500 prompt 2

Unit 2: Analyzing the objects of our affection


“What bothers me about the mall is its silence, a silence we mostly live in nowadays; what cheers me are the ways people are learning to read the silence histories of objects and choosing the objects that still sing.” –Rebecca Solnit, The silence of the lambs wool cardigans

Permitted Sources: Almost Human: How R3D2 became the most beloved robot in the galaxy (Smithsonian, 2014) The silence of the lambswool cardigans (Alternet) Sherry Turkle, A passion for objects: How science is fueled by an attachment to things (The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2011) Optional: One additional source specific to your object

In Unit 1, we attempted to define our relationship to our education by placing ourselves somewhere on a continuum between being an intrinsic and extrinsic learner. Along with way, many of us created new concepts (identified by new terms such as multicultural learner) that offers a nuanced and complex analyses of how we relate to and think about past, present, and future of international study abroad programs.

Now we’ll turn our attention to the ways that we, as international students, act and interact with technology .

For your second essay, you will produce an analysis of one specific technological object, and the object that you choose should be something for which you have affection. Your task is to make visible (and therefore readable-> heard) the “silent history” of your object. As part of your analysis, you will explore the ways in which this silent history impacts your relationship to the object: Does the history complicate your affection for this object? (How) does its history cause you to reevaluate your relationship to it? An ultimately, so what?

To prepare the first draft of this analytical essay (4 full-5 pages, double-spaced). You will extend the physical descriptions prepared in Prompts 5 and 6 to explain the possible significance this object has in terms of a larger concern–personal, social, aesthetic, economic, moral, ethical, and so on–or any combination of these. Focus on how your understanding of the object’s significance comes through your interactions with and experience of the object. Lastly, connect your analysis to one or more of the unit readings (Adapted from Crouse).

Unit 2: 500+ Word Prompts

Prompt 2 (Data gathering): Write a description of the object you’ve chosen. Your description should convey the object’s physical properties without relying on evaluative terms (such as “good,” “helpful,” “expensive,” etc.)