Curious Reader, The: Exploring Personal and Academic Inquiry, 2nd Edition
©2006 |Pearson | Available
Bruce Ballenger, Boise State University
Michelle Payne, Boise State University
©2006 |Pearson | Available
Bridging the gap between personal and academic writing, The Curious Reader is a composition reader that introduces students to the unique reading strategies used by writers who research.
Beginning with essays and creative nonfiction, readings that many students will be surprised to discover are research based, The Curious Reader leads students to see the many connections between all fact-based writing, whether it’s a personal essay or an article from a scholarly journal.
The Curious Reader invites students to become active researchers as they are encouraged to confront underlying beliefs that either hinder or help their fact-based writing. Questions and assignments ask students to explain, evaluate, explore, and reflect on what they have read and how it has changed their thinking.
I. The Process Of Inquiry.
1. Acquiring the Inquiry Habit.
Start with Questions Before Answers.
Exercise 1.1: Twenty Ways to See a Blackbird.
Using an Open-ended Process.
Choose an Inquiry Strategy.
Investigate in a Rhetorical Context.
Exercise 1.2: Practice with the Strategy of Inquiry.
Inquiry and Research.
2. The Inquiring Reader.
Exercise 2.1: Autobiography of a Reader.
Exercise 2.2: What Makes a “Good Reader”?
Inquiring Minds and Intellectual Coach Potatoes.
Start with Questions Before Answers.
Reading Behaviors and Perspectives.
Techniques for Strategic Reading.
1. Choose an Inquiry Strategy.
2. Understand the Rhetorical Context.
3. Avoid Making Pastel Islands.
4. Read Twice.
5. Be a Conversationalist.
Exercise 2.3: Practicing Dialectical Thinking.
Exercise 2.4: Responding to Difficult Texts.
Exercise 2.5: Reading Images.
Exercise 2.6: Reading Graphics.
Readers are Curious.
3. How Do You Know?
Exercise 3.1: Your Ways of Knowing.
Entitled to Your Own Opinion.
Exercise 3.2: Knowing What is Appropriate Evidence.
Not Entitled to an Opinion.
Opinions in an Uncertain World.
At Issue: Should educators use commercial services to combat plagiarism?
Responses from John Barrie, President Turnitin.com.
Response from Rebecca Moore Howard, Associate Professor of Writing and Rhetoric as Syracuse University.
Believing and Doubting.
Exercise 3.3: Practice With Believing and Doubting.
II. FORMS FOR DISCOVERY.
4. The Researched Essay: “Essaying” as a Mode of Inquiry.
Introduction: The Researched Essay.
No Wonder They Call Me a Bitch by Ann Hodgman.
Are the claims made by dog food manufacturers about the canine (and human) appeal of their products true? There’s only one way to find out.
Why Did God Make Flies? by Richard Conniff.
Why does the world need flies? Conniff explores all the purposes flies seem to serve, showing us how fascinating these often disgusting creatures can be. .
Yarn by Kyoko Mori.
Mori wonders about her own love of knitting and discovers a surprising history. She also learns more about herself from the symbolic meanings of knitting she explores.
Did NASA Fake the Moon Landing? By Ray Villard.
About 5% of the population believes NASA didn’t actually go to the moon, and this essay looks at the conspiracy theories and the evidence to answer the title’s question.
Looking at Women by Scott Russell Sanders.
How should men look at women? Sanders grapples with the question with remarkable honesty, seeking a gaze worthy of women’s “splendor.”
Dinosaur Dreams: Reading the Bones of America’s Psychic Mascot by Jack Hitt.
What causes “America’s periodic obsession with dinosaurs”? Hitt considers the role dinosaurs have played in the American imagination, from schoolbooks to Jurassic Park to museum reconstructions. .
My Secret History by Jillian A. Sims.
While genealogical research can give us a comforting relationship with the past, just as often the discoveries can be jarring.
Let Them Eat Fat by Greg Crister.
Is it a coincidence that some fast food corporations concentrate outlets in certain neighborhood that just happen to be poor, black, and “fat friendly?” Crister makes the case for conscious targeting of high risk populations.
Student Essay: An Experience in Acronyms by Jay Holmquist.
Sometimes knowledge about the dangers of drug use is less powerful that we think. Sometimes it takes a tragedy.
5. The Personal Academic Essay: Boundary Crossing as a Mode of Inquiry.
Exercise 2.1 Shalt I?
Objectivity and the Research Ideal
Tandem Readings: Business.
Joe Cool’s Work by Gib Akin.
A professor of business spends some time with Joe Cool, who happens to work at a supermarket.
Storytelling and Organizational Studies: A Critique of “Learning About Joe Cool” by John Jermier and Theresa Domagalski.
Two noted scholars comment on Gib Akin’s article, analyzing how effective the personal and literary approach to scholarship is compared to traditional methods of business research. What is gained and what is lost?
Learning About Work from Creative Nonfiction by Gary Alan Fine.
Another noted business scholar evaluates Gib Akin’s article in terms of how effective creative nonfiction is as method of analysis and data collection.
Response to Commentaries on “Learning About Work From Joe Cool” by Gib Akin.
Akin responds to the commentaries on his article, acknowledging several criticisms and explaining why others are not relevant given his purpose in the essay.
Tandem Readings: Anthropology.
Grief and a Headhunter’s Rage by Renato Rosaldo.
A renowned anthropologist’s own loss allows him to understand the connection between grief and rage, and makes him wonder about research and objectivity.
Method: How I Learned About Ilongot History and Youth by Renato Rosaldo.
