Blog posts

The texts we are reading this semester are all engaging with contemporary is- sues of either the turn of the twentieth century or the twenty-first. In the 1890s, people discussed what was going on in newspapers and magazines; today, much of that discussion has moved online. In this assignment, you will write about the connections between the material we have been discussing in class and the current moment, using the format of the blog post–a public, often journalistic genre that engages with other writers and readers. To support the goal of public conversation, you will also be responsible for commenting on your classmates’ blog posts.

What is the goal of your blog post?

The goal of your blog post is to explore a connection between something in the current unit of the course and something else going on at the current moment. You have a fair amount of latitude here—you could connect our readings and discussions to current events, to books, movies, or TV shows being discussed, or to a more general conversation taking place at the time. Your goals in making this connection are two-fold: to make an argument, and to start a conversation. Your blog post should present evidence (in the form of links to other sources and brief quotations) that supports the connection you want to make and argues for its importance. Your post should also provide your readers with ideas to expand on, discuss, or disagree with.

Your blog post should

  • Make a connection between the readings and discussion in the current unit and some current event, conversation, piece of media or cultural artifact.
  • Contain a clearly identifiable thesis statement, though it may be more casual or informal than a thesis for a more formal paper.
  • Cite and link to 1-3 external sources.
  • Support the claims you make with evidence drawn from the readings, class discussions, and external sources.
  • Be professional in tone, though not necessarily formal. Consider online writing that you admire or are interested in and use these examples as models.
  • Be 500-750 words long.

Who is the audience for your blog post?

Your audience for your blog post is your classmates. This audience is very real–your classmates will read and respond to your post–so you should consider their interests, values, and potential objections in mind as you write your post.

When is your blog post due?

Group 1 Friday, 2/10
Group 2 Friday, 3/10
Group 3 Monday, 3/27

Submission instructions

The due date for your blog post depends on which group you are in. Your post should go up on the course blog before class time on the day your group’s posts are due.

Be sure to review the instructions on how to draft, format and revise your blog post.


Because this assignment is meant to encourage public conversation, you will also be responsible for commenting on your classmates’ posts. If you are in Group 1, you will comment on one post from Group 2 and one from Group 3; Group 2 comments on posts from Groups 1 and 3, and Group 3 comments on posts form Groups 1 and 2. Consult the commenting schedule on the blog to determine which specific post you should comment on in each group.

What constitutes an appropriate comment?

Your comments should be structured in a similar manner to your provocation question. You should first describe something you noticed about the post, and then either ask a question or make a connection based on what you described. As with the provocation questions, your goal here is to point to something specific in the text that you found interesting, important, puzzling, etc., and then expand on what you noticed. Remember, the goal here is conversation, so you should work to be in conversation with the post’s author and other commenters.

When are comments due?

Depending on your group, your comment will either be due 24 or 48 hours after the blog post deadline. The general commenting schedule is below, but you should also consult the online schedule for specific information about when each of your comments is due.

Group 1 blog posts Group 2 blog posts Group 3 blog posts
Group 2 comments by 5 PM on Saturday, Feb. 11 Group 3 comments by 5 PM on Saturday, March 11 Group 1 comments by 5 PM on Tuesday, March 28
Group 3 comments by 5 PM on Sunday, Feb. 12 Group 1 comments by 5 PM on Sunday, March 12 Group 2 comments by 5 PM on Wednesday, March 29