Citation Practices Workshop

From the reading:

  • Think of quotations as a sandwich, where the buns are your introduction and explanation, and the meat is the actual quote.
  • Make sure that you are making your quotes work for you. What is the topic sentence that it supports?
  • Try to paraphrase before deciding to quote: Is it a remarkable remark? Couldn’t you say it better? Does it provide a definition?
  • To introduce your quotes/sources, make sure to contextualize the piece and qualify the author’s credentials.


  • Is the introduction attracting the reader’s attention?
  • What is the paper’s main idea? What are the points you need to cover?
  • Are there explanations of key terms or phrases?
  • Does the paper flow smoothly? How does it connect one idea to the other?
  • Does the conclusion wrap up the paper? Is it thorough?

The Multi in Multimodal and in Media

Throughout the course thus far, we’ve studied how rhetorical texts can be in the form of a narrative, opinion-editorials (op-ed), academic responses, scholarly articles, photo essays, short videos, and some of you have studied songs, and public speeches, blog posts, and periodicals, among others. The multiplicity of genres, mediums and modes in which rhetorical texts can take shape necessitates familiarity with technical terms that address specific components of communication composition. For this reason, there are a variety of sub-fields that develop across disciplinary boundaries (as should be evident by now, we’ve taken up textual forms from literary studies, journalism, linguistics, rhetorical studies, and, of course, composition). Some of these subfields were discussed in the Transcription // Translation podcast episode you were assigned.

The multi in multimodality also includes attention to the multiplicity of tools to be used in composition, and the multiple processes that can occur. These tools, taken down to their minute detail (as the 0s and 1s  in .jpeg that Steven Hammer talks about), can have specific intended/unintended purposes (which Sean Zdenek and Brenda Brueggueman analyze) and can be referred to in a variety of ways (like Crystal VanKooten’s sonic vocabulary). These multiple factors, then, as most of the cast in the episode suggest, affect meaning making. The role that audiences play in the choice of particular rhetorical strategies is equally important as the purpose.

Though multimodality is not new, it gained salience in the field after the work of Gunther Kress. After reading an excerpt by Kress on New Media Literacy, answer these questions: what kind of role do digital media play in your life? how are you understanding the assignment now; what is its purpose? What is your purpose?

To close, let’s return to Lepore’s attention to gender in comic books. In true multimodal fashion, let’s focus our attention to the mediums of comics and film. Read Alison Bechdel’s “The Rule” and an explanation provided be feministfrequency, in which the Bechdel Test is applied to the Oscars .

Reflect about these texts as instances of critical media literacy. How is your multimodal project an example of critical media literacy?

Medium and Process

Let’s start out with the textbook’s prompt on purpose and process in order to write a reflection about your rhetorical analysis. Don’t focus so much on content (per se), but more on techniques and approaches you took up throughout the drafting and revising process, including successful moments as well as glitches.

Composing in Multiple Mediums:

1) Visual media culture

2) Revision strategies

3) Contrast in composition

4) Sonic rhetoric


1) What does Beck say about process?

  • multiple steps/approaches to come to the best outcome, everyone has a different one (process), new/old (innovative/traditional)

2) What does Beck say about tools?

  • used as part of the process, a tool can be a medium, live recording/pro tools, traditional options/changes in technology afford more changes (options)

3) How are these related? (Purpose?)

  • process is how you use your tools to achieve your purpose, depending on your purpose, the tools you use change and different processes occur, find purpose first, use tools through different processes

Visual Cultures and Design

The Four Basic Principles of Design

CONTRAST- The idea behind contrast is to avoid elements on the page that are merely similar. If the elements (type, color, size, line thickness, shape, space, etc.) are not the same, then make them very different. Contrast is often the most important visual attraction on a page–it’s what makes a reader look at the page in the first place.

REPETITION- Repeat visual elements of the design throughout the piece. You can repeat colors, shapes, textures, spatial relationships, line thickness, fonts, sizes, graphic concepts, etc. This develops the organization and strengthen the unity.

