With the MFA writeup due later this month, I’m posting today with guidelines for MLA citation of both artwork and wall placards you encountered during your museum visit. Obviously, information culled from the museum’s excellent website should be sourced using standard web citation rules.

In addition, I’m including guidelines for citing information culled from a course session or posted powerpoint.

Work of Art

Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV. 1800, Museo del Prado, Madrid. 1998.607.

Museum Wall Text

Wall text for The Family of Charles IV. Museo del Prado, Madrid.

Discussion or Lecture / Powerpoint Slides

Nash, Kate. Class discussion, February 8, 2019.

Nash, Kate. Class lecture, slide 5, February 8, 2019.

In all cases, In-Text Citations should refer, briefly but unambiguously, to an entry in the Works Cited list, using the first word or words of that entry: (Nash) or (Wall text) or even (Wall text for The Family of Charles IV) if you reference several wall texts, and the one you’re currently referring to isn’t clear from context.

Writing an Expository Synthesis

Your first major assignment, due in a few weeks, calls for you to write an “expository synthesis,” an authoritative report that brings readers up-to-speed with expert opinion on a topic. Whereas in an essay typically advances the author’s thesis, a report presents an understanding that is not, strictly speaking, the author’s.

That doesn’t mean your synthesis can’t be interesting or original. Look, for example, at the way New Yorker writer John Lanchester introduces “The Case Against Civilization”; while his mission is to provide a run-down of recent scholarship on the Neolithic Revolution, he opens by musing over the question of what technology he would miss most. So consider how you might give a personal “spin” to your synthesis of expert opinion.

Topics for Unit Three

“The truth of the Oak lies in the Acorn from which it sprouted”—that’s the premise of historical analysis, that we can understand the world by figuring out how and why it came to be this way. This upcoming unit asks you to choose some phenomenon of the present day—a cultural institution like professional football, a movement like gun rights, or a consumer product like skateboards—and seek a deeper understanding of that phenomenon by studying its past. Continue reading

Chicago Style Footnotes

The upcoming Campus Map and Philosophical Dialogue both present opportunities to practice Chicago Style footnote citations. After all, in-text parenthetical citations leave a relatively light footprint on the page, like so.1 Note the placement of the footnote: after the period ending the sentence, not before. This minor contrast with a parenthetic citation is especially striking when you end a sentence with a quotation:

  • MLA: “the sentence ends” (Appleby 3).
  • Chicago: “the sentence ends.”2

There are two distinct steps to creating good footnote references:

  1. Figure out how to create a footnote or endnote in your word processing app.
    • Pages, Word and GoogleDocs all have an “insert footnote” command in the Insert menu. Use it.
  2. Master the intricacies of Chicago Style footnote citations. The basic format is:
    • Book:
      • 1. Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. (New York: Harper, 2015), p 23.
    • News article:
      • 2. John Lancaster, “The Case Against Civilization,” The New Yorker, 18 Sep 2017, [page, if any].
    • Academic journal article:
      • 3. Mark Gius, “The effects of state and Federal gun control laws on school shootings,” Applied Economics Letters 25 no.5 (2018): 318.
    • A source cited earlier (the short form):
      • 4. Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens p 38.
    • A source cited in the previous note: (note that you need to give the page number, even if it’s the same as in the previous note)
      • 5. Ibid., p 38.
    • Further details and examples here.

For practice, try this Quiz: this quiz on Blackboard (scored for completion as HW).

Then, demonstrate mastery on this scored Quiz: this quiz on Blackboard.

Dialogic Transitions

Analytic Transitions

  • Object: interrupt the flow of argument
    • Exception
    • Logical Flaw
    • Unexpected Consequence
  • Question or Co-Opt: redirect the flow of argument.
    • “What about … ”
    • “What do you mean by … ”
    • “But that’s just what I’m trying to argue … ”

Narrative Transitions

  • Event: something happens that (explicitly or implicitly) shifts the terms of the debate
  • New Character: a new point of view introduced to the debate
  • Destination: characters reach a location that (explicitly or implicitly) prompts them to sum up or rethink their position
  • Time passes: “Two weeks later, …”

¶ Transitions

I’m re-posting the Paragraph Transitions page so it’s easily available to you as you craft your final essay:

Analytic Transitions

  • Explain: make sense of something described just above.
  • Build on: introduce the next step in a logical argument.
  • Question: raise a doubt or even wholly undercut the prior argument.
  • Note an unexpected consequence: this combines elements of the prior two: it builds on, but in a way that causes a tonal shift somewhat like calling into question.
  • New angle: for example, you might consider sound after focusing on visuals.
  • Zoom in: look at an instance of a trend or pattern noted just above.
  • Zoom out: name the pattern which the prior ¶'s topic is an example of.
  • Intensify: double down on a claim made just above, with (for example) more telling evidence.
  • Give another example: keep this to a minimum. It means that the ¶ fails to take us somewhere new. See if you can't present this new example as intensifying your argument, or offering a new angle on the topic.

Narrative Transitions

  • Result: what happened next.
  • Cause: what led to the events of the prior ¶
  • Lateral shift in space: Meanwhile. back at the ranch..."
  • Temporal shift: "Two weeks later, ..."

To Quote or Not to Quote?

In drawing ideas or information from a source, you have three choices:

  • Summary: boil down the idea or information, transforming a page into a sentence or an article into a paragraph.
  • Paraphrase: flesh out an idea or present information in your own words, perhaps using new examples, with only minor changes in the length.
  • Quotation: use the precise wording from the source (in quotation marks).

Let’s think about how you might use these different approaches to presenting a source, depending on the role of that source in your project. Imagine that you’re writing an essay that critiques the current system of higher education in the United States:

  1. Which method is best suited to presenting Harari’s notion of shared fictions as a Theory source?
  2. Which method is best suited to presenting a course syllabus as an Exhibit source?
  3. Which method is best suited to presenting an essay on higher education as an Argument source?
  4. Which method is best suited to presenting college enrollment statistics collated by the US government as a Background source?

Post your answers to these questions in this Google Form.

Course Description

Rhetoric 103 and 104 explore the evolution of rhetoric from the advent of writing to the digital age. The first four units, covered in Boston, center on changes connected to the Neolithic Revolution, the birth of Democracy, the Age of Exploration, and the Industrial Revolution. The final two units, covered in London, focus on discursive shifts prompted by Modernity and the Digital Revolution.

Together, we will analyze how persuasive language has shaped and been shaped by historical moments, influencing our engagement with politics, social relations, and the world around us. Each unit is focused on a specific “keyword”— literacy, citizenship, education, labor—that is both linked to the historical tipping point under discussion and being debated in our own historical moment. By reading, writing, and responding to one another critically in this class, we will learn what it means to be rigorous and ethical evaluators and producers of knowledge.

The course’s four credit hours will consist of the following: one joint lecture per week, two discussions per week, one-on-one meetings for instruction and feedback, and excursions in the Boston area linking your reading and writing to the world around you. This experiential component is meant to give you a broader perspective and to encourage more attentive interpretations of the various places you call “home.”