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					                       Bob Bullock Texas State History MOOseum

Goal

Working in groups, we will recreate or redesign in the MOO two exhibits from the Bob
Bullock Texas State History Museum. Those of us recreating museum exhibits will write
an evaluative essay arguing that the museum exhibits offer a fair and balanced
representation of a particular cluster of issues. Those of us redesigning museum exhibits
will write a proposal essay arguing that the museum should reorganize the exhibits in
order to represent the same issues more accurately. In other words, we will defend on
paper what we create in the MOO. The goal of this project is twofold: to examine issues
from multiple perspectives by adopting the position of devil’s advocate, and to
understand how layout and design contribute to the rhetorical fabric of the museum.

Groups

The class will be divided into six groups; one person, the “chief curator,” will work with
all groups.

Assignments for Groups 1-6

Each group will have two related assignments: to write a five-page essay and to recreate
or redesign the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in the MOO.

1) Essays

Evaluative Argument for Group 1

Your assignment deals with the first floor of the Museum, “Encounters on the Land.”
Pay special attention to the exhibit “Westward Expansion,” and within it, the installations
“Comanche Tipi Theater,” “Agents among the Indians,” “Broken Promises,” “The Treaty
of Medicine Lodge, 1867.” Group 2, playing devil’s advocate, will argue that this exhibit
and these installations in particular do not adequately address the issues of broken
treaties, of treaties with Indians broken by the white man, unfulfilled obligations and
promises to the Indians on the part of the white man, the devastating effects of
“Westward Expansion” on the Indians, etc., and that the exhibit area should therefore be
redesigned accordingly (see Proposal Argument for Group 2 below). Your job, on the
contrary, is to argue that the first floor, that exhibit and those installations in particular do
indeed adequately represent this cluster of issues. Your paper is a defense of the
Museum. This will be the general form of your thesis and you will need to back it up
with a detailed analysis and evaluation of the exhibit installations. You will also need to
include a paragraph on rebuttals, prior to the conclusion. In this paragraph you will
address and counter the arguments made by Group 2. Historical research will be
necessary, so you should have at least 3 sources in your paper.




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Proposal Argument for Group 2

Your assignment deals with the first floor of the Museum, “Encounters on the Land.”
Pay special attention to the exhibit “Westward Expansion,” and within it, the installations
“Comanche Tipi Theater,” “Agents among the Indians,” “Broken Promises” and “The
Treaty of Medicine Lodge, 1867.” Group 1, playing “defender,” will argue that this
exhibit and these installations in particular adequately address the issues of broken
treaties, of treaties with Indians broken by the white man, unfulfilled obligations and
promises to the Indians on the part of the white man, the devastating effects of
“Westward Expansion” on the white man, etc (see Evaluative Argument for Group 1
above). Your job, on the contrary, is to argue that the first floor, that exhibit and those
installations in particular in fact do not adequately represent this cluster of issues. After
identifying this problem of inadequate representation, you will argue that a new
exhibit/new installations should be built as a solution to the problem. You will need to be
as specific as possible about the form and content of the particular exhibit/installations,
which you propose as your particular solution. Your paper is a proposal to redesign the
Museum. Be creative! You’re curators! You will also need to include a paragraph on
rebuttals, prior to the conclusion. In this paragraph you will address and counter the
arguments made by Group 1. Historical research will be necessary, so you should have at
least 3 sources in your paper.

Evaluative Argument for Group 3

Your assignment deals with the second floor of the Museum, “Building the Lone Star
Identity.” Pay special attention to the exhibit of the same name and, within it, the
installation “A Growing Sense of Separateness,” as well as the exhibit “A Separate
Identity.” Group 4, playing devil’s advocate, will argue that these exhibits and
installations do not adequately represent the Mexican point of view on the Texas
Revolution of 1836, that they underemphasize the facts that Texans were Mexican
citizens first, that Texas belonged to Mexico first, that in the eyes of Mexico Texans were
secessionist rebels, etc. (see Proposal Argument for Group 4 below). Your job, on the
contrary, is to argue that the second floor, the particular exhibits and installations do
indeed adequately represent this cluster of issues. This will be the general form of your
thesis and you will need to back it up with a detailed analysis and evaluation of the
exhibit installations. Your paper is a defense of the Museum. You will also need to
include a paragraph on rebuttals, prior to the conclusion. In this paragraph you will
address and counter the arguments made by Group 4. Historical research will be
necessary, so you should have at least 3 sources in your paper.

