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Essay #1: Graff Response

Assignment: Write a 3-5 page essay briefly summarizing and then responding to Gerald Graff’s “Hidden Intellectualism.”

Approaching the Assignment: Essay #1 is meant to provide practice with summarizing and responding to other people’s ideas and with using some of the templates in TS/IS (or to prompt you to create and use some of your own). You will especially want to read and re-read the sections discussing summarizing on pp. 30-40 and quote framing on pp. 44-50.

However, you will also need to have a substantial, original argument of your own, and you will need to support that argument with lots of vivid, relevant descriptions, details, stories, and/or reasons – from both the article and your own life. For example, you could describe the moment you yourself decided to become the intellectual (or, if you prefer, the non-intellectual) that you are today, or you might tell a story about how supposedly non-intellectual endeavors and/or materials—like television, video games, or social media posts—once contributed to or detracted from the scholarly development of you or one of your friends. Or you might simply explain why you love and/or hate more traditional intellectual activities like writing essays or reading the works of Shakespeare.

As for your thesis (which should be clearly articulated in the last sentence of your introduction), it’ll probably answer the question of how, if at all, engaging in supposedly non-intellectual activities and/or with supposedly non-intellectual media can actually teach us to view the world “through academic eyes” (qtd. in Graff 250), as Graff claims it can. And, yes, you may of course disagree with Graff if your experiences suggest he’s wrong. Or you might look beyond that central argument to elaborate on one of Graff’s supporting points or to take issue with some of the essay’s underlying assumptions. Feel free to be creative. I’ll let you know, when I comment on your outline later this week, if you don’t seem to be answering the actual assignment prompt.

Requirements checklist:

____ 1. Your final draft must contain at least three full, correctly formatted pages—plus a correctly formatted works cited page to acknowledge your source(s).

____ 2. Be sure to introduce and summarize the Graff article in your first or second paragraph and to incorporate quotes and paraphrases elsewhere as needed.

____ 3. Remember, however, that you must go beyond what Graff says to make a substantial, original argument of your own. In other words, be sure to organize your essay around your own arguments, not Graff’s.

____ 4. Check the daily schedule and Canvas regularly for due dates of the various tasks related to this assignment and keep in mind that you can’t receive points for in-class activities – especially revision and editing workshops – unless you arrive on time and prepared to participate in those activities.

____ 5. If you want extra feedback from me, plan ahead. I’m happy to look at your papers, but you’ll need to come to my office during office hours or at some other pre-arranged time (see p. 1 of the syllabus for my availability).

____6. Finally, remember that any work you submit in this class must be composed by you specifically for this class. In other words, do NOT recycle papers from other classes or present someone else’s writing and/or ideas as your own. When you borrow the work of others, be sure to cite that work using the conventions described in the green section of your handbook.

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