Writing Workshop II Professor Julia Evergreen Keefer

An Intensive Writing and Research Strategies Course

Theme for Spring 04: Human Evil and Posthuman Perfection:Alternate a study of the Shakespearean villains in Macbeth, Richard III, Julius Caesar and King Lear with research on Post-Humanity: Bioengineering, Cloning, Human Health Sciences and Ethics.

Content Theme for Fall 2002:War on Terror and its Aftermath. Consult Jihad vs McWorld: Whose Paradise is Lost?

Excellent Final Papers published in the Online Journal of Education's Issue on Terrorism 2001-04

Extended Lectures: http://www.nyu.edu/classes/keefer/com/lecture1.html
Sharpen Argumentation at: http://www.nyu.edu/classes/keefer/brain/argue.html and, /argue1.html and /argue2.html, and /basic.html

Objectives:

To complete a 15-20 page college research paper with a 3 page bibliography
To explore a personal methodology for creativity and research from brainstorming
To gather, organize and evaluate primary and secondary sources online, in the library, the community and through empirical research such as interviews and investigation
To engage in close and survey reading and to paraphrase, summarize, and integrate sources into personal research
To develop and refine a thesis
To structure the categories of an outline
To develop and refine critical and argumentative faculties
To establish credibility through research, audience analysis, (beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviors), critical thinking, decision making and persuasive tactics
To learn the constructs of classical (Aristotle) and contemporary (Toulmin, Roger, Monroe, Boolean, Cyber) argumentation
To constructively question and defend a claim or syllogism, identifying logical fallacies
To practice debates in workshop (cooperative and adverarial) and improve oral communication skills
To understand advocacy through role playing and argumentative writing in the voice of alter ego
To analyse media, politics, law, current events, religion, philosophy, literature, science, history in terms of controversy, conflict and conversion
To improve writing skills through improvisational, poetic and personal writing and create a webfolio for website or OJEMH
To create a distinctive, original expository style, using MLA or APA parenthetical documentation
To increase knowledge and understanding of content theme
To introduce you to great literature, in this case, Shakespearean tragedy

To publish excellent papers in the Online Journal of Education, Media and Health for the World Association for Online Education (optional)

Requirements: In class writing every week, weekly submissions of at least 2 pages of writing in any genre. Midterm paper and exam and cross editing--7-10 pages. Excellent final paper, 15-20 pages, will be published in the Journal of Online Education. There will be required books on course theme which can be included in your 3 page bibliography. All academic writing must be in MLA or APA style. Everyone will give at least one oral presentation after the midterm. You may include a creative webfolio for internet publication which can include poetry, personal writing/memoirs, and artwork, as long as it relates to course theme.

Grading: Each weekly assignment (in any genre) is given an A if you do it and there are no grammatical errors, B if there are grammatical errors, and F if you don't do it. A critieria sheet for the midterm and final will explain the grading in terms of logic and argumentation, depth of research and diversity of sources, originality of thesis, presentation and findings, correct MLA or APA format, grammar and style. The final paper is 40% of the grade, the midterm 30% and the weekly papers, participation in class and listserv and oral presentations another 30%.

Core Books: Logic: Critical Thinking and Communication. Literature: Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Richard III, Macbeth, King Lear. Research: Our Posthuman Future. Optional: The Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray Kurzweil. Brave New World.
Optional: reading list. Your job is to collect the 3 page bibliography of internet sources, newspapers and journal articles, books, interviews, case studies, observations, audio/video etc. for your 3 page bibliography.

Attendance/Participation Policy: You are only allowed one absence to get a good grade. This is an intensive, media-enhanced class and requires active, weekly participation. When you are forced to be absent, consult the website and listserv, email classmates and make up the work as soon as possible. Individual attention is for research projects, not to waste time discussing why you can't come to class. This is also true of late or missed assignments. The curriculum and grading contract are clear: it is your responsibility to hand in work every week and to clarify assignments when they are given.

Individual Conferences: Students are given individual attention before and after class, as well as virtually through the listserv. Take advantage of this opportunity to improve your thinking and writing.

Look over the contents of the Journal on Terrorism, Education or Global Health to get ideas for your own research. Although Writing Workshop II is a research course with stringent academic requirements, it should also be a time to explore the way you think, to develop your writing style, and to discover a personal methodology that works for you. As you write and improve your research skills, think about the following questions: 1) Do you prefer to build your own house or to evaluate, analyse and synthesize the contruction of others'? (Creative vs. Critical Thinking) 2) Do you start with a view of the big picture or do you need to piece together the details before you can understand what you're talking about? (Deductive vs. Inductive Thinking) 3) Do you prefer to see, read, hear or feel things? (Sensory Preferences) 4) Do you like clear-cut goals and definitions or do you prefer to wrestle with ambiguity, surprising yourself with different shades of meaning and interpretation? 5) Are you trapped in a compulsive rigidity of formulas and protocol or are you lost in a chaotic wilderness of creativity? 6) Are you afraid to play and make a fool of yourself or are you so wild you can't conform to anything? 7)Do you need more structure or do you need to let go?

