Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally’s assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress.
--Kenneth Burke, The Philosophy of Literary Form (1941)
But what if it’s not a parlor that you are entering, but a gallery, or a museum, or Bryant Park? What’s going on in the design world? What are industrial designers talking about? How many fine artists are feeling the pressure to abandon oil paints? Should fashion designers cut out the leather?
This essay will ask you to find out what is going on.
For this essay you will identify and research an art and design debate. You will seek out a particular debate to respond to—and the easiest way to ensure that you are engaging in a debate is to respond to specific writers. You will then write a persuasive essay that takes a stand in that discussion—you will, as Burke writes, “put in your oar.” You will present the conversation for your reader and enter the conversation.
In this Unit we will be considering essays that take stands on various art and design issues. You of course have the option of entering one of these debates and using these essays as sources.
In order to help you research and to draft the essay, you will complete three Building Blocks. I am including the descriptions of these below (scroll down).
A summary of the debate should appear early in the essay. Your reader should know what is at stake. You are encouraged to use your own perspective as a way into the conversation. That is, your personal experiences can supplement your sources. Be sure to try to employ specific rhetorical strategies (the three appeals, anecdotes, literary techniques, and so on) when drafting your essay.
Your essay should address counterarguments, or naysayers, and these perspectives might come from your sources. When addressing your opposition’s point of view, be careful to cue your reader so that it doesn’t seem like suddenly you have changed your mind. We will be discussing strategies and templates for maintaining control of an argument. We will also discuss various organizational strategies for the essay.
• The essay should be at least 1500 words.
• Follow MLA guidelines: use in-text citations and include a Works Cited Page that contains a total of four sources.
• This should be a thesis-driven essay, one that develops a substantiated, thought-out position on an issue related to your art and design area of interest, or issues that consider creativity in more general terms. However, you have the option of using a traditional, front-loaded thesis statement, or a delayed thesis.
• Your topic and research should be relevant to studies at CCAD (no papers regarding the legalization of marijuana, or the drinking age, or college football, or judo, etc.)
• You are encouraged to find an art and design topic that does engage a socio- political issue, though these essays won’t be graded more favorably. For example, a fashion student might explore issues of green design. A fine art student might explore precautionary methods that might make for a healthier studio environment (proper ventilation, etc.)