Archive for February, 2007
On behalf of the 2005-2006 editorial staff–namely Jason Morse and Jennifer Halpin–I’d like to welcome you to the newest entries to our journal. We’re all quite proud of our latest additions, and we hope that they’ll provoke as much thought in you as they have in us.
Before we get to the papers themselves, a brief history of e.g. is in order. Since its inception in 2002, e.g. has undergone a number of changes. Originally, e.g. was known as the 100-level Writing Contest, which allowed for instructors to nominate the best essays to be selected for this newly created writing award, similar to that offered to writers in 200-level writing courses.
In the last two years, e.g. has evolved from the 100-level Writing Contest to an online journal of student writing that showcases essays that exemplify the type of writing that is stressed in UW’s 100-level writing courses. The idea is to encourage excellent student writing, to provide examples of high quality work for future instructors and students, and of course, to reward and publicize the individuals whose analytic, argumentative writings have made an impact in-and now out-of the classroom.
This year’s essays were selected by the e.g. committee, which is made up of several current Teaching Assistants in the English Department. First, essays were nominated by the instructors of English 105, 111, 121, and 131; secondly, the essays were reviewed by the committee in two eliminating rounds; finally, the final 4 essays were selected by the committee for their strong depth and breadth of worthy characteristics.
Unlike previous years, the final essays came from a variety of 100 level classes, which provides our readers with the opportunity to view more of the various emphases and styles within our program. Since this was a goal of last year’s committee, we’re proud to have solicited and found a more diverse group of submissions.
You might be wondering how and why the essays chosen came to be selected as high quality representations of 100-level work. While each class is operated and designed independently by a single TA, each class is evaluated on a common rubric (referred to as “The Outcomes”), which allows for the teaching of common, useful skills in diverse environments. Our editorial team selected the winning papers for their careful and attentive application of skills toward the fulfillment of these outcomes. Additionally, these papers push their relevance outside of the classroom, expanding into the public sphere-the ultimate goal for any writing course.
Assuredly, an outstanding command of specific aspects of academic writing is present thoughout all of the entries…but it’s also important to note that they are certainly not perfect. Here at the Expository Writing Program (which develops and supervises 100 level composition courses), we teach writing not only as a variety of methods, but, more importantly, as a progressive skill–one that is constantly in a state of growth, change, development, and refinement. These essays stand as examples of revision that has occurred, and also revision that others will see possible. We hope that you will find the essays included both relevant and inspiring.
If you are an instructor, we hope you that you will use them in your classes as a catalyst for discussions about writing. Please see the instructor pages for ideas on how to integrate essays into your teaching. Also note that a new feature is available on the instructor side of e.g. this year-we hope that you’ll appreciate the extra time our editorial staff has taken to make these papers of greater use to you, and we’re always looking for feedback on how to improve.
We would like to congratulate the authors of these excellent essays for their hard work. We would also like to thank all the instructors who nominated student essays for their participation. Special thanks go out to the 2005-2006 reading committee who volunteered their time and energy to reading the submitted essays and putting together pedagogical strategies for the instructor pages. Finally, congratulations to winners Teresa Lee, Linh Phan, Mark Sena, and Emily Thompson. Additionally, we’d also like to give an Honorable Mention to Daisy Wilson-Morrow.
Thanks to all those who submitted-without you, we’d have no journal, and no one to talk to in class. We invite those of you interested in keeping the journal vital and growing to participate in the coming years!
Lee Einhorn, Jason Morse, and Jennifer Halpin
2005-06 Winner: “Adjustment without Improvement: Racial Hegemony in The Bluest Eye” by Emily Thompson
The characters in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye live in the racially segregated American city of the 1940s. In their book Racial Formation in the United States, Michael Omi and Howard Winant explore the dynamics of racism in the same country where Morrison’s characters live. They develop the idea that racism is an unavoidable element of social structure that has become institutionalized in the United States and has been able to stay that way, in part, by means of Antonio Gramsci’s idea of hegemony. Morrison’s main characters, three little girls named Pecola, Frieda, and Claudia and their relatives all experience the pressure of racial hegemony in their Ohio town and engage it on a daily basis. The ideas of racial hegemony and its oppressive effects are also explored in Jane Kuenz’s article “‘The Bluest Eye’: notes on history, community, and black female subjectivity.” In another feminist essay, the Nigerian feminist Oyèronké Oyewùmí examines “African American motherhood in a racist society,” shows how hegemonic consent affects the way African American women see themselves (Oyewùmí 178). The Bluest Eye represents racial hegemony and its manifestations, while the other texts further explain and analyze its negative effects on women and young girls who are exposed to it in everyday objects.
