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PSU Popular Culture Discussion

The main mission of this assignment is to summarise and personally evaluate the given article. Please focus on incorporating a quotation from the text into the evaluation paragraph and then connecting that quote to the popular culture example you will be discussing. Here is what you have to do:

Part 1: Select a quotation from the essay you are writing about in the Main Session for Module 5. Then introduce, cite, and explain in your own words what the author is saying in the quote. See the handout “Selecting and integrating quotes into your essay” for guidance on how to effectively select and cite quotes.

After you have discussed your chosen quote, select and write about an example of a popular culture artifact that you think is relevant to the main idea presented in the quote. (For example, if your quote is drawn from Binyavanga Wainaina’s essay, “How to Write about Africa,” then your popular culture example should be relevant in some way to the idea or claim presented in the quote from Wainaina’s essay).

Note: This relevance or connection can be based on:

  • a difference or contradiction (your popular culture example contradicts what the author is saying in the quote), OR,
  • it can be based on a similarity or confirmation (your popular culture example confirms or exemplifies what the author is saying in the quote), OR,
  • your popular culture example might add something new that advances the author’s point or takes it in a somewhat different direction
  • The summary must contain the author’s thesis. That is, what is the main point or the main argument that the author is talking about? What is he or she trying to convince you to do or to believe?
  • The summary should be written using your own words. Avoid simply quoting the author. Good summarization involves putting ideas into your own words, because that process ensures that you have mastered the ideas. Anyone can simply re-key words that they see on a page. But do they really understand what those words mean? Putting the ideas into your own words demonstrates that you possess those ideas as part of your own intellectual domain.
  • The evaluation must clearly state what you think about the author’s thesis. Do you agree? Disagree? Agree a little bit but have a slightly different take? Most importantly, however, the evaluation should explain why. Why do you agree or disagree? You should base the explanation of this “why” on your own experiences of popular culture, citing your own examples. I cannot emphasize this enough: the evaluation must contain examples that illustrate your own argument. The examples should come from your own reading, listening, watching of texts, music, fashion, film, television, and myriad other pop culture products.

Some things to bear in mind:

  1. Choose quotes that present ideas that are core to the author’s point. Avoid quotes that simply present facts (because you don’t need to bring in the author’s exact words for that, you can just paraphrase or summarize it in your own words). Only quote those moments in the text when the author’s language is significant in some way. Maybe it contains a key term or concept (Virgie Tovar defining “BoPo-washing”). Or it could be a moment where the author is making a claim that is central to their argument. Again, here the precise language that the author uses is important so a direct quote is justified.
  2. Make sure to introduce your quote (there are multiple examples of how to do this in the Selecting and Integrating Quotations handout).
  3. Use reporting verbs that are claim-focused (X proposes, argues, claims) or use “set-up” language like: According to X, “ quote…”
  4. Make sure to cite the quote (use quotation marks, provide author name and page numbers).
  5. Then after citing the quote explain what the author is saying—using your own words and highlighting what is important to you.
  6. Finally, bring in a popular culture example of your own and explain how that example is relevant to what the author is saying in this quote. See Part 2 in the question for more on how to show relevance.


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