Week 7 Blog Prompt: Contemporary Sources

Image: Greenpeace Finland

Image: Greenpeace Finland

As I mentioned in class today, we’re moving into a new phase of the course in which we’ll be paying closer attention to the contexts from which our texts emerge and with which they interact. We’ll be looking at the cultural, sociopolitical and scientific events and movements that may have inspired the authors, and examining the conversations in which those texts intervene. To that end, for your blog posts this week, you’ll be doing a little historical research. Details behind the cut …

Your task this week is to locate and summarise a popular media source from around the time your chosen text was written which either talks directly about the text, or about an issue you see in the text that you think (or know) the author was responding to. You can select any of the texts we’ve discussed in class so far, or — if you’re reading ahead — The Year of the Flood. I’d encourage you, though, to focus on The Female Man or later texts, as those will be the options for your Essay 2 (the short stories are aging out).

A couple of research tools:

  • Lexis Nexus: an online database of newspaper and magazine articles, searchable by date (available through the UT Libraries database page, which is down as I put up this blog post — will come back later to link)
  • Google Advanced Search: lets you narrow down your search in ways that are really useful
  • The Internet Wayback Machine: this seriously feels like magic sometimes. Archived pages from the dawn of the internet.

In your summary, you should:

  • Briefly (1-2 sentences) justify your choice of source and its connection to the text
  • Offer a clear statement of the author/s’ main point
  • Run through any supporting facts and evidence provided within the article
  • Explain what this article illustrates about your chosen text (as a whole, or specific sections or concerns)

You’ll want to pay attention to the way you arrange your summary, especially if you are summarising a journalistic source. Journalists arrange their articles in ways that are not always the most efficient (they’re designed to be intriguing and keep you reading, not always/necessarily to provide the most information in the least space possible), and you will need to condense and prioritise to ensure your reader understands what you want them to.

At the end of your summary, please provide a citation or link to your source article so anyone who is interested can take a look.

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