Assignment Title: Surfacing Subcultures
Author: Maseri Schultz, California State University Northridge (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date published: August, 2022
Class Info/Tags: First-Year Composition, Face-to-Face, Synchronous, Composition Studies
Course Motivation: To prepare students for college-level argumentation, paragraph development, and academic research.
Context of Use: I assign 3 major essays every semester: two textual analyses and a formal research paper. “Surfacing Subcultures” is a research-based argumentative essay that asks students to inspect the misconceptions about an American subculture, and reveal the hidden truths or beauties about it. These discussion points help students practice dissecting a counterargument, as well as integrating scholarly research to support both sides of the issue. Beyond writing, this prompt teaches students how to identify misconceptions and think critically about their own assumptions regarding the world around them.
Instructor Reflection: Leading up to this assignment, students should learn how to generate a counterargument, integrate it into their thesis statement, and write a counterargument paragraph. They should also learn how to find peer-reviewed journal articles and utilize them to support their points. To scaffold research, I typically assign an annotated bibliography beforehand. For the version of the assignment with a research question, students will also need to learn how to generate a strong research question. I love this project because students typically choose subcultures they’re part of, and produce stronger writing when they’re personally invested in the subject. They are excited to explore their own identities in an academic setting!