Rhetorically analyzing how internet content, such as a meme, social media account, video, or website, can perpetuate or challenge representations of race, gender, and/or other aspects of identity

Throughout the semester, we discussed how to analyze and critique the changing mediums of our
communication and the rhetoric surrounding digital technologies. The final project is an
opportunity to apply what you learned by creating an analytic project, meaning your final project
needs to be driven by ideas and explication rather than descriptions and summaries. You will
produce your own digital text that creates and defends an original argument relating to
digital rhetoric, and you will support your claim(s) with evidence from a variety of scholarly
and internet sources.
The final project will have two parts: 1) the digital text you create and 2) a short paper
explaining your text. The first step is to think of an issue or topic that you are interested in; feel
free to use our class discussions as inspiration. Then, consider which aspects of rhetoric to apply
to your topic to structure your argument and analysis. Because digital rhetoric is a broad area of
study, you will need to clearly define and narrow the scope of your project. You will also need to
research your topic to provide support and context for your argument. What have other scholars
said about the topic? Who is the audience for your topic? Your Project Proposal and Annotated
Bibliography will help you with the research for your final project.
Here are some example project topics, but feel free to come up with your own topics:
• Comparing the rhetoric surrounding the newest social media platform or a widely
discussed update to an app vs. how users actually feel about the new platform or app
• Rhetorically analyzing how internet content, such as a meme, social media account,
video, or website, can perpetuate or challenge representations of race, gender, and/or
other aspects of identity
• Examining the rhetorical appeals of the visual and textual elements of a website or social
media platform
• Creating a hypertextual or digital narrative and analyzing how this method relates to
other storytelling mediums
The Digital Text
The first part of the project is the digital text that makes an original argument about your topic.
When deciding what type of digital text to make, consider your own interests, what kind of
argument you want to make about digital rhetoric, and what technical skills you possess.
Remember that rhetoric is persuasive. What type of digital text do you want to use to make a
persuasive argument about your topic? There are many possibilities for what you can do for this
project! Here are some examples of digital texts to give you some inspiration, but you are not
limited to these ideas. (If you are unsure about what kind of digital text to make for your final
project or have questions, please contact me.)
• An interactive story using Inklewriter (https://www.inklestudios.com/inklewriter/) or
Twine (https://twinery.org/). Inklewriter is very beginner friendly!
• Your own memes created by using a meme generator. If you chose to make memes, make
sure they make a thoughtful argument and that you make enough images to be
comparable to the other types of digital texts.
• A blog or website that makes an argument by linking, arranging, and commenting on an
issue. Consider the style and layout of the site and what types of images/videos you may
want to include.
• A social media account where the posts create the argument for your project. If you use
images or video, you will need to create that content or find copyright free material using
Creative Commons. (https://creativecommons.org/)
• A Twitterbot that regularly tweets about a topic. Here is an example:
• Story-map that makes an argument with the arrangement of narrative scenes (see Bolter,
p. 60)
• An advertisement that reflects the digital rhetoric used to sell a product to a target
demographic. You will need to create your own images and slogans; do not use
copyrighted material.
The Paper
The second part of the assignment is the paper explaining your digital text. The paper should
provide context for your digital text’s argument, support your argument with evidence from
scholarly sources, and apply the course material to your own research on the topic you selected.
You should support your project’s argument with at least eight sources, which include a
minimum of three web-based sources and three scholarly sources from the library.
The paper for this assignment is not a typical English term paper. Instead, your paper needs to
have specific sections explaining the different components to your project. Papers should be
1700-2000 words and follow MLA formatting. Your paper needs to include the following
sections (These should be clearly labeled, but feel free to personalize your titles):
• Introduction: The introductory section should provide context for the topic you selected
for your final project and set up your argument. Explain what questions exist about your
topic and what aspects of it have not been explored with a rhetorical approach. Your
introduction also needs to state and briefly describe your rhetorical approach, include
your thesis statement, and provide a preview of the evidence you will use to support
your claims.
• Primary Argument: This section will more closely resemble the “typical” body section
of a traditional paper. You will need to lay out the elements of your argument in a clear
and cohesive fashion. Each paragraph should discuss one of the main ideas relating to
your project’s argument and explain how/why the evidence supports your claim(s). Be
sure to also include logical transitions between paragraphs to show how the different
aspects of your argument connect together.
• Explain Your Digital Text: This portion of the paper needs to explicitly link your
argument and your digital text and explain what your digital text represents. Begin by
describing the overall goal of your project, and then tell me what you wanted to
communicate in the various aspects of your digital text. Essentially, how does your
project accomplish your intended goal? How does your digital text showcase and support
your argument? Just as you did in the previous section, you should incorporate evidence
from the sources you found to support your claims.
• Discussion/Conclusion: To conclude, you should reassess your subject in regards to the
evidence you provided. Consider how the other sources you found support and/or
challenge your argument and what you discovered through creating your digital text, and
you should draw connections between your paper and digital text. How does taking a
rhetorical approach to your topic influence the interpretation of your digital text and/or
the paper component of the final project? You should end by describing the wider
implications of your project for the field of digital rhetoric, such as suggesting an aspect
of the topic you are still uncertain about and that someone else may wish to research.
The paper portion of this assignment should be 1700-2000 words long and follow MLA format.
The scale of the digital text should be comparable to the examples I provided above. If you have
questions about this, please contact me. If you make any major changes from your project
proposal, such as argument subject, format, and sources, you should indicate this in the paper.

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