Proposal Argument for Group 4

Your assignment deals with the second floor of the Museum, “Building the Lone Star
Identity.” Pay special attention to the exhibit of the same name and, within it, the
installation “A Growing Sense of Separateness,” as well as the exhibit “A Separate
Identity.” Group 3, playing “defender,” will argue that these exhibits and installations
indeed adequately represent the Mexican point of view on the Texas Revolution of 1836,



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that they adequately emphasize the facts that Texans were Mexican citizens first, that
Texas belonged to Mexico first, that in the eyes of Mexico Texans were secessionist
rebels, etc. (see Evaluative Argument for Group 3 above). Your job, on the contrary, is
to argue that the second floor, the particular exhibits and installations in fact do not
adequately represent this cluster of issues. After identifying this problem of inadequate
representation, you will argue that a new exhibit/new installations should be built as a
solution to the problem. You will need to be as specific as possible about the form and
content of the particular exhibit/installations, which you propose as your particular
solution. Your paper is a proposal to reorganize the Museum. Be creative! You’re
curators! You will also need to include a paragraph on rebuttals, prior to the conclusion.
In this paragraph you will address and counter the arguments made by Group 3.
Historical research will be necessary, so you should have at least 3 sources in your paper.

Evaluative Argument for Group 5

Your assignment deals with the third floor of the Museum, “Creating Opportunity.”
Group 6 playing devil’s advocate, will argue that this floor does not adequately represent
the denial of opportunity to African-Americans, the obstacles posed by Jim Crowe laws
to African-American prosperity, the contributions African-Americans made to Anglo
prosperity while reaping little of the benefits, etc. (see Proposal Argument for Group 6
below). Your job, on the contrary, is to argue that the third floor does indeed adequately
represent this cluster of issues—if only indirectly through exhibits on that floor and,
especially, on the second floor—and that if Jim Crowe laws are not mentioned
specifically, it is because they are not essential to the representation of “Creating
Opportunity.” This will be the general form of your thesis and you will need to back it
up with a detailed analysis and evaluation of the exhibit installations. Your paper is a
defense of the Museum. You will also need to include a paragraph on rebuttals, prior to
the conclusion. In this paragraph you will address and counter the arguments made by
Group 6. Historical research will be necessary, so you should have at least 3 sources in
your paper.

Proposal Argument for Group 6

Your assignment deals with the third floor of the Museum, “Creating Opportunity.”
Group 5, playing defender, will argue that this floor adequately represents the denial of
opportunity to African-Americans, the obstacles posed by Jim Crowe laws to African-
American prosperity, the contributions African-Americans made to Anglo prosperity
while reaping little of the benefits, etc.—if only indirectly through exhibits on that floor
and, especially, on the second floor—and that if Jim Crowe laws are not mentioned
specifically, it is because they are not essential to the representation of “Creating
Opportunity” (see Evaluative Argument for Group 5 below). Your job, on the contrary,
is to argue that the third floor in fact does not adequately represent this cluster of issues.
After identifying this problem of inadequate representation, you will argue that a new
exhibit/new installations should be built as a solution to the problem. You will need to be
as specific as possible about the form and content of the particular exhibit/installations,
which you propose as your particular solution. Your paper is a proposal to redesign the



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Museum. Be creative! You’re curators! You will also need to include a paragraph on
rebuttals, prior to the conclusion. In this paragraph you will address and counter the
arguments made by Group 5. Historical research will be necessary, so you should have at
least 3 sources in your paper.

As each group will have noticed, this is a hands-on exercise in rhetoric, not necessarily
a personal point of view. The Museum is in fact quite progressive; it not only
concentrates on politics and economics but also on class, gender and race, which are
today (unlike yesterday) considered important “engines of history.” Some groups’
assignments may seem more difficult than other groups’. Know that I will take these
inevitably discrepancies into consideration when giving the final grade.

On Friday we may have time to go over the structure of proposal and evaluative
arguments, and their respective claims, as well as the rhetorical triangle. If not, I will
point you to the available sources so that you can clarify these things on your own.

Intrepid souls (especially among Groups 1, 3 and 5) may wish to contact Pony Allen
Chief of Exhibits at the Museum, at pony.allen@thestoryoftexas.com or 936-4605. If
you decide to contact him as one of your sources in your paper, make sure to explain that
you are doing an exercise in rhetoric, not mounting a political revolution or a campaign to
overthrow him. Be polite.

2) MOO

Groups 1, 3 and 5 will recreate in the MOO each general Museum exhibit area on their
particular floor, as well as the particular installations within the particular exhibit areas
that they defend in their paper. Groups 2, 4 and 6 will redesign in the MOO each general
Museum exhibit area on their particular floor, as well as the particular installations within
the particular exhibit areas that they propose in their paper. Each group should expect to
end up recreating/redesigning about 10 MOO rooms (half of which would be exhibit
areas, the other half of which would be particular installations within those exhibit areas).
Each group will furthermore recreate/redesign as many objects as it finds necessary to
persuade its audience of its particular museum rhetoric/argument. Each room/object
should bear an appropriate description.

Intrepid souls (especially among Groups 1,3 and 5) may wish to videotape installations in
the Museum. If you lack the necessary equipment yourself, you have the option of
signing a contract with me an assuming responsibility, and as a graduate student I can
check out the equipment here on campus for you.

The group MOO project consists of five stages.