In order for scientific breakthroughs to directly impact the general public, abstract ideas, theories and discoveries must be effectively transformed into real technologies which, when applied, benefit everyday life. Similarly, scientific literature uses the conventions of rhetoric to translate sheer unintelligible data into a wide understanding of its meanings and implications. The public’s complete awareness of innovative science is necessary for its acceptance and incorporation into daily life. As technology progresses from initial discovery to real world application, its broadcast through various forms of literature changes as well. Experimental scientists, writers of academic journals, and the media work together in a network to increase science’s comprehensive scope. The communication of new ideas is dependent upon this network of writers. At one end lie the scientists who are responsible for developing experiments, collecting data, interpreting it, and then formulating conjectures and conclusions from their research. At the opposite end of the spectrum lie the journalists and reporters who focus their writing on the significance and implications of new science for the public. Each group has a different persuasive purpose and caters to a vastly different audience. In order to relay information accurately from their sources to their readers, these groups employ appropriate modes of rhetoric in their writing. Rhetoric serves as a translational tool that modulates the information that a writer takes in and recasts it for a specific reader.
The Vietnamese Lunar New Year was first introduced by China, Viet Nam’s oppressors for almost two thousand years (Le par. 7). The Chinese brought their own policies, culture and traditions to Viet Nam, including the Lunar New Year, which the Vietnamese people now commonly refer to as Tét. Even though Chinese in origin, like other countries in East Asia, Viet Nam has adopted the Lunar New Year festival despite the end of Chinese domination and has made the Lunar New Year’s festival its own. Even though Tét originated thousands of years ago, many Vietnamese celebrate the festival today in America and over time, the festival’s traditions have changed. However, the value of this festival lies neither in its Chinese origin nor in how it was initially celebrated in Viet Nam. Tét’s value is a result of how Vietnamese-Americans today are relating to their past and thus, preserving their identity.
2005-06 Winner: “The Imperialist Reason: Evolution of Self-Described Knowledge and Morality” by Teresa Lee
Imperialism has existed under many different names and for a variety of purposes from the colonization of the “New World” to the contemporary spread of American freedom in the Middle East. Imperialism has grown new faces to accommodate changing world sentiments and evolved to better suit national values. Yet, the underlying establishment on which imperialism survives and flourishes remains fundamentally the same. While imperialism utilizes specific instruments for the oppression and aggressive governing of other peoples, it also requires the approval and encouragement from the citizens at home in order to succeed. Particularly, the intellect and conscience of the imperialist nation need to be convinced of the imperialist cause. In essence, people support imperialism from behind an illusion of concrete “knowledge” and justifying “morality”. Specifically, the old imperialism of the nineteenth (and part of the twentieth) century was made possible behind the knowledge of scientific racism, as studied in Matthew Jacobson’s Barbarian Virtues, and selfless humanity, as expressed by Rudyard Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden”. In my paper, I intend to highlight how Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart exposes and dismisses the imperialist reason investigated by Jacobson and exercised by Kipling. It is important to note that Jacobson explores the knowledge of imperialism from an outside, academic perspective, whereas Kipling actually participates in the old imperialist reason. Achebe illustrates two types of white conquerors: an anthropological Commissioner and the preaching missionaries. The characters represent the intellectual and moral justifications of imperialism presented by Jacobson and Kipling, respectively. Published in the 1950s during the height of African anti-colonial liberation struggles, Things Fall Apart dispels the legitimacy of these old imperialist illusions. Achebe’s novel corresponds to the emergence of new global ideas and principles. However, although the reality offered in Achebe’s novel destroys the reason that defended old imperialism, imperialism does not die out. Instead, new intellectual and ethical explanations are adopted to better suit the imperialist nation’s ever-changing values and principles. Michael Ignatieff, professor of Human Rights at Harvard and prominent voice on U.S. international affairs, signals the latest imperialist reason, the redefined “knowledge” and the amended “morality”. Thus, a new imperialist age is born and the exercise of power continues.
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