groundwater. 2. My own view is that this novel has certain flaws. 3. Football is so boring. 4. I’m afraid that templates like the ones in this book will stifle my creativity.

7  Central tool  Balance between the original author and your thoughts  Theory: “The Believing Game” (Peter Elbow)  Try to inhabit their worldview– readers shouldn’t be able to tell whether you agree or disagree

8  Read what Zinczenko says  In his article, “Don’t Blame the Eater,” David Zinczenko accuses the fast food companies of an evil conspiracy to make people fat. I disagree because these companies have to make money.  Natural to summarize others quickly, but be fair  Avoid “closest cliché syndrome”  Entering conversation: study very closely and not collapse it into something you have already heard or know

9  But remember, your goal is your own response  Summary has to fit your agenda, while still being true to the text In his article “Don’t Blame the Eater,” David Zinczenko argues that today’s fast food chains fill the nutritional void in children’s lives left by their overtaxed working parents. With many parents working long hours and unable to supervise what their children eat, Zinczenko claims, children today regularly turn to low-cost, calorie- laden foods that the fast food chains are all too eager to supply. When he himself was a young boy, for instance, and his single mother was away at work, he ate at Taco Bell, McDonald’s, and other chains on a regular basis and ended up overweight. Zinczenko’s hope is that with the new spate of lawsuits against the food industry, other children with working parents will have healthier choices available to them, and they will not, like him, become obese. In my view, however, it is the parents, and not the food chains who are responsible for their children’s obesity. While it is true that many of today’s parents work long hours, there are still several things that parents can do to guarantee that their children eat healthy foods.

10  Fair summary, but also points toward the second paragraph: the writer’s thesis  Make sure your “they say” and “I say” are well matched  Avoid LIST summaries Bottom line: Summarize the author’s views accurately, in a way that fits your own agenda. DO NOT, however, ignore or misrepresent the source.

11  Signal verbs that fit  Authors don’t “say” or “discuss”  They “urge” “emphasize” and “insist on”  Vivid and precise  She demonstrates that…  In fact, they celebrate the fact that…  _______, he admits.

12  Making a claim  Argue  Insist  Assert  Believe  Claim  Emphasize  Observe  Remind us  Report  Suggest  Expressing Agreement  Acknowledge  Admire  Agree  Celebrate the fact that  Corroborate  Do not deny  Endorse  Extol  Praise  Reaffirm  Support  Verify

13  Questioning or Disagreeing  Complain  Complicate  Contend  Contradict  Deny  Deplore  Disavow  Question  Refute  Reject  Renounce  Repudiate  Making Recommendations  Advocate  Call for  Demand  Encourage  Exhort  Implore  Plead  Recommend  Urge  Warn

14  To get a feel for Peter Elbow’s “believing game,” write a summary of some belief that you strongly disagree with. Then write a summary of the position that you actually hold on the topic. Give both summaries to a classmate and see if they can tell which position you endorse. If you’ve succeeded, they won’t be able to tell!

15  Write two different one paragraph summaries of David Zinczenko’s “Don’t Blame the Eater.”  Write the first one for an essay arguing that, contrary to what Zinczenko claims, there are inexpensive and convenient alternatives to fast food restaurants.  Write the second for an essay that agrees with Zinczenko in blaming fast food companies for youthful obesity, but questions his view tht bringing lawsuits against those companies is a legitimate response to the problem.  Compare the two; though they are of the same article, they should look very different!

16  Quoting gives credibility to your summary  Helps ensure that it is fair and accurate  Don’t quote too little/Don’t quote too much  Major problem: assuming the quotations speak for themselves  Orphan Quotations: they’ve been taken away from their contexts, and need to be integrated into their new surroundings

17  Two ways to achieve this integration: 1. Choose quotations wisely 2. Surround every major quotation with a frame explaining whose words they are, what the quotation means and how the quotation relates to your text. Quoting what THEY SAY must always be connected to what YOU SAY!!

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