Project 1: Genre Analysis
English 3840j - Writing, Reading, and Rhetoric in the Professions
Reflective Essay: 300-500 words (1 p)
Genre Analysis: 1500-1800 words, (5-6 pp.)
Sept. 9: Project Proposals due (on blog); Bring2-3 Possible Genre Selections to ClassSept. 13: Bring Final Genre Selections to ClassSept. 23: Project 1 Drafts due for PeersSept. 25: Project 1 due for Instructor
As we learned in the first week of the course, we can become better writers by becoming more aware of a variety of genres and studying how they function to influence discourse. In our first reading, AnneBeaufort emphasized the importance of not only learning new genres, but also gaining a meta-awareness of what we already know about genres, how they work and what they do.
Accordingly, thereadings in Unit 1 focus significant attention on the concept of genre in order to get you thinking abouthow genres emerge as a result of recurring situations, as well as how they are always connected to some
kind of “social action” in our everyday lives. Genres are not just textual categories; they are embedded
in our speech utterances, daily encounters, even social structures. Furthermore, the more knowledgewe can acquire about genre, the more successful we will be at understanding how disciplinary andprofessional communities construct, maintain, and disseminate both information (discourse) and powerrelations. Because genre is so important in understanding how texts can structure and govern socialcommunities (esp. professional communities), this assignment asks you to do some genre analysis inorder to accomplish a number of goals:
become more familiar with typical genres in your professional field: their textual features andconventions,
identify how genres influence rhetorical situations, accomplishing rhetorical goals of aninstitution or writer, and how they have a direct influence on their audiences,
gain an understanding of how texts (and the genres they belong to) are always connected tosocial situations and social actions,
realize that genres organize material relations, e.g. providing/withholding access to goods,services, etc.
What does this have to do with writing, reading, and rhetoric in your profession? Gaining anunderstanding of how genre operates will not only improve your chances of being a successful writer ina given genre, it will also allow you to understand the social and material implications of specific genresin your field. In other words, understanding genres will help you realize how texts influence our socialrealities and change our lives in very real/physical ways.