Expertise Assignment

The purpose of the expertise project is twofold: first, it ensures that at least two people in the class have a deep understanding of a significant approach to the question of contemporary narrative in the digital age; second, it creates an online archive for that knowledge so that it can be referred back to for later research.

To achieve these goals, first you’ll need to locate the piece, procure a digital copy, and provide it to the class a week in advance.  Then, please read and re-read your piece carefully.  Put it into a context: investigate what other outside sources have to say about the author, the book, the important terms or ideas. Think about meeting with me to discuss the piece. Then prepare the following.  [Protip: Clarity and concision are important here; revision is KEY! I’d be happy to discuss the reading with you, and/or read a draft of your project if you send it to me no later than the Sunday before you post it.]

1. For the archive, prepare a blog post on one of your blogs with the following components (no more than 1000 words):

  • Create a critical context for this piece.  What do others have to say about the article itself, or the author, or the terms/movements that are important in the reading?  Locate 2-3 secondary sources that can help the class better grasp the import of the argument. These might include secondary articles, websites, video, pictures, etc. Provide citations/links.
  • In your own words, articulate the author’s argument and provide a concise explanation of main points. Here,  include and define his/her significant terms, ideas, or references to other theorists. If the author uses an example or two, pick the one that you find most compelling and explain it in your own terms. [You may use direct quotes from the text in this section, but your own language should be dominant.  Make sure you cite all of your sources!]
  • Next, apply the argument to your own example, preferably from the reading/viewing for the week (you may choose another text if it’s common knowledge in the class).  Be as specific as you can here: apply the author’s terms and logic.  What does it reveal to us about the passage/example?  How does it open new avenues for interpretation?
  • Explain the argument’s relevance.  What does this argument adds to our understanding of narrative and/or the changing work of literary scholars/writers?   Why is that important? Does it concur with or contradict other arguments or theories? Are there important ideas or terms that it neglects or gets wrong?
  •  The idea here is to be comprehensive and concise, simultaneously! 

2. For the class, prepare a short (10 minutes, tops!) presentation of the secondary piece.

  • I’m not kidding about SHORT!! Assume that the class has read your blog post.
  • Whittle down your articulation of the author’s argument to a sentence or two, and explain why it’s important.
  • Direct us toward a passage or event in the most recent text that can serve as an example of the theory.
  • Be prepared to answer questions from your audience

3. At least 48 hours before class, send me a link to the post so that I can link to it from the course site and tweet it to the world!



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