Position Papers are due Monday, 11/18. Post first paragraph of essay (your position, be
it “for” or “against” the Museum) to Forum:
http://forums.cwrl.utexas.edu/viewtopic.php?p=2063&sid=0e1459346ec5465e9e33df104
b08b5bc#2063.



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Responses to Position Papers are due noon Tuesday, 11/19. Post responses to each of
the other five groups. Your response to your particular corresponding group (e.g., if you
are Group 1, your corresponding Group is 2, and vice versa) should consist of a rebuttal,
a sort of rough draft of your paragraph on rebuttals in your own, final paper. Your
responses to the other two groups on “the other side” of the debate should likewise
consist of a rebuttal. Though you will be less informed on their particular historical
issues, you should still be able to compose an adequate rebuttal. Finally, your responses
to the other two groups on “your side” of the debate should consist of a peer review, i.e.,
advice on how to strengthen and defend their position. Though you will be less informed
on their particular historical issue, you should still be able to offer advice in the form of a
peer review. All in all, you will be reading five position papers (two or three “for” and
two or three “against”) and responding to five position papers (three rebuttals and two
peer reviews). Post responses to same Forum as above.

Essay Rough Drafts are due Friday, 11/22. As always, rough drafts should be in good
faith, i.e., at least three pages, fully proofread, with heading and Works Cited. Each
group peer will peer review its “opponent” in the debate. Peer reviews should be
constructive, as they usually are, and not concerned with rebuttals, as they were at the
Position Papers stage.

MOO Rough Drafts are due Friday, 11/22 as well. The rough draft should consist of at
least two rooms and two objects in the MOO, each bearing an appropriate description.
One of these rooms should provide a link to the Essay Rough Draft. Each group will
(constructively) peer review its “opponent” in the debate.

Essay and MOO Final Drafts are due Wednesday, 12/4. Group MOO presentations
will be made Wednesday and Friday, 12/4.

Bear in mind that each stage/assignment counts toward the overall Group MOO Project
grade; an inadequate response to a position paper will lower your overall grade.

Chief Curator

Paper
You will write a four-page paper in the form of a brochure to the alternative “redesigned”
MOOseum. You will need to keep abreast of the latest developments (Position Papers,
Rough Drafts, etc.) in the arguments of Groups 2, 4 and 6. Your Position Paper will
consist of the first paragraph of your paper. Since your Position Paper will be based on
your colleagues’ Position Papers and you will need to read theirs before completing
yours, your deadline will be Wednesday, 11/20. Since your Rough Draft will be based on
your colleagues’ Rough Draft and you will need to read theirs before completing yours,
your deadline will be Monday, 11/25. Since your paper will consist largely of a synthesis
of the three papers of those Groups “on your side,” you will not be required to do
historical research. Still, you will be required to be intimately familiar with their
arguments in order to write an appropriate brochure. We can discuss brochure-writing



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later in person. For now, you need only know that your brochure will essentially be an
essay in which you argue that the alternative “redesigned” MOOseum attempts to fill in
the “gaps” in representation often found in other, tradition museums (with the Bob
Bullock Museum in mind). Since your paper depends in large part on those of “your
side,” your Final Draft will be due Friday, 12/4.

MOO
You will be the general MOO troubleshooter for Groups 2, 4 and 6. You will design in
the MOO the general architecture of the alternative “redesigned” MOO. You will create
an entrance to this MOOseum and link it to the entrance to the Bob Bullock MOOseum.
You will create whatever other rooms (e.g., mezzanine, plaza, etc.) you see rhetorically
fit (remember that all space is “rhetorical”). You will link the exhibits created by the
groups “on your side” and thus control access among rooms as you see rhetorically fit.
You will link your brochure/essay to the lobby? of the MOOseum. Each object you
create will naturally require a description. Your assignment is flexible, and we will
discuss things further in person. Since your MOO assignment depends in large part on
those of “your side,” your deadline will be Friday, 12/4.

Important Websites
The (real) Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum:
http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/TSHM/About/About.htm

The Silver Sea MOO:
http://www.cwrl.utexas.edu:9000

The (class) Bob Bullock Texas State History MOOseum:
Just go the Silver Sea MOO, click on Fount of Knowledge, click on Individual Instructor
Areas, and click on the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum.

Your individual webspace server:
http://webspace.utexas.edu.

Your job now is to gather with your group members and exchange email addresses and
phone numbers. Start planning a time when you can all meet and go to the museum as a
group. As you noticed above, Position Papers are due Monday, 11/18. Start planning a
time when you can all meet and compose the Position Paper as a group. You may very
well wish to organize things among yourselves in MOO, where you can all talk
simultaneously. Start planning a time when you can all meet in the MOO as a group.
Feel free to meet me in office hours to discuss it. From now on, I will be holding office
hours in Parlin 6 (a CWRL lab) instead of the Cactus Café. Good luck, learn, and have
fun! This is an experiment. No other class has ever done this before.
Congratulations!




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