Short Papers

These short assignments (minimum 700 words, submitted via email) give you an opportunity to reflect on our readings and to add your own thinking to the conversation. Each Short Paper should complete two main steps: analysis and application.

The first part of your paper should focus on analyzing our readings on rhetoric from Aristotle (first Short Paper), Burke (second Short Paper), and Bogost (third Short Paper). Your analysis should address the following prompts:

  • You should identify the main purpose of the reading: its main argument, how it defines or frames rhetoric, and/or its other main ideas. Help us understand the author’s thinking and what they add to our understanding of rhetoric.
  • Look at specific passages, points, examples, or quotes to ground and support your analysis, to give us a more specific sense for the author’s thinking.
  • Finally, situate the reading in a larger context. There are a few ways this can happen. You can comment on how this reading fits with its historical circumstances, or how it compares to other readings or understandings of rhetoric, or how it is useful or limited in helping us understand the digital world, or something else along these lines.

In the second part of your paper, you should apply the thinking of the reading to some aspect of digital culture. You are welcome to pick anything that is relevant to our class concerns, whether it is something we have already discussed as a class or not. Tell us about this aspect of digital culture and explain how the reading helps us understand it. Similarly, you might use your example to help us understand the reading in a new way or to help us see the limits of the reading and to think beyond it. Overall, your writing should help us better understand the reading and some aspect of or example from digital culture.