Important Dates for Spring 04: (Don't forget that you are still submitting at least 2 or 3 pages of work every week, regardless of the assignment. Try to revolve these mini-assignments around your research theme whenever possible.)

January 24: Writing diagnostic. Introduction to course and theme. The goal of this course is not just to cough up a product, the research paper, but to develop a process, an individualized program of discovery to allow you to experience wonder, heighten curiosity and develop the strategies, critical and creative skills necessary to find a specific focus and an original angle in vast amounts of information. You should also be developing yourself as a writer, opening your mind, and perfecting your literary style.

January 31: Read, understand and analyse the main propositions in the core books. What do you look for in a thesis? For this course, theses must be argumentative in nature, addressing the focal point of controversy, and providing an umbrella for your work. One of the most difficult things students face in research is finding an appropriate thesis. Learn to recognize the main proposition in books, articles, speeches so that you can decide whether to use the evidence to support or refute and then rebut your work. Come to last semester's class.

Feb 7: Richard III, Styles of Leadership, Villains and Face masks. Realize the importance of seeing an argument from everyone's POV. Learn to wear different hats to strengthen your own. Develop your hypothesis. You can work with 2 or 3 potential hypotheses. Feel free to change them at any time. Pick 3 most important sources, including those who refute your theses. Summarize, analyze and integrate them into your work. Play word or creativity games, cubes, questions, six hats, role-playing to develop your stance and lead you to the right questions.

Feb 14: Website Lecture on kinds of claims, fallacies and rebuttals. Show your websites to the class, or favorite links. Read Part I and II in Our Posthuman World, focusing on the dilemma of aging and degenerative diseases.

Feb 21: Viewing of King Lear. Strengthen your argumentation with debate in the listserv and next week. Detect the logical fallacies in all points of view. Write a think piece with a strong position stance, without worrying about all your sources just yet. Draw on personal experience, identify yourself, and combine personal essay with argumentation. Read your think pieces out loud and debate each other. Play with the presumption and burden of proof that lawyers use. For next week write a rough draft of a midterm, around 8 pages. Pay special attention to the relationship of logic to syntax. Proofread carefully for grammatical, spelling, word choice and format (APA or MLA) errors. Make sure you are using MLA or APA parenthetical documentation.

Feb 28: Discussion and Preparation for Midterm. Bring problems to class. Debate to strengthen claims. Everyone should be prepared to give a 5-10 speech on their research topic.

MARCH 6: Bring 3 copies of your 8-10 page midterm with one page biblography. Cross edit each other's midterm papers and do self-evaluations. 25% Originality, 25% Logic and Use of Evidence, 25% Language/Style, correct APA or MLA format, 25% Research-- diversity and depth of sources. How can you develop more original research during the second part of the semester? Read last part of Our Posthuman World and deepen claims of policy.

March 13: View Julius Caesar and discuss concepts like martyrdom, tyranny, hegemony of state and the relationship of this to Fukuyama's claim of policy regarding state control of bioengineering.

March 27: Bring in the interviews, surveys, sources that identify the originality of your work. Bring tape recorder and play with debates and interviews in class. Limit your research and refine your thesis so that you are very specific as to person, time, place, concept etc. This is the best way to avoid logical fallacies.Work on bibliographies. Bring revised outlines to class next week.

April 3: Bring papers to class with revised outlines. Discussion of outlining and the relationship of outlining to public speech. Bring tape recorders for alter ego debates and oral presentations. Act out Macbeth to improve rhetoric and public speaking ability in preparation for the next few weeks.

April 10: Oral Presentations. Bring tape recorders or CD players. Give 15 minute presentations on your topic based on your research outline. You may use our fancy A/V equipment such as internet projections, audio-visual aids, DVD etc. You must record these sessions and the follow-up. At least half of the class must role-play as your hostile audience. For example, if you are presenting a pro-genetic enhancement position then choose conservative bible belt Republicans as your audience.

April 17: Oral Presentations. Bring tape recorders or CD players.

May 1: Cross edit rough drafts of finals. You must bring at least 15 typed pages of material with which to work. Bring at least three copies.

