Reflective — GracchusBabeuf

Core Value 1. My work demonstrates that I used a variety of social and interactive practices that involve recursive stages of exploration, discovery, conceptualization, and development.

My rebuttal argument and its associated rewrite best demonstrate my use of social and interactive practice to explore a topic and revise my work. Specifically, I discussed some of my idea for a rebuttal argument with my professor during our call focused mostly on my causal argument. Hilariously, my comments that a rebuttal argument would be simple turned out to be entirely false — an inconvenient discovery forced me to completely reaproach the rebuttal. This proved to be an excellent example of exploration, discovery and revision, as I was forced to scrap my argument when presented with information which undermined my faith in it. Combined with skillful editing suggestions from my professor, the revised rebuttal rewrite is a much stronger piece.

Core Value 2. My work demonstrates that I read critically, and that I placed texts into conversation with one another to create meaning by synthesizing ideas from various discourse communities. 

My submission for the stone money paper effectively illustrates my ability to place texts into conversation with each other. Synthesizing the assigned reading by Milton Friedman, a “this american life” radio program, and Marx’s Capital, I presented a paper which attempts to de-mystify money in a timely manner. My final paragraph, in specific, ties together Marx’s theories on money, Friedman’s observations on the Yap islanders, and the details of the Brazilian monetary miracle. The difference in the “discourse communities”, as the core value puts it, is also quite significant. Milton Friedman is one of the most influential economists of the Chicago school, and is associated most with right-wing “neoliberal” economics. On the other hand, there is Karl Marx. He is one of, if not the most, well-known and often misunderstood (deliberately or otherwise) political economists in history. Utilizing these sources from similar disciplines but disparate “discourse communities” demonstrates my ability to read critically and synthesize ideas.

Core Value 3. My work demonstrates that I rhetorically analyzed the purpose, audience, and contexts of my own writing and other texts and visual arguments.

The PTSD claims assignment was one of my favorite assignments in the class, and my submission strongly demonstrated an understanding of audience and of rhetorical analysis. Deliberately mimicking the style employed by the professor, I made sure to put the type of claim I was identifying in bold text. Additionally, I frequently used the first person and engage is some excessively pedantic arguments with the text. These shows a knowledge of the audience of the writing, namely, that the assignment was not incredibly formal, and more variation and stylistic flair was both allowed and encouraged. Furthermore, the specificity of each claim section showed a strong engagement with the rhetorical analysis, even at risk of being needlessly pedantic. For instance, in the final paragraph, I refuted a factual claim presented by the author that “you have never seen two people so in love” with the simple contrarian statement, “yes I have”. Both statements are unprovable, but do illustrate a point about the risk of making unverifiable claims.

Core Value 4: My work demonstrates that I have met the expectations of academic writing by locating, evaluating, and incorporating illustrations and evidence to support my own ideas and interpretations.

The research paper shows how my work incorporates a plethora of primary and secondary resources to support my own ideas and interpretations. Specifically, I engaged with the scholastic debate surrounding Niccoló Machiavelli, author of the famous political science text The Prince. Drawing from The Prince itself, I present my central claim that Machiavelli can both counsel cruel actions while not actually preferring those actions. With a wealth of historical sources, such as Innocent Gentillet’s Anti-Machiavel, I met the core value’s standards of finding and parsing through evidence to support my ideas. Or, in the case of Gentillet, I identified an argument which runs counter to mine that is substantially and worthy of refutation. Additionally, I used historian Narasingha Prosad Sil to illustrate a key point about Machiavelli’s personal morality and the “reign of virtue”.

Core Value 5. My work demonstrates that I respect my ethical responsibility to represent complex ideas fairly and to the sources of my information with appropriate citation. 

My annotated bibliography is a testament to my commitment to ethically citing my sources. Ranging from primary sources like The Prince to modern and earl-modern secondary sources, my annotated bibliography has a breadth and depth of information that is properly attributed. The bibliography is particularly noteworthy because it gave me a place to write about the sources which influenced me that I could not or did not include. For example, I credit S.B. Drury’s “The Hidden Meaning of Strauss’s “Thoughts on Machiavelli”” for undermining my planned rebuttal argument, forcing a reorientation of the rebuttal and my term paper as a whole. A source which I did use rather extensively was Innocent Gentillet’s Anti-Machiavel, which I scoured for passages related to his overwhelming hatred of Machiavelli. I did my best to represent Gentillet’s deeply flawed argument fairly and without making a straw-man of him.

About gracchusbabeuf

French journalist for "Le tribun du peuple".
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1 Response to Reflective — GracchusBabeuf

  1. davidbdale says:

    I will savor this for its wit and wisdom.


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