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Spring 2010 Eng 465 Article Summaries

Page history last edited by Brian Croxall 11 years, 3 months ago

Article Summaries and Responses


Throughout the semester, we will be reading several theoretical texts about media, technology, and/or literature. Many of these texts will feel difficult to read in places, and I know (from personal experience) that one can be tempted to gloss over these passages and think, “Well, I’ll wait for class to get this explained.” But that’s not the best way to go about learning. Thus, this assignment asks you to write summaries of and responses to the theoretical texts we read throughout the semester and to turn them in before we discuss the texts in class.


  • First, you will summarize the author’s argument or—and this is important—a portion thereof. You will do this by noting his or her thesis and outlining the logic by which this thesis is reached or supported. In other words, you are condensing/explicating the argument that the author has already made.
  • Second, you will write a brief response to the author’s argument. Your response should add additional support to the author’s thesis or highlight something that you find problematic in the argument. In other words, here you are supplementing or arguing with the author. This portion of the assignment will not be as rigorously or as extensively argued as it would be in a longer paper. I am interested in seeing your thought process. As such, a response that only says, “I am uncomfortable with McLuhan’s geographical division of oral and print cultures” is not sufficient. Why are you uncomfortable? What assumptions does he make that lead him to these decisions? Do his categories sometimes bear out in your experience but not in others?


Again, summaries are due on the day when we are discussing the particular text in class. Summaries should be 1.5 to 2 pages long. I may ask students to discuss their summaries as a start to the discussion, so be prepared.


You will write summaries on articles from the following authors:

  • McLuhan (two different summaries)
  • Baudrillard
  • Virilio
  • Rose
  • Moulthrop, “From Work to Play”
  • McGonigal
  • Bolter and Grusin
  • Hayles
  • Derrida


Summaries are graded on a 10-point scale. As I mentioned, many of the articles that you will read are difficult and complex. If you make an honest effort to complete the assignment, you will receive full credit. This assignment should be an easy way for you to gain points.


You may skip one summary during the course of the semester (writing a total of nine). Alternatively, you may complete them all and earn a potential 10 points of extra credit.


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