Conduct a rhetorical analysis (WA 93-97) – a sustained close reading or critique – of an (ideally-education-related) ad, flyer, brochure, or website, or of one of the cultural artifacts listed below. Look for patterns (WA 8-9) and bring to light not just what the ad/brochure/website/artifact articulates, but what it does NOT say: the questions it does not ask, the topics that are not covered, etc. Expose how that artifact supports a certain agenda while, perhaps, neglecting or negating certain others). Make sure that it’s clear to your audience why understanding the (perhaps hidden) agenda of this artifact matters. Consider, as appropriate, the interpretive context (date, place, intended users/audience, similar works by the same author/company). Possible cultural artifacts to investigate:
- A specific (permanent) physical object on campus, such as a campus building. Consider location, design, decoration. Who is it intended to affect, and how?
- a course syllabus
- a promotional brochure for any campus organization or for UCSC as a whole (consider comparing and contrasting UCSC’s self-promotional material with that of Stanford or Santa Clara University – check out their websites). Analyzing Admissions Office information would be especially welcome. How does UCSC sell itself? What aspects of the campus does it promote, and what does it de-emphasize or omit?
- a commercial or ad (especially an educational or a political one).
See WA 95-96 (sample rhetorical analysis of an ad) or 65ff. (sample analysis of a magazine cover) for examples. And you might particularly want to review Tuchman’s discussion of educational branding (Reader 224ff).
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