Wednesday, December 2, 2009

In-Class work for 12/3

1) If you haven't yet, post your thesis paragraph.

2) Post the first paragraph of your essay - think about how to capture your reader's attention.

3) Look at some of your colleague's thesis and first paragraphs. Leave them a comment about what you notice and what's effective. Use what you discover to revise your own paragraphs.

4) Continue to work on your research essay draft. If you would like to turn in a version for comments, you may do so, or you can also post a section on the blog for comments.

5) For extra credit/to review for the exit exam: read at Obama's speech on Afghanistan: especially look at the last section that begins "Since the days of Franklin Roosevelt" (28:44 on in the transcript) What view of America in the world does Obama argue for? How does it compare to the view of the neoconservatives discussed in "Visions of Dominance"? To other views we've seen this semester.

Then look at this critique of Obama's speech by Vietnam veteran and Professor Andrew Bacevich. What is Bacevich's argument and how does it relate to critiques of U.S. power we've read this semester?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

In-Class Work for 11/19

1) If you're reading the handout of Ehrhart, pick up a copy of page 161 to add to the packet for Monday. Make a note that this text is Passing Time, by W.D. Ehrhart in case you need to refer to it in your exit exam.

2) Print and turn in your annotated bibliography, even if it's incomplete. I'll respond to them during class. In the meantime, keep looking for more sources, reading, and taking notes on more sources if you need to.

3) Looking at Part II of the Essay outline, write a thesis paragraph that presents your answer to the central question, "Does the example of this country support the idea that the U.S. is an imperial power?" Post this thesis paragraph on your blog AND bring a hard copy to class on Monday. Note that for this essay, the thesis paragraph will not come right at the start.

4) Using your sources, begin to work on some supporting paragraphs (also in Part II).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

In-Class work for 11/12

1) If you haven't yet completed or posted your research brainstorming, finish and post it.

2) Keep looking for sources - periodicals and academic articles. Use the tools we talked about it determine if they're useful before reading the whole thing and/or priting it out, especially for long or academic sources.

3) Read your sources and take notes to start work on your annotated bibliographies.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

In-Class work for 11/5

1) Complete last weeks' posts about Our Brand is Crisis and Mark Engler's "Latin America in Revolt." Add on some questions you'd like to ask Engler about Latin America and its response to U.S. power. You can read a full description of his book and see more about his writing on his website here

2) If you haven't yet posted it, complete and post your research prewriting. (See part II of assignment handout).

3) Look at some of your colleagues' blogs along the right hand side. Read their entries and leave a comment: ask for clarification, add a follow up question, tell them what else they might look for in their research, etc.

4) Take a look at the 'finding sources' (stage 3) of your research assignment. In addition to the course text, you'll want to start by looking for periodical sources. I'd suggest starting with The Nation, a magazine that does a good job reporting on America's relationship with the world. Go to and search your country, either for recent articles (2003-present) or in the archives. You'll find the full text of recent articles and summaries of older articles. For the older articles, copy or write down the relevant information and search for articles in Lexis-Nexis via the library website. Print articles you think will be useful. Then you can begin to look for related material throught the Lexis/Nexis database. Try to bring in an article or two for next week.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Work for Thursday, October 29th

Call me over if you have questions about how to complete any of these steps.

1) Post a repsonse to the question about Our Brand is Crisis and "Latin America in Revolt" outlined write below this post.

2) Print out a copy of your revision in its most updated form. Circle your thesis.

3) Exchange your draft with a classmate. Write your name on your classmate's draft next to the word: "reader."

4) As the reader, go through the essay line by line. Check off each sentence that makes sense. For each sentence that doesn't, give one of the following comments:

- How do you know?
- Says who?
- So what?
- Just plain 'huh'?

If you wish you may also help your classmate by circling grammatical errors or typos but don't correct them.

5) Take your draft back and begin to work through the comments, making adjustments to your essay.

Bring the results of this update to class on Monday, along with the original essay. Be prepared to discuss how you corrected the things your classmates found. Hang onto your classmates' corrected version: you'll turn it in along with the orginal graded version and the final one.

"Our Brand is Crisis"

Following up on our discussion of yesterday's film and Engler's chapter on Latin America, respond to the following question:

At the end of the film, one of the U.S. political consultants says that leaders like Evo Morales represent a "dangerous form of populism." In the chapter "Latin America in Revolt," from How to Rule the World, Mark Engler describes how Morales and other new leaders in Latin America have been accused of "anti-Americanism," "populism" (260) and "demagoguery" (281). What do these accusations mean? What specific policies are these charges based on? Based on Engler's chapters, do you think these fears are justified? What specific policies has Morales implemented and how do they relate to these fears?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

In-Class work for 10/22

1) If you haven't posted on the Colbert video or Engler on Klein, do so. Some questions to think about : what is ideological part of Klein's argument, beyond the idea of corruption? In what ways does Klein want the government to do MORE?