ALIGNMENT- Nothing should be placed on the page arbitrarily. Every element should have some visual connection with another element on the page. This creates a clean, sophisticated, fresh look. The basic purpose of alignment is to unify and organize the page. Think about alignment in terms of the invisible horizontal and vertical lines that connect parts of a page. For strong alignment, make sure that you’re always aligning things in the same way and connecting different elements of the page through alignment (the same invisible line).

PROXIMITY (“Grouping”)- Items relating to each other should be grouped together. When several items are in close proximity to each other, they become one visual unit rather than several separate units. This helps organize the information, reduces clutter, and gives the reader a clear structure.

There are different stances even in the world of type design. We can shift to a the use of type and design in a different visual culture: ‘zine culture.
A colleague here in Syracuse has taught a few courses on zine-making. One of his students created HappyCuse, a group that “drops” zines around campus, spreading positive messages in a variety of contexts, from bathrooms to cafeteria stalls. If you wanted to make your own zine, you can follow this link to learn how to make your own zine.

Critical Media Literacy and Multimodality

The Melzer and Coxwell-Teague reading provides a few exercises that are supposed to prompt you to think through the multiple components of literacy study. The one on page 14 is focused on “the ways an audience shapes a composition.” You’ve all written about specific articles and made assumptions about the author’s intended audience, based on the persona they take on, which, according to Patricia Bizzell is “socially constructed” (14 emphasis in original). This persona, as Melzer and Cowell-Teague suggest, can also be determined by the genre of the text. They further write about literacy mediums: “If a mode is a channel of communication–oral, visual, digital, print–then a medium is the tool that the composer uses within that channel to deliver his or her message” (16).

Today, we will focus on the multiple mediums (media) used by authors you read regularly. Studying the ways in which media is consumed and produced falls within the scope of critical media literacy. The multimodal project assignment is therefore meant to encourage reflection about how meaning is made in the multiple literacy stages (reading & writing). 

Description from the syllabus:

Multimodal Project (10%) – The Multimodal Project will be a reflection on media literacies in the multiple platforms you engage with.

More explicit instructions:

Media literacy is a sub-field of composition studies that focuses on the ways in which meaning is both made and consumed through the use of emerging technologies. As we’ve noticed in our readings all throughout this course, there is a persistent attention to the influence that different media have in portraying a variety of perspectives on contemporary cultural literacy. Particularly, we should notice the subtle and constant changes of different communication technologies and the different outlets they provide. In 2001, Kress and Van Leewuen published a book titled Multimodal Discourse: The Modes and Media of Contemporary Communication, in which they pay attention to the different processes of meaning-making, focusing on discourse, design, production and distribution.

Considering that discourse constitutes a set of languages that express our thoughts on a particular subject, we can focus on what existing sets of discourses can be used to elaborate specific messages. Kress and Van Leewuen suggest there are numerous designs that can be used to produce these discourses, and that there a variety of important choices that are made in the process, each step contributing a new addition to the intended meaning. Your multimodal project is supposed to reflect your media literacy practices. I will provide examples in class, but you can start by keeping a log of your media consumption practices (both form and content, as well as rhetorical ecologies).

There are a variety of modes (visual, aural, tactile, digital, interactive, printed, etc.) and specific media (plural for medium) you can use to produce your multimodal product, but be ready to explain the reasoning behind each of your choices. In your reflections you should identify the functionality of each of the components of your project and justify these in relation to the rhetorical strategies you’ve considered for the composition of your message.


1) One Multimodal Product- Any Medium//Be Creative

2) Written Reflection of Design and Production Process- Two-Page Rhetorical Reflection

3) Short presentation of both (Time Permitting)

Claim Making in the U.S. Nation-State

Yesterday we focused on claim making based on the author’s stance. Sam’s detailed notes include a synopsis of the different interpretations posited in our discussion of Elizabeth Day’s article on #BlackLivesMatter. Following a helpful heuristic on the distinctions between argument, claim, premise, and issue, we studied Day’s article and determined that her argument includes numerous sub-claims about the importance of the new movement, given the statistically proven disadvantaged position of many African Americans and the police violence that has been recently reported, but that her main assertion is that this is a “new civil rights movement” as her title suggests.

In connection to stance, I presented a few suggestions on how to find significant sources in a presentation that Sam summarized succinctly:

Evaluating Sources:

– Authority –> Who wrote it? Qualified to make claims

– Currency –> When was it published? Related to topic?

