Posts Tagged ‘2010-11’
Earlier this year, I was hanging around after one of my classes ended for the day. Few, if any, of us had regularly scheduled meetings afterwards and were often prone to aimlessness after the bell had rung, like so many bits of tapioca suspended in the room, waiting to be consumed by conversation or group impetus towards the door. My friend Lisa and I were eavesdropping on a conversation among some classmates when the oft-used phrase, “That’s so ghetto!”, was tossed out. Lisa, ever the champion of the oppressed, immediately objected. “That’s inappropriate,” she admonished. “You shouldn’t use that word.” I accepted observer status as the looks of confusion turned to understanding and then to protests. Our peers claimed that no racist line had been crossed; the word was not being used in relation to an ethnic group – it was only being used in reference to something of low quality. Later, I looked up the definition in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) online and was somewhat caught off-guard. I don’t know exactly what I had been expecting, but I had never considered how old the word was or its origin. I fall into the same league as my fellow students; within the last few years, I have told people, “I used to live on the ghetto side of Greenlake.” I’m pretty sure that the Greenlake demographic is mostly Caucasian and not particularly poor; I was only conveying a sense of poverty (that is, in relation to the other side of the lake). What is happening here? Why does it evoke such emotion from some people while others say it without a second thought? A single word, yet many meanings and disparate reactions.
Ostensibly, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series creates a world oblivious to race, one in which those of any background can rise according to their abilities alone. However, beneath the surface, Harry Potter encompasses deep-seated racial themes and constructs a complex and highly stratified racial hierarchy. Although the novels depict certain antiquated racial logics, they also ask “questions about cultural, national, and ethnic bias” as well as highlight the “horrors perpetuated by those who pursue [racial purity],” offering a multilayered criticism of the very racial stratification that the series upholds (Whited 8,1). Harry Potter preserves traditional racial attitudes through its narrow emphasis on the White and the Anglo-Saxon, but turns around to challenge these same themes through its depiction of an entirely new, metaphorical racial hierarchy of magical creatures.
The editorial committee of e.g., UW’s online journal of 100-level writing, is pleased to announce the winning essay for 2010-11:
Kayhan Nejad, “Literal and Metaphorical: Racial Themes in Harry Potter”
This essay was chosen to represent excellence in academic writing based on the EWPs four Outcomes. Specifically the essay takes a complex view of of the Harry Potter series by reading the novels at two different levels—the more literal level and a metaphorical level—and in so doing puts the novels in critical conversation with themselves. The paper also engages with the critical conversations surrounding Rowling’s series through a variety of academic sources, including literary criticism and scholarly journals. His essay follows a clearly articulated line of inquiry that leads the reader through a multi-stage argument.
And our i.e. winner for 2010-11:
Pat Origenes, “That’s So Ghetto!”
This essay was chosen to represent excellence in genre writing. Modeled on Beverely Gross’s “Bitch,” the essay constructs an academic argument about the meanings and stakes of “Ghetto” by employing academically non-traditional evidence such as personal experience, dictionary definitions (both “traditional” like the OED and “non-traditional” like slang dictionaries), contemporary media sources, and interviews. The author also makes stylistic choices to target audiences that might fall outside of traditional “academic” audiences and in so doing demonstrates the broad stakes of recognizing the power of language.
Selections for the journal were made by members of e.g. editorial committee. All members present at editorial committee meetings offer an opinion on which essays should be selected for publication, except in cases where an editor happens to be the instructor of one of the student submitters. In this case, the editor does not read, evaluate, or offer an opinion/vote on work submitted by his or her former student.
The e.g. editorial committee found the above works to be an exemplary piece of 100-level writing demonstrating excellence in claim and communication and proficiency in the Expository Writing Program’s outcomes
- 2011-2012 i.e. Winner: “The impact of tangible evidence” by Rebecca Eskildsen
- 2011-2012 Winner: “A Virtual Exchange of Basketball Culture” by Ameen Tabatabai
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- 2010-11 i.e. Winner: “That’s So Ghetto!” by Pat Origenes
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