In Unit One, students study rhetorical artifacts to excavate the ideologies and commonplaces embedded within them, reconstruct their rhetorical situations, and examine their rhetorical appeals. In Unit Two, students explore how ideologies and practices can shift with time and circumstance, then present their research compellingly in two formats: a TED-style recorded talk and a formal research paper.
Paradigm Shift Research Paper
In this 7-10 page paper, students identify, discuss, and analyze a “paradigm shift.” In addition to recognizing a certain kind of change and analyzing its potential meanings, they trace the significant moments of this shift, considering how we have come to view or value certain things. Students may choose to study a shift in our cultural practices and attitudes. They may consider philosophical or rhetorical shifts–-how the way we think and talk about an issue, phenomenon, or group has changed over time. Or they may track changes in the representation of different groups of people (in terms of ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, etc.) in film, television, art, and literature as particularly significant. While students may enhance their claims with personal observations and examples, they are expected to support their arguments with vigorous and varied research.
RCL TED-style Talk
TED talks have recently become a phenomenon in the United States and even globally. For this assignment, RCL students perform in front of classmates as they film a 4-5 minute “TED-style” talk that draws from their paradigm shift paper research. Because developing a compelling talk from existing (and still unfolding) research is a critical skill, especially in academics, RCL students adopt a TED-style format to learn how to “perform” their work and to take advantage of the unique affordances of the One-Button Studios here at Penn State.