– Validity –> Supported by claims? Cited?

– Audience –> Intended for?

– Point of View –> Perspective of the author?

Today, we also talked about claim making, this time on how to best produce them. With a few pointers taken from another heuristic focused on claims in academic writing, you all noted the ways in which René De los Santos established his claims in “The Specter of Nuestra América: Barack Obama, Latin America, and the 2009 Summit of the Americas,” and his example provided an option to discuss meta-commentary. Thinking of meta-commentary brings to mind the TV show ‘Community’, especially the episode when Abed wants to make a meta movie.

A post-post modern world, wherein Abed makes a film about making a film about Jesus. Shirley does not approve. Similarly, in writing a rhetorical analysis, you are also engaging in rhetoric yourself (an argument about an argument, about a set of arguments or discourses). Perhaps this distinction can help you come to terms with the complexity of rhetorical criticism.

Returning to De los Santos’ criticism, it’s important to keep in mind the rhetorical situation that he is addressing, but also the kairotic moment in which an attention to Cuban-U.S. relationships are increasingly shifting. The article goes into an explanation of the historical background that informed Obama’s perceptions of the role of the United States in the 2009 American Summit, especially the “barbarism-civilization duality” that has resonances with Manifest Destiny ideologies. Most recently, the Cuban Embassy now has its place in Washington DC, and there have been numerous articles about the connections between Cubans and U.S. Americans. By way of introducing visual rhetoric, we looked at a photo essay that depicts “Hipsters in Havana” that suggests that Cuban millennials are not so different from U.S. youth culture.

To consider what youth culture in the U.S. is preoccupied with, I’ve asked you all to choose a text that has resonances with the kinds of cultural literacies we’ve been discussing, and how these relate to language, broadly defined. You can stay within the confines of the U.S. nation-state, or you can study other geopolitical areas where you see culture and language intersect in a meaningful way.

Rhetorical Listening

This week we’ve found ourselves having to negotiate between diverging perspectives on a few relevant social issues.

A fitting analytic in this historical moment, is rhetorical listening, as developed by rhetoric and composition scholar, Krista Ratcliffe. Specifically, Ratcliffe’s definition of rhetorical listening as a trope for interpretive invention can be helpful in thinking through the ways in which we can adopt “a stance of openness that a person may choose to assume in relation to any person, text, or culture; its purpose is to cultivate conscious identifications in ways that promote productive communication, especially but not solely cross-culturally” (25 emphasis added). Not only is it productive to enact rhetorical listening in times of cultural tension, but it is also useful to engage in rhetorical listening while analyzing a series of texts.

Similar to René De los Santos in his attention to the “barbarism-civilization duality” (165), Ratcliffe suggests that “rhetorical listening challenges the divided logos of Western civilization” (26 emphasis in original) as it opens up the possibility of considering a stance other than one’s own. She goes on to delineate the “moves” that rhetorical listening entails:

  1. Promoting an understanding of self and other
  2. Proceeding within an accountability logic
  3. Locating identifications across commonalities and differences
  4. Analyzing claims as well as the cultural logics within which these claims function

For the assignment you’re working on currently, focus on item 1. Jacquline Jones Royster and Gesa Kirsch refer to Krista Ratcliffe’s explanation of understanding in explaining a similar analytical approach: strategic contemplation. Read the two pages where they describe this analytic and reflect upon the ways in which you could apply these two analytic frameworks in your papers–not just this one, but future written assignments wherein you’re asked to engage in analysis and/or argument. Here’s a preview of the argument assignment:

Attention to Rhetoric:

Just as we have been practicing rhetorical awareness about the sources we located in unit 2, we will continue to address rhetorical issues and demonstrate rhetorical awareness as we research, but especially as we write our own projects. Specifically, you should:

·      assert why your issue interests you or matters to you (and why it should interest and matter to your readers) at this particular historical moment. In other words, compose your argument kairotically and establish exigence.

·      recognize and attend to what your readers will need in terms of explanation/preparation/ contextualization. Make sure to, among other things,

o   define key terms and concepts,

o   carefully introduce your sources,

o   anticipate confusion or resistance,

o   use rhetorical appeals and strategies appropriate for your rhetorical situation and

o   anticipate counter-arguments.

