Analysis Paper

One of our main goals throughout the semester is to practice analysis, a critical method for offering insight into the texts we read and how they work. This assignment asks you to produce an analysis that draws on concepts we have discussed and texts we have read so far this semester. Your analysis should be 700-1000 words, should make substantial use of at least one of our class readings, should be posted on your class website, and should address one of the following prompts.

  • Taylor takes up questions of property, ownership, and the common good. She advocates for the cultural commons – a sharing of culture so that all can benefit and participate – and yet she worries that the notion of “free culture” allows corporations and other entities to take advantage of cultural producers. Analyze the relationship between digital culture and capitalism.
  • The notion of the virtual helps us think about capacities for expression, the intangible possibilities inside an object that can be expressed when the conditions are right: this metal and plastic becomes a smartphone, Twitter becomes a platform for social action but also harassment, this mining wastewater and these geese combine to make new organisms that fight disease and clean the water. We can’t necessarily see the virtual possibilities for how an object might express itself – these things emerge over time as objects enter relations with different objects. Drawing on the notion of the virtual, analyze how the digital world embodies possibilities that did not exist before the widespread availability of digital technologies. What are these new possibilities? What are their implications?
  • Several of our authors take up questions of activism, of what social action looks like in the digital age and how effective it can be. Analyze the possibilities for social action in digital environments.
  • Digital technologies help shape our identities and orientations: how we understand ourselves, how we present ourselves in digital spaces, how we relate to and treat others. Analyze the relationship between the digital and identity/orientation.

Grading

This assignment will count as a short assignment, but it can also contribute to your Social Media Project grade.

  • A. The analysis is excellent. It offers a close reading of one or more of our class readings in a way that addresses the prompt and adds new insights to our understanding of the reading. This grade earns you credit for the short assignment and 5 bonus points on the Social Media Project grade.
  • B. The analysis is good. It offers a close reading of one or more of our class readings in a way that satisfactorily addresses the prompt. This grade earns you credit for the short assignment and 3 bonus points on the Social Media Project grade.
  • C. The analysis is acceptable. It shows some engagement with one or more of our class readings and attempts to address the prompt. This grade earns you credit for the short assignment.
  • D. This analysis fails to address the assignment. It might be too short or fail to effectively address our class readings and/or the prompt. This grade translates into an incomplete on the short assignment.