May 8: Final papers due. 15-20 pages with 3 page bibliography. Bring disc if you want it published. Evaluation: 25% research depth and diversity, 25% grammatically and stylistically correct MLA or APA format, 25% originality in style, vision and presentation, 25% incisive critical thinking and sound argumentative structure.

Strength Endurance Coordination Focus Flexibility Speed Posture
The ability to identify, analyse, excamine and lift a thought and defend its meaning against the resistance of argumentation. This skill is best developed through Aristotelian rhetoric. Mental endurance is required to sustain intellectual activity against boredom, lethargy, frustration, hyperactivity, overstimulation. Coordination is the organization of parts into an efficient, working whole, which involves changes in speed, dynamics, resistance, spatial patterning and points of view.

Focus is the ability to concentrate on one idea to the exclusion of others. A dancer focuses on a spot on the wall when executing pirouettes, a useful cognitive application when surfing.

 

Flexibility is the ability to see all sides of an issue, exceeding the limits of dogma, fear, and prejudice. Because of the vast amount of information we must get through, it is important to develop speed. Aerobic training can help increase our ability to read, write and think quickly.

Posture refers to the body's alignment in relation to gravity, space and motion. Mental posture establishes voice or presence.

 

In the Brain Gymnasium, we work on mindbody conditioning, assessing and understanding our cognitive domains, and changing our cerebral grooves for more potent creativity. Creativity has three stages: 1) Childlike play and wonder where we become as free and careless as a child playing; 2) Working in our cognitive domain with the appropriate combination of logical and translogical thinking such as homospatial and Janusian processes, (which can lead to frustration, and angst as repressed unconscious drives are uncovered and designing our structure with right and left brain synchronicity; 3) Completing and presenting our work to an audience which can necessitate courage and fearlessness if the work is truly creative because it would go against the status quo. Creativity is closely related to destruction and therefore the mind must be constantly erased through meditation and cognitive colonics.

Spring 99: How the Internet Changes the Way We Think
Technical Writing and the Internet

 


PROFESSOR KEEFER (COPYWRIGHT 1996)

A COMPARISON OF TRADITIONAL VERSUS CYBER RHETORIC:
  • PREDOMINANTLY LEFT BRAIN THINKING VERSUS RIGHT AND LEFT BRAIN COORDINATION.
  • SPECIALIZING IN AND EXHAUSTING ONE DISCIPLINE AT A TIME VERSUS FINDING THE PATHS WHERE A KALEIDOSCOPE OF DISCIPLINES INTERSECT.
  • CRITICAL THINKING VERSUS WINDOWS THINKING:
  • ANALYSIS VERSUS MULTIPLE SYNTHESES (different paths);
  • EVALUATION (assessing assumptions and discovering logical fallacies) VERSUS OPENING ANOTHER WINDOW.
  • ARISTOTELIAN LOGIC (syllogistic reasoning) VERSUS BOOLEAN LOGIC (intersecting circles of and, or and not):
  • DEFENDING ONE POINT OF VIEW WITH A STRONG THESIS VERSUS JANUSIAN PROCESSES OF LOOKING IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS AT THE SAME TIME.
  • OBSERVING THE UNITIES OF TIME/SPACE/ACTION VERSUS SUPERIMPOSITION OF TIME/SPACE/ACTION (i.e. allowing two or more discrete objects to occupy the same space or time or action).
  • SPECIFIC, DEFINED AUDIENCE VERSUS UNPREDICTABLE GLOBAL AUDIENCE.
  • SELF-CONTAINED ORGANIZATION OF THESIS, DEFINITIONS, DEVELOPMENT THROUGH THIS, THEREFORE THAT, INDUCTIVE AND/OR DEDUCTIVE REASONING AND A CONCLUSION VERSUS INTERACTIVE ORGANIZATION AROUND IMAGES AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING QUESTIONS.
  • TRADITIONAL PARAGRAPHS AND PAGE NUMBERS VERSUS NO PAGE NUMBERS BUT VISUAL BREAKS SUCH AS BULLETS AND DIFFERENT FONTS AND IMAGES.
  • LINEAR READING VERSUS CLICKING ALL OVER THE PLACE!

Keefer's Cyber-Logic Boot Camp

1)Inductive/deductive accordion
2) Pirouettes:Keeping your spot in a nonlinear world, developing speed and focus
3)Weaving: propositional logic through all evidence, refining and developing thesis
4)Searching for the Big 3 fallacies of ambiguity, presumption and relevance
5)Using Boolean logic and Venn diagrams to limit, expand and organize specific areas of research, especially online
6)Analysing the Persuasive Power of Images, including the homospatial imagery of collages
7)Using hypertext to make the surfer follow Your waves