·      argue a particular perspective; that is, be explicit about how your ideas fit into the ongoing debate/conversation—synthesize.

·      provide a new perspective, demonstrating how it pertains to your topic and what it adds to the conversation around millennial cultures.

Because we need to start anticipating the moment in which you will be making an argument about the topic you’ve chosen, this is a good moment to consider the differences between analysis, argument, summary  and expressive writing, as they are discussed in Writing Analytically. After reading an excerpt from chapter 3: what are the differences between these terms? Can you locate examples in the texts we’ve interacted with in class? Write a reflection about how today’s activities are informing how you can improve your rhetorical analysis.

As you finish your work for the rhetorical analysis unit, you should continue researching for sources that can contribute to the argumentative paper that you’ll be writing in a few weeks.

Invoking others

Today we’re thinking about the role of invoking others in our writing, and how best to do so.

  • We start by reading through “Writing From Sources, Writing From Sentences” by Rebecca Moore Howard, Tanya Rodrigue and Tricia Serviss. What is their main argument? How do they define summary, paraphrasing, and patchwriting? How do they set up an exigence for addressing the issue of academic integrity? Distinguishing these keywords and components of their piece will allow us to better understand their conclusions.
  • After talking about ways in which you can successfully summarize other people’s ideas, we can go into the Rhetorical Analysis assignment:

Description from the syllabus:

Rhetorical Analysis (20%)– You will write a 3-page rhetorical analysis of a recent/significant media portrayal of the complexities of cultural conditions addressed by the scholars we study.

More explicit instructions:

Throughout the past few weeks, you’ve read pieces of creative nonfiction that represent literacy narratives from different positions of power, particularly in terms of culture, language, and geopolitical difference. We’ve also read two pieces in which these concerns are addressed from a scholarly perspective. There have also been a few periodical pieces that provide a more recent take on the issues discussed in the scholarly and artistic texts we’ve read. These different kinds of genres shape the ways in which authors present their arguments. It is now time for you to provide a rhetorical analysis of a text you find on your own, which will help you practice doing research and rhetorically scrutinizing a multimedia text. In short, you should search for a text that engages cultural literacy (to learn about a particular cultural moment or group) and which addresses some of the issues we’ve discussed in class thus far.

When writing about another person’s texts and ideas, one has to be mindful of the ways in which one cites sources. In this assignment you should limit your works cited to the one text you want to focus on, but if you need to refer to another contextualizing piece, make sure to emphasize its contribution quickly and move on to your rhetorical analysis. Due in part to the length the assignment calls for (3-4 pages), more emphasis on using appropriate summarizing techniques, paraphrasing only when necessary, and avoiding patchwriting is recommended—especially important when referring to the overall argument that the text in question provides.

Therefore, a rhetorical analysis should pay attention to the claims that encompass an argument. Here it is relevant to notice the specific claims included in the text under scrutiny. It is also relevant to personally be able to formulate successful claims in the composition of the rhetorical analysis.

Besides noticing the general point that the text in question makes about a particular issue, it is useful to note the ways in which authors support their argument. That is, what are the rhetorical appeals that the author takes up (ethos, pathos, logos), and how do they relate to the specific rhetorical situation under study?

The rhetorical situation can be examined in terms of the text’s context, kairos and exigence, audience or composer, and even in terms of the rhetorical ecologies the argument has traversed. Paying attention to the encounters you’ve had with the text you’re analyzing can be useful if you’re highlighting the circulation of a specific text, but if you want to highlight how the composer engages specific audiences, you may be able to refer to the context wherein the piece was published. If you want to highlight how timely and urgent the piece is, then you can comment on kairos and exigence. A thorough rhetorical analysis thus includes comments on the ways in which the rhetorical situation affects the effectiveness of the argument.

