Like in ENG 101, we have a required research project, only this one will be different. Instead of one, extended research project, you will choose a project focus that you sustain across the semester.
Since the conversation at John Jay is always about JUSTICE--- social justice--- this project will be about digital justice. Focus on a social justice issue that YOU are passionate about, something that you want to stay informed about for your own wisdom. How do those rhetors live their cause digitally?
Choose your justice issue intentionally. Make interesting choices. Be bold. Be adventurous. Be unique. And, most of all, make sure that you like this issue because you will be spending a lot of time with it this semester. You attend a college in New York City committed to social justice. In every class, you experience the full range of world heritages and world languages. You are amongst the first generation of college students who were born in a digital world (NOTE: for those of you who think it only NORMAL and commonsense to send a minimum of 200 texts per day, this ain’t how everybody behaves!) You have a unique contribution to make in this project. Step up to the plate ….and swinnnnnnng!
The hardest part of this project is choosing your topic. It needs to be something that interests you because you need to stick with it for 2/3 of the semester. The issue also needs to have a level of complexity to it. The topic that you choose will really show whether you are thinking from the perspective of high school research paper or a college-level inquiry project. For instance, many students want to look at really broad, general interest topics: gang violence, drug abuse, child abuse, or trafficking. Those topics are fine but you need to narrow in. The two best projects last year were quite specific: Zachary Gopaul's work on sneaker violence and Yodalin Peralta's work on #SOSVenezuela. Notice how specific these topics are: Zachary is looking at a very specific issue of violence and consumption; Yodalin is looking at a very specific moment in Venezeluan history.
Here are your options:
- Is there an artist (musician, painter, dancer), poet, scholar, or writer who you would like to follow? This has to be someone who maintains a social media/digital presence themselves--- not the machine/record company behind them--- and has a social justice focus. You are going to take a look at their archive of work and the new work they do this spring.
- Is there an activist or activist group who you would like to follow? You are going to explore the social justice issue(s) that motivates the group or person. The person or group has to be directing and maintaining their own social media/digital presence though. You are going to take a look at their archive of work and the new work they do this spring.
- Is there a cause that you would like to follow? This is a bit more work, but it is do-able. You will need to find two different artists, activists, or groups committed to this one cause and then compare their archive of work and the new work they do this spring.
Your first task with this project is to write about the choice you have made for your project. This writing will eventually go on your ePortfolio where you will also showcase any videos, images, and music that give further weight, import, and impact to what this person or group of people accomplishes. For now, simply write about how and why you have made your choice (at least 600 words). In writing, explain:
- Why are you choosing this topic, issue, group, or person? What compels you most? What is most interesting for you?
- What background or history do you already know about this issue, person, or group? How, when, and where did you learn all of this?
- Why is this issue so compelling for you? Why should other people be paying attention to it?
- What are your plans right now (these can change later) for following this person or group? Will you follow and look at their blog or website? Their facebook page? Their instagram? Their vines? Their twitter feed? Their youtube or vimeo account? (Is anything else missing here?)
Your writing needs to be at least 600 word and it MUST not repeat these prompts. The writing should be interesting to read! The essay needs to be written in such a way where someone who is not in this class and who has not received these assignment guidelines can understand what you are doing and what you are talking about. Yes, this is a school assignment, but you need to show that you can do more than write for a teacher--- that's a high school quiz, not a college essay.