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Writing Analytically Ch. 1
Transcript of Writing Analytically Ch. 1
The Analytical Frame of Mind
Writing and Thinking
-"Learning to write well means learning ways of using writing in order to think well" (1)
-"Through writing we figure out what things mean" (1)
Two traditional oppositions:
1. writing < speech 2. writing < thought
1. Writing is traditionally thought to be subordinate to speech because speech is live, present, more truthful
2. Writing is traditionally thought to be subordinate to thought because thought is internal, present, more truthful
-As opposed to speech and thought, which are considered originary (they come first), writing is secondary. Writing is like a technology of speech or thought, it comes to the scene afterward, only to create a memory of the original (speech/thought).
J.J. Rousseau: "Writing is nothing but the representation of speech"
F. Saussure: "Writing veils the appearance of language; it is not a guise for language but a disguise"
Plato: "If men learn [writing] it will implant forgetfulness in their souls; they will cease to exercise memory because they rely on that which is written"
gets said but
it gets said
-How something positions us as readers, how the details of something encourage or discourage certain responses to it
-The rhetoric of something can be unintentional just as much as it can be intentional
What is Rhetoric? (pg. 19)
What does analysis do?
-pursues something puzzling
-goes beyond reportage, beyond summary
-divides the subject into its defining parts and considers how those parts are related
-pays close attention to detail
-finds implicit meanings, asking "so what?"
summary + analysis
What gets in the way of analysis? Counterproductive Habits of Mind
1. The Judgment Reflex (pg. 10)
2. Naturalizing Our Assumptions (Overpersonalizing) (pg. 12)
3. Generalizing (pg. 12)
4. The Slot-Filler Mentality (Five Paragraph Form) (pg. 15)
and the Problem of Habit
-we tend to organize our lives around predictable actions, efficiencies and biases
-however, predictability and efficiency costs us novelty
-privilege of children (who notice things that adults cannot because of habitualization) and art (the aim of which is to defamiliarize our perceptions of things, to "overcome the deadening effects of habit")
The Five Analytical Moves
1. Suspend Judgment
2. Define Significant Parts and How They Are Related
-notice and focus (+ ranking)
-"interesting," "strange," "revealing"
3. Make the Implicit Explicit
-implicit: "folded in"; explicit: "folded out"
-ask "SO WHAT?"
4. The "Method"
-exact repetitions and like/similar repetitions
5. Keep Reformulating Questions and Explanations
Quiz Ch. 1
1. In the section on "Counterproductive Habits" the authors introduce us to a phrase from the poet John Keats. What is "negative capability"?
2. What two words mean "folded in" and "folded out"?
3. In order to distinguish analysis from argument, summary, and expressive writing, the authors suggest that all communication involves “three possible centers of emphasis.” The different kinds of writing emphasize each center differently. What are the “three possible centers of emphasis”?
4. Identify one of the "Five Analytical Moves."
5. Provide a detail from the painting at the end of Ch. 1.
Analyzing a classroom:
explicit/ implicit + what/ how (rhetoric) + "so what?"
1. Begin by breaking your object of study into its parts. This is the "what," the general, but explicit features of a space.
-for example, what are the general parts or features of this room: walls, floor, table, chairs, windows, ceiling, lights
2. Next, focus on the details of these explicit features.
-for example, the walls are...
-the windows are...
-the chairs are...
-the ceiling is...
-the lights are...
As you are noticing more specific details, you are starting to deal with your object's
3. After spending time defining the details of these features, you may want to start thinking about how features are related to one another.
-for example, how do the chairs and windows relate to one another? Or the chairs and lights?
Can you identify patterns of repetition? Are there significant contrasts or binaries?
4. Start asking "So what?" This is the process the text identifies as "making the implicit explicit." In the case of our classroom, you are asking: what do specific details mean? What effect do they have on us? What is implied or suggested in these details?
Practice inferring implications from observations:
-Sample: The sidewalk is disappearing as a feature of the American residential landscape; Implications: people don't walk anywhere anymore; builders lack much sense of social responsibility.
-New house designs are tending increasingly toward open plans in which the kitchen is not separated from the rest of the house.
-Shopping malls and grocery stores rarely have clocks.