Weekly Microthemes

Microthemes are 500-word papers that serve as your "talking points" for that week's discussion, and they will be graded on a credit/no credit basis. Papers are due 48 hours prior to class, and late papers will receive no credit. Your work on these papers will account for 15% of your final grade. Please do not exceed 500 words.

If we are reading multiple pieces during a given week, please devote some space to each of the readings. However, you can devote more space to one of the readings if you'd like.

These papers need not be completely polished prose, but they should provide evidence that you've read the week's readings carefully and that you've developed some ideas for our discussions. They should be devoted to finding connections amongst our readings and to raising questions. They should not focus on whether or not you agree with the author(s).

Some questions that might guide a Microtheme paper are (this list is not exhaustive):

  • What definitions of rhetoric and/or composition are assumed or outwardly stated by the author?
  • What is the relationship of this text to others that we've read?
  • How has the author constructed his or her argument? Why?
  • Who are the possible audiences for this piece?
  • What kinds of evidence are being used? Why?
  • What possible counter-arguments could be raised? Who would raise them? Why?
  • What scholarly problem is the author addressing? How have others addressed this problem?
  • What body of scholarship is the author engaging with? What other scholarly conversations might we connect this piece to?

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