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WRT 105-FALL 2004 | Unit 3-Sampling Argument
Becky Howard, "Plagiarisms, Authorships, and the Academic Death Penalty,"
CEWT, pp. 265-282.
Jeff Rice, "The 1963 Hip-Hop Machine: Hip-Hop Pedagogy as Composition,"
CEWT, pp. 471-486.
Selections from The Informed Argument
In "The 1963 Hip-Hop Machine," Jeff Rice spells out an alternative
to the "standardized
methodology inherited from figures like Toulmin." He shows how we
might undertake argumentative projects premised on the logic of hip-hop,
projects rendered from temporal or spatial sampling (cut, paste, whatever).
Rice explicitly tells us that the "ultimate test" for such a
project is to recognize that the process of sampling and re-mixing needn't
only apply to hip-hop; we're merely appropriating a general methodology
of hip-hop and putting it to use for our own argumentative projects.
For the last six weeks of the semester, we'll study Rice's essay, searching
carefully for the argumentative method he urges us to perform. Then, we'll
adopt the method, perform it. In many ways, it's that simple. But it's
also complex because it will require us to make sense of more conventional
dispensations of argument, such as the Toulmin model (claim, data, warrant)
and the classical rhetorical conditions of logos, ethos
and pathos. Reading from Yagelski and Miller's The Informed
Argument will ground us in these conventional terms. In the chapter
devoted to "The Media for Argument," The Informed Argument
will also compel us toward Rice's model.
Unit 3 lasts six weeks and culminates in a 7-9 page argumentative sampler-essay.
Throughout the project, you should prefer the intricate, analytical approaches
we've practiced this semester. And while we'll invent ideas by attending
to dissimilarities among our samples, we'll continue to problematize the
obvious and value, through analysis, critical perspectives more
Here's how it will come together:
Begin by selecting a year. Choose a year before 1999. Dig around for
interesting moments--instances (as cuts, pastes, whatever) that
you find through research, curiosity. Rice tells us temporal research
can play among "a range of disciplines (film, politics, science,
music, television, sports, etc.)," and to the etc. I would add architecture,
disaster and response, criminality, urban crisis, rally and media ruse
among others we'll tease out in class. Develop at least four instances--cuts
that give body to the temporal-spatial selection(s). If it helps to think
of these cuts as sources, that's fine, but they should be dissimilar,
and they should work across multiple media forms (image, sound, text,
tv advertisement, film, lyric, graffiti, flash, comic, figurine). Their
dissimilarity will provide you with samples for juxtaposition, for mixing
that tests the limits of what your mix brings together.
Following this alternative model, here's what we can expect: Each student
You will advance the argument, an argument you arrive at only after
disparities in your selections (cuts, pastes, whatever), through
the second half of the essay-project--the mix. The mix will present a
re-organization of samples from the temporal-spatial selections at the
beginning of your project. The mix will "confront" the samples
and, therefore, construct an argument attendant to a pattern you recognize
and complicate. The entire project will become clearer as we read Rice's
essay and look at various models. In general, the following precepts may
guide your work:
- "gain[s] insights into the process of research"
- "finds a common pattern or element that binds these moments together"
- "understands how to form a claim out of research and investigation"
- "juxtaposes these moments in a variety of ways and thus learns
- "locates her own position within the various cultural ideological,
economic, racial, gendered, etc., discussions constantly taking place
- "creates an argument"
As an alternative to a paper-bound project, you may develop a web site
or other digital production for essay-project three.
WRT 105: Grading Cues Essay #3 Sampling Argument
 How well does the title provocatively and productively focus the
 How effectively does the writer sample and remix from the originary,
dissimilar cuts, assembling them into an intelligible, argumentative production?
 How carefully and thoughtfully does the writer elaborate the samples
(cut, paste, whatever) before rendering the mix?
 How well does the writer develop specific, argumentative claims about
a particular time, place or issue by confronting disparities in the selections?
 Does the writer frame the mix with formal citations to at least four
carefully chosen and appropriately supportive outside texts (conceived
broadly to include various media forms)?
 How well does the writer make things explicit (e.g., details, not
generalizations; claims, not clichés)?
 How well did the writer address surface level matters related to
grammar, style, and usage?
- Attune your argument-mix to four particular selections (cut, paste,
whatever) from a particular year.
- Choose to work with selections from multiple forms of media (image,
sound, text, tv advertisement, film, lyric, graffiti, flash, comic,
- Set out with a suspended sense of determination. Allow your own curiosities
and interests to influence your selections.
- Let your discoveries, insights, realizations, claims, or theories
serve as the driving force behind the essay-project. In other words,
make these things prominent-use them to create shifts or transitions
as you build paragraphs or make your way from one discussion to another.