Within each module, students will complete a reading response. This response is “semi-formal” in nature meaning that it should be polished, clearly written, and should include citations (in APA format) from the weekly readings (the formal part), but you should also feel free to allow your raw thinking come through without concern for being “right” or “wrong” (the informal part).
The purpose of the reading response is to allow you an opportunity to grapple with the course material. These responses are essentially ways for us to talk to each other about your intellectual development. I also want your reflections to be a useful tool in constructing your final paperr, so each response will ask you to think about the key ideas that you might draw into the final paperr.
I want to be clear that this summary is not my way of testing your understanding, but it is instead my way of gauging your understanding. Reading responses are graded for completion, not for “accuracy” though I will provide feedback as part of our ongoing dialogue with one another.
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Overall, your response should be ~1000 words and be generally balanced between each section (summary, critical analysis, and reflection).
Summary (~300+ words)
First, I want you to provide an integrated summary of the readings in the context of the central theme of the module. Don’t spend time reproducing what each chapter said individually, but think about the main concepts or themes that connect the readings to one another. Imagine that you are introducing the material to me and you want to draw my attention to ways in which the readings are threaded together. While you should include citations in the summary, you should focus on paraphrasing the authors as you try to draw connections and identify themes. This portion of the response will give you an opportunity to clarify and synthesize your own understanding, and it will give me an opportunity to see how you interpreted the texts.
Critical Analysis (~300+ words)
Second, I want you to provide a critical analysis of the readings. This is where I want you to directly interact with the text by providing an evaluation of specific ideas in the readings that stood out to you. This is your attempt to grapple with the course material by providing an analysis of what is important, confusing, wrong, or noteworthy in the readings. In this section, your analysis should be extremely close to the text, meaning that you should provide more direct citations that show how you are responding directly to the claims of the authors. Because of the constraints of time and space, you will not be able to respond to everything the authors claimed, nor do you need to do so. Just pick out the aspects of the readings that you found were the most important and analyze them.
Reflection (~300+ words)
Third, I want you to reflect on the readings with an eye toward how they can be used in the final paperr. In the reflection portion of the reading response, I want you to start to reflect on how what you learned in this module might be useful for that paperr. You can write about anything you find particularly significant, but here are some of the kinds of questions you might consider:
- “Transforming Visions: Ending Mass Incarceration” from When we Fight We Win! looks at the growing movement to end mass incarceration and the linkages between traditional civil rights groups such as the ACLU and NAACP with newer groups such as #BlackLivesMatter, Formerly Incarcerated People’s Movement, and Dignity and Power Now. All organizations and movements require resources to make their vision a reality. What resource strategy as a leader of an organization do you see as being effective in the vision of ending mass incarceration? How would you connect your ideas to the strategies presented by the authors of From the Ground Up, which include: Leveraging the Power of the Community, Working Through Other Groups, Selling Service, Providing Empowerment, and Using the State Against Itself? What are the challenges of this strategy? Which strategy do you think is the least effective? Why?
- This chapter, Transforming Visions: Ending Mass Incarceration, provides some examples of recruiting strategies such as #BlackLivesMatter, Stained, and Networking to potentially motivate and enlist new members to the movement. Discuss which strategies you think are most effective in this arena as applied by the work of organizers and activists.
Read the following:
- Chetkovich, C., & Kunreuther, F. (2006). From the ground up: Grassroots organizations making social change. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Chapter 5. [This chapter will be the basis of the Collaborative Annotation Assignment this week. If you prefer, you may consider reading it in Perusall]
- Brown, M.J. (2006). Building powerful community organizations: A personal guide to creating groups that can solve problems and change the world. Arlington, Massachusetts: Long Haul Press. Chapters 5, 6, 8 and 9.
- Jobin-Leeds, G., & AgitArte. (2016). When we fight we win! Twenty-first-century social movements and the activists that are transforming our world. New York: The New Press. Chapter 3.
This lecture video is about resources and social change organizations. Please click here for a PDF of the presentation.
[Aaron’s note: this course was developed by a team of OGL faculty, so the lecture video is not narrated by me.] The content referenced in this video is from the texts,
- Chetkovich, C., & Kunreuther, F. (2006). From the ground up: Grassroots organizations making social change. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
- Brown, M.J. (2006). Building powerful community organizations: A personal guide to creating groups that can solve problems and change the world. Arlington, Massachusetts: Long Haul Press.