From Ilongot Headhunting, 1883-1974, these two excerpts present Rosaldo’s initial “academic” interpretations of grief and headhunting, those he reflects on in “Grief and a Headhunter’s Rage.”
Tandem Readings: English Studies.
Somebody Must Say These Things by Melody Graulich.
A noted scholar of Western American literature comes to understand how her research involves multiple readings and re-readings, not just of certain books but of her own life and family.
Every Husband’s Right: Sex Roles in Mari Sandoz’s Old Jules by Melody Graulich.
From one of her earlier academic essays that Graulich re-reads in “Somebody Must Say These Things,” this excerpt analyzes Mari Sandoz’s relationship with her mother in light of domestic violence.
Student Essay: In Search of Grace by Peggy Jordan.
The work of a poet illuminates the writer’s life.
6. The Ethnographic Essay: Ethnography as a Mode of Inquiry.
Exposing the Web of Culture.
Exercise 6.1: Under Our Very Noses--Studying Subcultures in the U.S.
Ethnographic Ways of Seeing.
Approaches to Field Notes.
Fifteen by Bob Greene.
Dan and Dave and fifteen and spend most of their spare time at the mall. “What a weird age to be male,” observes Greene.
American Male at Age Ten by Susan Orlean.
Colin is ten. He plans to buy a ranch in Wyoming and thinks his Mom is the most beautiful girl in the world.
Connie and the Sandman Ladies by Anne Campbell.
Campbell, an ethnographer, spends a day in New York City with the leader of a girl gang.
The Cave by Jon Katz.
Jesse and Eric are “geeks” living in Idaho who gamble that their Internet savvy will liberate them from small town life. Katz, a writer for Rolling Stone, reports on their humble beginnings.
Snake Handling and Redemption by Dennis Covington.
Professor of English Dennis Covington explores the nature of snake handling in religious services at Old Rock Holiness Church on Sand Mountain in Alabama.
Subcultures, Pop Music, and Politics: Skinheads and “Nazi Rock” in England and Germany by Timothy S. Brown.
In this excerpt from an academic article, historian Timothy Brown analyzes the style and dress of skinhead culture in England and Germany.
Student Essay: Mary Kay: American Dream in a Bottle by Tammy Anderson.
The writer, against her better judgment, gets a strong dose of the Mary Kay cosmetics scene.
7. Fields of Writing: Making Sense of Formal Research.
An Outsider at the Dog Show.
Exercise 7.1: Can a Man and Woman Just Be Friends?
The Story Begins with an Itch.
Entering the Conversation.
Challenges Confronting Cross-sex Friendships: Much Ado About Nothing? by Michael Monsour, Bridgid Harris, Nancy Kurzweil, and Chris Beard.
An academic study surveys people who have cross-gender friendships, asking among other things whether romance gets in the way.
Exercise 7.2: Reader Reflections.
Love Without Sex: The Impact of Psychological Intimacy Between Men and Women at Work by Robert Quinn, Sharon A. Lobel, and Lynda St. Clair.
When men and women work side-by-side with each other can they still be good friends? A “landmark study” looks at the problems.
Exercise 7.3: Reader Reflections.
‘I Like You…as a Friend’: The Role of Attraction in Cross-Sex Friendship by Heidi Reeder.
A recent study, based on interviews, more clearly defines the kinds of attraction found in cross-gender friendships.
Romance and Sexuality in Friendships Between Homosexual and Heterosexual Partners and between Homosexual Women and Men by Kathy Werking.
Based on interviews with cross-gender friends, this chapter from Werking’s book, We’re Just Good Friends: Women and Men in Nonromantic Relationships, challenges heterosexual assumptions about these relationships and explores how friends manage romance and sexuality.
Exercise 7.4: Reader Reflections .
Friendship, Sociology and Social Structure by Graham Allan.
How does the field of sociology study friendship? Allan summarizes the current research on friendship in the field, explaining how changes in social and economic structures over the last century have changed friendship patterns and their relationship to individual identity.
Exercise 7.5: Reader Reflections.
Dangerous Acquaintances: The Correspondence of Margaret Fuller and James Freeman Clarke by Barbara Packer.
A close look at the cross-gender friendship between two 19th century figures through their intimate letters, illustrating how they navigated gender roles and social mores.
Exercise 7.6: Reader Reflections.
8. Reading and Writing Across Genres and Disciplines: The Ethics of Publishing Disturbing Pictures.
Exercise 8.1: Practice with Believing and Doubting.
Case Study #26: Photojournalism and Tragedy by Clifford Christians, Kim Rotzoll and Mark Farkler.
A child drowns, a mother grieves, and a photographer tries to take a picture of the scene. Should he be allowed to?
National Press Photographers Association Code of Ethics.
A professional organization’s stand on what’s appropriate to photograph, how, and when.
New Images of Horror from Fallujah by David Perlmutter and Lesa Hatley Major.
When four American contractors were dragged from their SUV and murdered by a mob the decision was not simply whether to publish photos of their bodies, but how, where, and when.
New Representing Contemporary War by David Campbell.
War photographs that include images of the dead and dying are relatively new. Though we are now inundated with such images, it may not be the case that we become numb to the pain of others.
Victims of Violence by Paul M. Lester.
A journalism professor reviews the ethics and arguments of publishing shocking pictures.
New Tragedy of the Common: Markedness and the Creation of Mundane Tragedy, by Stephen Shukaitis and Rachel Lichtenfeld.
This academic journal article argues that the presentation of tragedy determines whether it enters into our consciousness as an event of moral significance.
New Images of Violence: A Transcript.
A group of journalists talk about what happens to them when they are repeatedly exposed to images of violence.
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