  • The rhetorical situation components can be highlighted by taking our reading of “Why Isn’t ‘American’ a Language?” and the context’s relationship with intended audience and author positionality. There are clear views about the status of the “American” language in relation to British language, and the preference for one or the other, but more importantly on the historical development of the eclectic versions of English language in general. There are also a few reference about different encounters with different cultures and their significance for the development of “American” language.
  • The assignment calls for an attention to the tensions between asymmetrical power relations in U.S. cultures. An example of a recent issue that brings up issues of cultural literacy, specifically the civil rights movement that Mezler and Cowell-Teague call upon by referring to Malcom X, is the BlackLivesMatter movement. Let’s listen to the ways in which PhD students of Rhetoric and Composition talk through the need to address issues of police violence in This Rhetorical Life’s “On Ferguson” episode. Pay attention to the intended audience, and the sources they invoke.

At home, read through Elizabeth Day’s “#BlackLivesMatter: the birth of a new civil rights movement” and consider her argument, the sources she invokes, and any resonances you find with the other readings we’ve discussed.

Analyzing Rhetorical Situations

Following Melzer and Coxwell-Teague’s suggestion (and the overall goals of the WRT 105 course), we’ve talked about situating literacy moments, which I have correlated with rhetorical situations. Of course, these are two distinct concepts, but both of them ask you to think about context. In a different blog post I have tried to come to terms with different theoretical conceptions of a “rhetorical situation” as I see them manifesting in the courses I am teaching, but today I would like to update this contextual discussion based on my reading of Jenny Edbauer’s “rhetorical ecologies” and how circulation also affects how a rhetorical situation is studied, in addition to the usual components of a rhetorical triangle.

It is important to think about the circulation of particular rhetorical messages, especially in terms of its cultural literacy denotations and connotations. Before going into a rhetorical analysis of a particular text, you should be mindful and aware of how the rhetorical situation, and the different rhetorical ecologies that introduced you to the text in question. It is also important to keep in mind the rhetorical appeals taken up by the rhetor/writer/composer, as we discussed in class yesterday.

In order to practice a rhetorical analysis, it would be useful to refer to the guidelines suggested by the Texas A&M University. For the purposes of this course, you can practice a rhetorical analysis by reading this BBC article on the development of “American” English, which you can now supplement with the insights you’ve gotten from your readings of Anzaldua, Alexie, Smitherman and Browne. More importantly, though, you should focus on how their rhetorical appeals may suggest a particular perspective on U.S. American English.

Ultimately, you should search for a text that addresses some of the tensions around language and culture, difference and commonality that we’ve been discussing in class thus far. In short, based on the rhetorical situation of this class, and the assignment you’ve been given, you should search for a source that you believe speaks to concerns about cultural literacy and academic writing, which should be a text that also speaks to your understanding of the topoi we’ve been addressing in class.

Rhetorical Appeals

From Aristotle to Kenneth Burke, rhetoric has gone from a focus on acts of persuasion, to theories of identification. Very broadly defined, rhetoric is a field of study that focuses on communication acts, their un/intended goals, and the composition strategies involved in these meaning-making processes. Some of its common topoi, or topics, include presidential rhetoric, public advocacy, nation-building, social movements, and revolutionary discourses, among others.

To study these commonplaces, one can pay attention to the ways in which persuasive arguments are created by looking at the rhetorical appeals used by the rhetor(s).


From Writing Analytically From DK Handbook
Ethos “… the character of the speaker, which is important in determining an audience’s acceptance or rejection of his or her arguments… the personae (versions of ourselves) we assume when we write have a formative impact in what we think and say” (74). “Composers can use any strategy available to them to shape how audiences understand who the composers are… In traditional rhetorical terminology, the sense that audiences develop about composers is called ETHOS” (86).
Pathos “… refers to the emotional component in writing, the ways it appeals to feelings in an audience” (74). “In rhetoric, a composer’s use of strategies to shift an audience’s emotions is called PATHOS” (88).
Logos “… refers to the logical component of a piece of writing or speaking” (74). “To move audiences, composers make choices about the order in which they hope audiences experience their work” (90). These choices can be studied in terms of a large scale (encounter with a text), middle scale (specific arrangements in the text), and small scale (secondary details that contribute to meaning).

After reading Kevin Browne’s “Rhetoric and the Stoning of Rachel Jeantel”:

  • What is his argument and how does it relate to the readings we’ve done so far?
  • What can you say about his ethos?
  • How does he make claims based on logos?
  • What role does pathos play in this text?