Writing With Substance: You Can Haz it! SRSLY!

Reading and Writing Assignment 3

For this assignment, you will need to read the two essays I mentioned in this book's section on history. In the first of these, "Beyoncé's Second Skin (Part I)," Natalia Cecire analyzes Beyoncé's video material through screen shots and animated gifs, but also contextualizes the content of both (especially the infamous napkin drop) within a variety of historical moments and cultural forms. These include the biopic about Tina Turner (from 1993) and another Beyoncé song featuring Jay-Z (from 2003) as well as a 19th-century doll called the Topsy-Turvy doll and a photograph of Josephine Baker (1906-1975). In discussing the oldest of these examples, Cecire draws upon the work of Robin Bernstein, a scholar of African and African American Studies and Gender studies at Harvard; more specifically, she uses insights from Bernstein's book, Racial Innocence, to think through the way the videos are not only taking archetypal gestures and "flipping them," but also to draw attention to the dynamics of race, class, and gender that make the significance of such "flipping" difficult to pin down. In the second, “The University and the Company Man,” Tressie McMillan Cottom invokes historical shifts in thinking about education and labor since the 1950s, including, but not limited to the G.I. BillIn discussing these shifts and their implications for the current value and future of higher education, she draws on multiple studies by Sociologists and economists. 
1. Once you have read both of these essays, open a document and write a paragraph that conveys what you've learned from each about the history of the subject they discuss. If you already had some knowledge of the subjects, explain how these writers' attention to history enhanced your understanding.  
2. For item 2 of this assignment, you'll need to focus on the second essay. You can see that, by virtue of the publication in which the essay appears, McMillan Cottom alludes to work by multiple scholars but does not include full (or in some cases even partial) citations for the scholarship on which the essay draws. This essay is exemplary of the way academic scholarship informs writing in public forums; it appears in an online publication described by its editors or founders as an "intellectual journal," but it is a quarterly magazine and not precisely an academic journal. Accordingly, the essay also helps us understand the role that sources play for readers of academic work: whereas casual readers will be content to learn from a piece, an academic reader will want to build upon it and therefore will need to follow up by reading at least some of the work the piece cites in addition to the piece itself. In order to further inform yourself about the relationship McMillan Cottom identifies, you will need to track down her source materials from the information she provides. Log into the university portal and access the library databases; using Lexicat (for books) and a general database or one whose contents include both sociology and economics scholarship (for articles), see if you can find work by the following scholars:
  • Arne Kalleberg 
  • Nir Jaimovich and Henry Siu 
  • Anthony Sampson 
  • Jacob Hacker 
  • Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi 
For each of the above scholars (or pairs), list the publication(s) you find in your searches that you think are the specific studies McMillan Cottom has mentioned; you may also list any others you find along the way that might (also) be relevant for further research on the same topic or related topics. (You can cut and paste these into your document)
4. For both essays, go through and find places where each writer introduces a direct quotation or paraphrases another author's research. Copy and paste the phrasing each writer uses in 3 instances, using bullet points under each writer's name. 
5. PRINT OUT your Assignment 3 and bring it to class to submit in person. If you find you won't be in class, you can upload it to the link for submitting work "In Absentia" on Blackboard.

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