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PWR 2KTA: A Rebel with a Cause: The Rhetoric of Giving a Damn

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Dr. Tarr talks about the theme of her course.

Tarana Burke's #MeToo was genius, but it didn't gain viral traction until Alyssa Milano – best known for her acting roles in Who's The Boss and Charmed – tweeted it out more than a decade later in 2017. Celebrity plays such a significant role in public enthusiasm and media reporting. If efforts are lesser known, can they still make substantial impact? When do cumulative efforts tip an issue toward a cause's favor, and who is ultimately credited with a movement's success? These are the types of questions students will investigate throughout the course.

During the quarter, we will explore a variety of movements from equality and legal rights to scientific discovery. Ultimately, students will use knowledge gained to assist delivery of research, both in written and oral form, in cultural contexts and from the disciplinary perspective of students' choosing. Potential avenues of research span human rights for Hmong in Laos to the mathematics of austerity. Major assignments require drafts/rehearsals, conferencing, and written reflections.

Major Assignments

Research Proposal

(5 minute oral presentation; written text of 900-1200 words) Students will begin the quarter by proposing original research related to a movement or cause. Options may include comparing and contrasting individual activists' efforts, proposing an organization's strategic plan, or analyzing the foundations of a cause itself. Students will workshop and reflect upon their presentations in written form.

Written Research-Based Argument

(3000-3600 words; approximately 10-12 pages) Using the research and writing skills developed in PWR 1 and further developed in this course and building upon research proposals, students will synthesize a range of perspectives in an argumentative paper. Topics may include how to prioritize the value of human life in border town economies, methods of disaster relief preparation on the global scale, or miscalculations in austerity economics.

Delivery of Research

(10 minute oral presentation with appropriate multimedia support) Students will translate print-based research arguments into educational and creative oral presentations to the class. Students will explore strategies of delivery and make decisions about which media will be the most effective as support for their arguments.

Genre/Modes Assignment

Students will participate in a Comedy Workshop and deliver their own insights about their topics stand-up style to the class.