Blogging Assignments

Below, you’ll find instructions for all of the out-of-class required blog posts. (Alternatively, you can download the Word document of the instructions here.)

These instructions assume two things: 1) you have read the “How to Make a Blog Post” handout on our course website, and 2) you have read and followed the instructions for the “How to Set Up a WordPress Account” handout on our course website.

Blog Post #1: Due Oct. 3rd, before class
Step 1: Locate one example of popular media post 9/11 that serves as an example of the reemergence of Cold War Rhetoric and/or Containment Culture (this can be a film, a television show, a magazine article, a video game, a comic book, etc.). Ideally, this will be something you’re fond of.

Step 2: Write a blog post (see handout for instructions on how to make a blog post) that provides a) a short summary of your popular culture artifact, b) an analysis of what important aspects of this popular culture artifact echo Cold War Rhetoric and/or Containment Culture, and c) a visual accompaniment (this could be an image of a film poster, an embedded YouTube video of the trailer for a film or video game, etc.). When using copyrighted images/videos, be sure to include the bibliographic information. (Remember to choose the appropriate “Categories” associated with your blog post before posting).

Step 3: Comment on at least one of your peers’ posts. Your comment should engage with their analysis – either further deepening what they have already started, or perhaps making a critical connection to another piece of media.

Blog Post #2: Due Oct. 19th, before class
Step 1: Read Matthew Farish’s “Disaster and Decentralization: American Cities and the Cold War” and choose one quote (that is not the thesis moment) that really gets at the heart and significance of what Farish is attempting to argue. Transcribe that quote into a blog post and explain its significance in relationship to Farish’s overall objective.

Step 2: Given Farish’s argument that images of Hiroshima inspired a kind of anxiety-driven obsession with urban disaster during the Cold War period, discuss the power of the incessant imagery of the Twin Towers falling on the imagination of a post 9/11 United States.

Set 3 (optional): Respond to at least one of your peers’ posts by replying with a thoughtful and engaging short paragraph of your own.

Blog Post #3: Due Oct. 26th, before class
Step 1: Read Nicholas Evan Sarnatakes’ “Cold War Pop Culture and the Image of U.S. Foreign Policy: The Perspective of the Original Star Trek Series.” Optional: watch “Errand of Mercy,” an original Star Trek episode, first airing on the 23rd of March, 1967.

Step 2: Sarantakes discusses a variety of Star Trek episodes/story lines that serve as direct allegories to U.S. foreign and domestic policies and/or culture. In this blog post, call on one of these allegories and summarize it briefly (using at least one quote from Sarantakes).

Step 3: What about science fiction and/or fantasy writing do you think gives it the opportunity to challenge deeply seated political/cultural ideologies? Can you think of another example of science fiction or fantasy that self-consciously provides a cultural critique?

Step 4: Respond to at least one of your peers’ posts by replying with a thoughtful and engaging short paragraph of your own.

Blog Post #4: Due Nov. 2nd, before class
Step 1: Write a blog post that begins with two sentences: In the first sentence, describe your research topic. In the second sentence, describe the relevance of your research topic.

Step 2: After your first two sentences, use a paragraph break and then write between 200 – 300 words on what others have said about this topic and what you hope to accomplish in your RBA (that is perhaps different from what others have done – essentially, you’re gesturing toward your unique perspective or lens).

Blog Post #5: Due Nov. 16th
Step 1: Brainstorm what you already know about your topic/research up to this point. It might be best to free-write with pen and paper for a few minutes to really unloosen the various ideas you have in relation to your topic. Think about the Research Mixer moment of articulation; think about the Windhover labyrinth exercise; think about the introduction vs. the conclusion of your TiC; think about the research you have done already, specifically your annotated bibliography. What has been the trajectory of your topic/hypothesis? Get into the specifics, the complexities, the connections you’re actively making between texts and the subtopics or issues that are emerging out of all the work you’ve done thus far. Once you have a significant “brainstorm” artifact – whatever form this takes – move on to Step 2.

Step 2: Start “mapping” these ideas. The objective here is to begin coming up with possible outlines for your RBA. You have an official outline due after the break (on Nov. 28th), and you are beginning that work in this blog post.

Step 3: Use one of the following programs to help you create a visual representation of your “brainstorm”/”mapping” of your ideas thus far. (If you have another program that you are already familiar with and would rather use, go ahead!)

Step 4: Write a blog post where you a) introduce your research topic and your mindmap/brainstorm/outline (2 or 3 sentences) and then b) include either a link or an image of your work thus far.

Step 5: Comment on at least one of your peers’ outlines/maps with a thoughtful response and a couple of suggestions and/or questions. (Be sure to try to respond to a peer that has not already received feedback. If everyone has feedback at the time you decide to respond to a peer, feel free to choose to comment on any project that interests you).


Cold War American Culture Post 9/11

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