Behind the Textbook: My Faves

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I’m excited about so many of the readings in Emerging. It’s hard to pick favorites, but if I had to, I think I would choose the following:
  • Arwa Aburawa, “Veiled Threat” This is an article about Princess Hijab’s “guerrilla graffiti.” It is interesting considering the move of several countries to prevent women from wearing hijabs in public. What’s also interesting is that her guerilla art is read as both ultraradical and ultraconservative. That she is not Muslim only adds to the controversy.
  • Malcolm Gladwell, “Small Change” The essay addresses why social media’s weak connections don’t foster the strong social bonds that bring about social change. Gladwell argues that the civil rights movement created change because it was rooted in strong ties.  Social networks promote weak ties.  hese ties, however, can also be useful. Gladwell is directly responding to the notion that “the revolution will be twittered.” (I’ve been wanting to include a Gladwell piece from the start, but he tends to be so hard to excerpt.)
  • Rachel Kadish, “Who Is This Man, and Why Is He Screaming?” This article about a shy photographer who no longer owns his face also includes images. Having uploaded a picture of himself to Flickr, Noam Galai suddenly found his face used on t-shirts, in revolutions, and at rock concerts. This is a great piece about technology and privacy, images, and technology and art.
  • David Foster Wallace, “Consider the Lobster” This essay on the Maine Lobster Festival focuses on the ethics of boiling a live creature for the consumer's pleasure; it also discusses the lobster's sensory neurons. This is a fun essay to read but the meat of it comes at the end, when Wallace looks at the ethics of food and eating.
  • Bill Wasik, “My Crowd (Experiment: The Mob Project)” This essay, written by the guy who invented flash mobs, shows how and why they work. It examines the origin of the “meme.” This is a fun piece—breezily written but engaging some really portable ideas. And let’s face it, flash mobs are cool.
Have you used any of these selections in your teaching?
About the Author
Barclay Barrios is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing Programs at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches freshman composition and graduate courses in composition methodology and theory, rhetorics of the world wide web, and composing digital identities. He was Director of Instructional Technology at Rutgers University and currently serves on the board of Pedagogy. Barrios is a frequent presenter at professional conferences, and the author of Emerging.