“ visual argument text ” assignment tab H u m a n i t i e s

“ visual argument text ” assignment tab H u m a n i t i e s

Introduction: In the material we are reading and studying in the course, we are getting some ideas of how our country established its values. Okay, so the past wasn’t all that pretty. That’s how it goes in trying to create a country, I guess. Our forefathers meant well, but, in time, we’ve learned that what they meant well for some didn’t always mean well for others. As time has marched on, we, meaning Americans, have been going through the process of “revamping” their original ideas and intent. We look upon these events of the past to learn from them, not to be afraid of the mistakes and not to ignore the accomplishments.

The Task: Take some event or issue that we have studied, and are still studying, and create a visual argument of your own to add to the conversation as to what America once valued, regardless of whether the value was right or wrong. The idea here is to make your audience think. It may provoke, comment on, or meditate on a theme or idea raised by the sources that shed light on the event or issue.

To create your visual text, you may work digitally, making one PowerPoint slide. Or, if you wish, you can create a physical poster/canvas and upload a photo of it. Either medium is okay; play to your strengths.

Requirements: Your main requirement is to include one key quote from one of our sources, which will create the theme of your visual argument. You can use additional text on the visual, but the main key quote should be prominent. For example, several lines from Winthrop’s “Dreams of a City on a Hill,” a key point from “Pontiac’s War,” or from “The Rise of American Democracy,” a selection from the Constitution, a sentence from Crane’s “Bride Comes to Yellow Sky,” etc.

In terms of argument, or how you present the theme, you can use a variety of visuals (like a collage) that correspond directly to the quote, complicate it, or show contradictions. Consider how “social values” play out with the idea/theme/quote you want to illuminate. Your text, overall, should make readers think – and it should raise questions. Abstract or more “obtuse” responses are encouraged, yet your artist statement (see below) will have to explain the choices you have made as an artist.

The Artist Statement

With your visual, you should submit an artist statement that includes the following layers:

  • Discuss your choice for the theme of the visual. Why did you select the text and key quote? What made you want to pursue this angle further?
  • Explain your main “argument” (or thesis) for the piece. What do you want viewers to think about or question when they see your visual text? What do you hope they take away?
  • Comment on the creative process. Reflect honestly on the artistic, creative, or critical thinking you did to put the piece. What inspired you to take this route? What subtle details do you hope your viewers notice? (If you’re less confident about the artistic results, take your readers into the process and deeper thinking you did to put the piece together. Explain your intentions as a scholar/artist.)

Your statement should be typed, well-edited, and proofread. It should be a minimum of 500 words, 12pt. font, Times New Roman, double-spaced. Be sure to respond to all of the above layers. Likewise, it is also okay to refer to additional quotes from the class text(s) to help you explain your connections and insights. Citation requirements for this project are loose, but page numbers should be cited within the artist statement when quoting from a source that does have page numbers, like Uncle Tom’s Cabin or Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas (a favor to your readers). Do it like this: (Stowe 146).

For digital submission: upload your PowerPoint slide or photo of your physical text and your artist statement to Canvas under the “Visual Argument Text” assignment tab. Both files can be uploaded into the submission folder.

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