Reading Response Tips

Unless you are given a prompt, you should use the reading response assignments as a way to make sense of the readings. Draw upon other courses, readings, and most importantly, your own interests, as you read. You may find it useful to write about key terms or theories that surface, or connect one reading to another (drawing parallels, demonstrating differences, etc.). While summary is important work, you should spend most of your time with analysis and synthesis. I would also encourage you to make note of key words, or themes. you might think of doing this in your notebook, on a ms. word page, or google doc. I’ll do something similar here on our course blog.
Finally, as scholars and writers, you should also think about the style and delivery of the texts we read. For many writings about and doing research in African American rhetoric, I think you’ll see that style and substance go hand in hand.

Below are some questions that you may find useful if you are looking for places to start:

  1. What “tools” or methods are useful for those studying African American rhetoric?
  2. Why the interests in revisionist and recovery histories?
  3. What gaps or silences do you notice? Asked differently, what sites and topics remain untouched or inadequately explored?
  4. What databases and archival repositories might be useful for those doing work in this area?
  5. What journals and presses are publishing this work?
  6. What is the role of space, place, and material artifacts in African American rhetoric?
  7. What does the study of African American rhetoric have to do with contemporary writing studies? Communication? Journalism? Musicology? Literature? Literacy studies? Religious studies? Teacher prep and training?
  8. What (given your training, personal background, interests, research trajectory) can you contribute to the study of African American rhetoric?
  9. How does one write about and for others in a responsible and ethical manner?