When you read, you produce an individual interpretation of a text. Let's call this your "reading" of that text, which represents one of many possible readings. For example, when/if you read Fahrenheit 451, you took away a sense of who did what, why it mattered, and what it all "meant" that emphasized some things over others based on your experiences and personal values: Maybe you saw it primarily as a defense of free speech in society, or maybe you took away the importance of art and reading in becoming a truly developed individual.
In this class, we're going to try to read multiple texts together and produce "intertextual" readings. This means we synthesize, or combine, ideas from the various texts to produce an interpretation of how they fit together. We're looking at the texts like participants in a conversation. You can imagine texts as potential puzzle pieces, adding up to reveal a bigger picture we didn't see before. Often, this will show something about the culture that produced the texts.
Our first experiment with this type of intertextual interpretation involves a cluster of articles related to the current debate over speech codes and safe spaces on America's college campuses. The University of Chicago sent a letter to incoming students that touched off a national conversation on the topic; now we'll join this conversation by reading, analyzing and debating the following:
-The actual text of the University of Chicago's controversial welcome letter
-An excerpt from President Obama's comments on this issue at Rutgers (see 39:05)
-Two news articles about the origins of this issue and free speech at U. Chicago
-Opinion pieces from a college student, professor and newspaper on the topic
HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: Write two mini-paragraphs (4 sentences):
-Write a 1-paragraph rhetorical precis for ONE article we read in class.
-Write a persuasive response paragraph giving your view on appropriate speech.
Then print, read and SOAPSTONE the following article: