I will ask you to do two main kinds of writing in this course—a series of brief posts on our course blog in which you respond to the ideas in The Consequences of Modernity and other assigned texts (as well as to what your classmates have to say about them), and a somewhat longer critical essay in which you add to the critical conversation about digital culture.

Blog Posts

We will use the course blog as a space to discuss the ideas and questions about globalization and modernity raised in The Consequences of Modernity. I will divide the members of this class into three groups. Each week the members of one of those three groups will be assigned to post a first response to one of the assigned readings. These first responses are due on the day before we are scheduled to talk about the readings in class. We will begin our conversation in class by looking at those first responses.

I will post more detailed assignments for these first responses each week. The first two rounds will be on Giddens, the third on other assigned readings, and the fourth on a source you find on your own.

Each “first response” will be at least 400-500 words. It should be clear in your response that you have read the piece you are writing about closely, that you have thought hard about the ideas in it (whether you agree with them or not), and that you have edited your own prose with care. You should also, ideally, have a point or insight of your own to make—either about the reading, or about its subject. I will comment briefly on these pieces and grade them with a √ 0r √–.

The remaining two-thirds of the class will then be required to post comments on several of the first responses. These comments are due the day before class; we will discuss them in the following class. Comments may be quite brief—100 words or so—but you should do two things in them: (a) point to a specific moment of interest in the post you are commenting on, and (b) redirect our attention to a passage from The Consequences of Modernity (or other assigned text) that the first responder does not discuss. I’ll expect you to comment on at least three responses to earn a √. I will not usually comment on comments, but I will read and keep track of them.

I realize that these procedures may seem daunting at first. But the set-up is actually quite simple. For the first two series of blog posts:

Sun: First responses due

Mon: Discuss first responses in class

Tues: Comments on first responses due

Wed: Discuss comments in class


Critical Essay

You will conclude this semester by developing a critical essay in which you add something of your own to the critical conversation begun in The Consequences of Modernity. To do so, I will ask you to take on the approach of Giddens, to use (and perhaps revise) his methods in thinking about an issue related to globalization that interests you. Your final essay should run at least 2,000 words. You should work closely with one of the chapters in The Consequences of Modernity, and also bring some new texts into our conversation. You can try to extend or counter the thinking of Giddens. But your overall goal is to say something new, something that hasn’t already been said by Giddens, and to say it in a style that feels your own.

This is an ambitious task and I will ask you to develop your essay through several stages. I will describe each of these stages—beginning with a proposal and moving through several drafts and revisions—in some detail as the time comes for it during the semester. While this is not a long essay, it is one that you will be given several weeks to work on and refine. The final version of your essay should show clear evidence of such sustained work.

Please see Grades for details on how I will assess both your blog posts and critical essay.


The first step of your critical essay project is . . . to propose a critical essay project.  A 4oo-word essay proposal is due by noon on Wednesday 10/22. Please email it to me at danmorse@udel.edu

Your proposal should include the following elements:

  1. A topic: What are you going to be looking at in your essay? Another way to put this is, what are the materials of your essay, what it will be about?
  2. Some sources: What will you look through to explore and understand your topic? What is the lens that you will use to view your materials? There is one technical requirement here: You must draw on at least one chapter from The Consequences of Modernity as a source for your approach, and on at least two other texts from somewhere else (one of which must be a chapter from a book published by a university press). You are advised to use your “Bring Your Own Example” assignment strategically here, i.e. choose an example that you’re interested in using for your final paper.
  3. A question or project: So you want to look through some sources at a certain topic. Why? What question do you want to answer? What issue or problem do you want to explore?

So, part of your proposal—part of the total word count—will be a list of references. Here are my sources, here is my topic. But, more important, there will also be a series of paragraphs in which you imagine an essay—a question you will pursue, a problem you want to explore, an argument you want to make. That will be the body of your proposal.

Good luck! Together, you’ve created a remarkable blog about modernity and globalization. Now is the time for each of you to make your own individual contribution to that conversation. I look forward to reading what you have to say!


  1. Wed, 10/22, noon: Email your Critical Essay Proposal to danmorse@udel.edu
  2. Mon, 10/27 through Wed, 10/29: Conferences about proposals. (No class on these days)

Draft One

The first full draft of your essay is due on Wednesday, 11/5. Please email a .doc or .docx copy to me at danmorse@udel.edu by noon. I will create a folder on Sakai with the papers for each group that you will then read before each workshopping class (11/12 & 11/17).

Reading & Responding Before Workshops

Before you come to class on the Workshop days, you’ll have read two papers from your group and will have prepared comments on them. These comments will take the form of a response from an interested, sympathetic reader who is helping them develop their essays for a wider readership.  In practical terms, your written comments on a draft should be in two parts.

Please start with a brief note to the writer in which you:

  • State what you see as the aim of the piece.
  • Note what works well so far. Point to moments in the draft that strike you as particularly interesting, provoking, well-argued, nicely illustrated, or the like.
  • Suggest one or two ways in which the writer might develop, extend, refine, or rethink their piece. This is not a time to offer advice on editing, proofreading, or other matters of style and correctness. Try instead to point to work the writer can do to take the piece to the next level.
  • Address the writer by name and sign yours.

You can simply type this note to the author at the top of the document.

After you’ve written your note, go back through the piece in order to locate two or three specific points where you think the writer might usefully do the kind of work in revision that you’ve suggested. Comment in a sentence or two on each of these points. (You can use the Insert Comments function in Word to do so.) Try to connect these local comments to your opening note.

These written comments will be the starting point for your response to the author’s work in your writing group. So you don’t have to put everything you want to say about the piece in writing, but you will want to emphasize what you feel is the most important and urgent advice you have to offer. Try to give the author the kind of help you hope to get with your own writing. Print this out and bring it to class.


Working in your group of four people, you’ll each have half a class to read from and get feedback on your papers. When it’s your turn, spend 15 minutes reading a selection of your paper on which you want to focus. Spend the remainder of the time gathering feedback from your classmates. Only after they’ve all given you feedback, thank them and explain how you plan to incorporate their suggestions.

Here is a script to follow as you get started:

  • Tell your readers the kinds of feedback you would most like get to your writing, or any questions or concerns you may have about your piece.
  • Read your piece (or sections of it) aloud.
  • Listen quietly and take notes on the responses of your readers.
  • Ask questions after all the readers have responded to your work.
  • Collect the annotated copies of your text from your readers.


Before reading

Take notes on any issues or questions raised by the writer or your teacher.

While reading

Read along with the writer with a pen in your hand.

  • Mark effective passages with a straight line.
  • Mark passages you want to ask questions about with a squiggly line.
  • Circle or bracket key terms or ideas.

After reading

Once the writer finishes reading, take a minute or two to jot down some notes on:

  • What works best in this draft (or section).
  • What the writer most needs to work on next in revising.
  • Any issues or questions raised by the writer or your teacher.

Plan of Revision

Drawing on the responses you’ve received from your writing group, please email me a plan of work for your piece by Wed, 11/19, at noon. This plan should include:

  • A brief description of your essay as it now stands.
  • What’s working? What parts of your piece do you plan to keep?
  • What specific bits of advice did readers give you that you plan to use in revising your essay over the next week?
  • What is the single most important thing you need to do to take your piece to the next level? Be as specific and detailed as you can.
  • What questions do you have for me at this point? Again, please be as specific as possible. Feel free to attach an annotated version of your draft to your post, if you find that useful in formulating your plan.

I will email you a response to your revising plan by 5:00 pm on Thursday, 11/20. The more concrete and detailed you can make your revising plan, the more specific kinds of advice I will be able to offer you back. Send your revising plan to me at danmorse@udel.edu

Draft Two

The next (and near-final) draft of your critical essay is due on Mon, 11/24, at noon. Please submit it via email to danmorse@udel.edu


Your last assignment for this class is to participate on a panel discussing an issue related to modernity and globalization that we have read and talked about together. The aim of these panels is both to sum up and also to celebrate the work you have done as writers this semester.

Each panel will be composed of five people, run for 20 minutes, and center on a common theme or question. Everyone on the panel must contribute to the discussion.  Questions and comments from non-panelists should also be encouraged. (You might consider incorporating some fastwriting or group work into your session.)

Your critical essay will be the basis of your contribution to the panel. Each group should prepare a one-page, double-sided handout. (You will need to bring 21 copies for all of us.) This handout must include:

  • A title for and brief description of the panel itself.
  • The title of, an abstract for, and a brief quotation from each of the five critical essays. The abstract should be written in the first person (“In this essay I argue that/I explore/I look at) and run no longer than 50 words. The quotation should also run no longer than 50 words.
  • At least one image.

But you will need to figure out ways to talk beyond the words on the handout if you are to make effective use of your 20 minutes. Think of how you might set up a conversation among the five of you, of some ways in which your essays respond to one another, and also of how you will invite the other people in the class to join in your conversation.


  • Mon, 11/24, class: Identify panels and begin planning for them.
  • Mon, 12/01, class: Panels 1 and 2.
  • Wed, 12/03, class: Panels 3 and 4.


You will be graded based on the extent to which your final essay features:

– An interesting idea driving your own writing

– An informed and innovative use of at least 3 other texts (a chapter from Giddens, another from a book published by a university press, and a third of your choice)

– Clear and imaginative prose

– Careful editing and document design

– A thoughtful comment on your work in revising

Final drafts are due on Monday, 12/8 by 5pm to danmorse@udel.edu

2 thoughts on “Writing

  1. Pingback: Conferences & Draft One | Globalization & Modernity (77)

  2. Pingback: Workshop Groups | Globalization & Modernity (77)

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s