2) Read through some recent blog posts of your colleagues and leave a comment. Be sure your blog is set up for people to leave comments.

3) Select a paragraph in the essay you're revising. and go through it with the guidelines we used in class yesterday: Says who? How do you know? So what? Rewrite the paragraph so it meets these guidelines, like we did with the sample paragraph in class on Wednesday.

Post this corrected paragraph on your blog as "Revised Paragraph"

4) Begin step 4 (brainstorming) on your revision handout. Post this on your blog as "revision brainstorm."

Look for my comments as you begin work on your revision.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thursday; Monday

Thursday we'll be in C126 - our Thursday room for the rest of the semester. Thanks for your patience with this situation.

For Monday, October 19th, post on one of the topics below on your blog. Also take a look at some of your colleagues and leave them a comment as well. If you blog isn't appearing along the side, be sure to check with me.

On Monday, we'll also start talking about your research projects and have a library visit. You might want to start thinking about a country whose relationship to the U.S. you want to examine in more detail.

If you want to get a head start on the next reading, it will be the next chapter from How to Rule the World in your packet, "Latin America in Revolt."

Engler on Klein

In his review of The Shock Doctrine, Mark Engler writes,

Iraq has been subjected to every shock imaginable. But rather than producing a state of regression and acquiescence, the onslaught has provoked intense resistance. As deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage is quoted as saying, “The U.S. is dealing with an Iraqi population that is un-shocked and un-awed.” Beyond the ethical and political implications of the botched occupation, it is just plain bad capitalism: “Bremer was sent to Iraq to build a corporate utopia,” Klein writes; “instead, Iraq became a ghoulish dystopia where going to a simple business meeting could get you lynched, burned alive or beheaded.” The author is ambivalent about the lessons. On the one hand, the corporate contractors who fled Iraq en masse had already reaped billions from government contracts, and energy companies still have their eye on Iraq’s oil. On the other hand, the crisis model has been foiled in important ways.

What do you think Engler is saying about the limits of Klein's argument? What does this tell us about the state of American power in the world today?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Video of Naomi Klein on the Colbert Report

In this video, Stephan Colbert pretends to defend making money off disasters. Despite his jokes, Klein gets her argument across. Notice the connection she makes to Hurricane Katrina. How do you think this argument relates to our overall course theme of America's place in the world?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Group Work - In your group, answer your question as specifically as possible. Take notes in the comments or in your notes to bring back to the class. For the first ten minutes, use Klein's chapter (or other readings as appropriate). For the second ten minutes, you may also turn to internet research tools.

GROUP ONE: What does Klein's title (The Shock Doctrine) refer to? What might be some examples of these "Shocks"?

GROUP TWO: Who was Milton Friedman? How does he relate to Klein's argument?

GROUP THREE: What is the "disaster capitalism complex"? How does it impact the relationship between government and corporations? Why does Klein think that it's a problem?

GROUP FOUR: What evidence from other cluster texts might support Klein's argument? Other examples you can think of? Might other examples point to a problem with her argument?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Thursday's Class!!!

Hi to all -

Tommorow, Thursday, we'll meet again in C126. I've been told the computers have been fixed - either way we'll work around it by working together and doing a mix of writing discussion. I'll update you on our future classroom as I know.

Please text your colleagues to let them know when you see this.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009


What was your experience in writing the first essay like? How does it compare to the kinds of writing you've done in or out of the classroom before? What do you think would help you become a stronger writer?

Personal Responses

What view of "American in the World" did you have coming into the cluster? Where do you think this idea came from? Has it changed? If so, what text(s) or idea(s) changed it? What do you still want to know? Thinking of the quotes we started with, are your thoughts now closer to Obama or to King?

Life and Debt

Respond to these questions in a post of any format:

- Do you think Life and Debt shows an example of colonialism? Why or why not? How does it compare to other forms of colonialism we've talked about in the cluster?

- Who has the power in the film? How do they hang on to it? What do you think the Jamaicans (either the government or the people) could do to challenge it?

- What connections do you see betwen this film and other cluster texts? Be specific.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Describe your initial reaction to the film. What struck you or surprised you? What do you think the conflict it shows is "really" about? What views of America in relation to the world are presented in the film?


Welcome to the our blog! This is your space to test out and share ideas. Before long, we'll have a long list of your blogs along the left hand side. Check the list or become a follower to see what your colleagues are thinking!