Unit II Written Work

In our class thus far we’ve been using narrative method to think about how storytelling can affect real-world outcomes. There are many places we tell stories about our community in public space: through entertainment media, in news, in political speech, even in legislation. Asking critical questions, we can see that public-sector narrative building can have serious consequences:

  • Storytelling is a kind of power; who is empowered to tell stories?
  • The storyteller’s perspective is impacted by their position and identity; how do their experiences shape how a story is told?
  • Persuasive stories are shared through many means; how does the ensuing narrative affect political and social decision-making?

For units II and III you’ll be identifying a widely-shared public narrative that you feel should be contested. Your Unit II written work will shape stage one of your research: identifying and analyzing different presentations of that narrative in public media. Note that for stage one of your research you will not use academic sources. You can use news reportage, personal narratives, public art, policy, but no peer-reviewed research at this point. That doesn’t mean you can’t use specialists with an academic background, but it’ll need to be writing done for wider public consumption.

The Unit II writing will have two components: an annotated bibliography and a synthesis. Please create both in a single google document, shared with Dr. Reed (kreed at vcu dot edu).

Annotated Bibliography: Your annotated bibliography will include 3-4 sources, formatted in this manner:

  1. an APA bibliographic citation for each source
  2. a one paragraph summary of the source (approximately 200 words each, clearly stating the text’s central idea and frame for the narrative you’re exploring)

Synthesis: Following your annotated bibliography, you’ll write up a statement putting your sources in conversation with one another. For this, you’ll need to piece together how the authors have chosen to frame their stories, and how those frames build up to a larger picture. Here I’m looking to see you use targeted language connecting the dots between your sources. See an example of that connective language here. Your synthesis statement can use existing text from your source summaries. It should run approximately 1000 words.

Grading Breakdown for this assignment: 5 points will be allocated to the annotated bibliography and 10 points will be allocated to the synthesis statement.

Resources for this assignment:

Worksheet on putting sources in conversation
A sample assignment on “Superpredators”
The APA citation Guide at VCU Writes
Our own guide on narrative framing and counter storytelling