On Monday I went to class with Professor Hoskins and some other classmates to present my project on the topos of Dupont Circle. Honestly, I was very anxious about presenting because I do not like speaking in front of a crowd. However, I persevered and decided to just present my project because I am very proud of it.
So, I waited a long time before I was finally ready to present. When it was my turn, I went up to the front and connected my computer to the projector. Then, I pulled up my site and explained the Buzzfeed article and the collage I created. I was so nervous, but now I am glad I presented my project. I worked hard, and I wanted to show everyone the final product of that hard work.
Hello! Welcome to my blog. My name is Maegan Hanlon, and I study International Relations at American University. Among my friends I am I known as a total history nerd, which is completely true. I also really love books, my home state of New Hampshire, and tea.
This blog was created for my Writing 101 class. In this class, we did quite a bit of writing which you can check out if you want to. I wrote some annotated bibliographies, rhetorical analyses, and commonplaces related to my overall project on the Dupont Circle area of DC. For that project I also wrote digital archives showing parts of Dupont, an essay explaining the rhetoric of a restaurant in Dupont, and an epic project. Additionally, there is some extra stuff you can look at, too!
Lastly, I hope you check out this cool BuzzFeed article I wrote and published!
For my mapping commonplaces project, my CLS was Dupont Circle, and my specific site was BGR. More specifically, I found the BGR site because we were instructed to choose a location from Reuben Castaneda’s book S Street Rising. Honestly, I though choosing a restaurant would be a fun way to explore Dupont Circle. So, throughout the project I visited Dupont Circle several times, but it was not until the last time that I finally determined the topos of Dupont Circle. The topos I decided to argue is community. I chose this because when I walked around Dupont Circle, I noticed that a lot of the features the area has are very community organized. Also, when I was doing my research, I came across many community events that helped me to realize that Dupont Circle was all about community.
When it was time to start this mapping commonplaces project, I had to think about the best way to show how Dupont Circle was community-oriented. Indeed, I knew I did not want to make a Powerpoint or a Prezi because, personally, I find them to be very boring. Therefore, I did not want to present the project I worked so hard on in a dull way. So, I explored the options of TimeMapper or a video, but neither of those really worked for my project. Ultimately, I decided a listicle would be a cool mode to try. Actually, I had never made one before, but I was willing to give it a shot.
The listicle I decided to make was through the media entertainment site called BuzzFeed. I chose BuzzFeed because it is a media platform that I am familiar with. Actually, I go on BuzzFeed all the time, so I knew what most listicles on the site look like. Before I even started drafting my listicle, I took the time to explore the BuzzFeed site in detail and read as many listicles as I could find. I took not of how many entries there were, how long those entries were, and what images or gifs were used with each entry. That way, I would know approximately what each listicle entry should look like. Granted, I had no idea how to write a legitimate BuzzFeed post. However, after some research, I was able to find an article that walked new BuzzFeed users through the creative process. Once I understood that, it was time to write my listicle.
Creating a listicle was a very detailed process. First, I had to decide which features I wanted to include in my project. I knew I was going to include the pride parade and drag queen race because pride is a major part of Dupont Circle culture. Next, I decided to include the fountain and park at the center of Dupont Circle because my research showed that the park is really the center of community life in Dupont. I thought it would be foolish to leave it out. Then, I included the Farmers Market because I know that it is a popular weekly event in the area. Furthermore, I included The Dupont Current and “Keep the Streets Golden” campaign because both of those features are examples of the community coming together. That is, the newspaper is an example of the community coming together and sharing information. Also the “Keep the Streets Clean” campaign is a way to bring the community together to improve the overall environment of the area. Lastly, I chose to include the vowelless name trend in Dupont because I thought it was an interesting community trend.
I wrote each entry for my listicle very carefully. Firstly, I had to choose a picture to go with each entry. Actually, I took most of the pictures in my listicle from the digital archives I had already written. I did this because I really liked most of the pictures in my archives and wanted to use the same ones. Then, I had to write the explanation below the photos. Before I wrote the explanations, I consulted with friends to find out how long they thought entries should be. I did not want mine to be too long or too short. Therefore, I decided to keep my explanations around four to five sentences each. Within those explanations, I tried to choose my diction carefully so that it did not sound too formal. I did not want my BuzzFeed project to read like an essay. Also, I made sure to include links so that my readers could learn more detail about each entry. Lastly, I made the decision to put a poll at the end of my listicle because I did not want the article to end awkwardly. Overall, there were many decisions that went into the creation of my BuzzFeed listicle.
The other part of my project was the collage I made depicting the LGBTQ+ community in Dupont Circle. I decided to make this collage because I wanted to more deeply explore this part of the Dupont community. I wanted to include more photos of these events so that my project could more accurately show the role of the pride community in the Dupont Circle community. So, I went online and searched for pictures of the Halloween drag race and the pride parade. I chose to use the same pride parade photo I used in the listicle because I think that photo is a powerful indicator of how popular the parade is among the Dupont community. Then I included some other photos of people walking in the parade with rainbow balloons and flags in attempt to further prove that point. Also, I included some more photos of the Halloween drag race to more accurately show the paticipants’s costumes and the race’s popularity. Lately, I chose to show the photo of the Dupont Circle Fountain because, as previously mentioned, the fountain is the epicenter of the community, and I wanted to show the epicenter supporting the pride community.
Overall, this project is a culmination of all of the work I’ve done regarding the topos of Dupont Circle all semester. Over the course of this assignment, I became very connected with the idea of community in Dupont Circle, and I wanted to do it justice. I am very proud of how this project turned out.
Castaneda, Ruben. S Street Rising: Crack, Murder, and Redemption in D.C. New York, Bloomsbury USA, 2014.
Chikwendiu, Jahi. “The Start of 2011’s High Heel Race.” Iquisitir.com, Washington, DC, 30 Oct. 2014, www.inquisitr.com/1573876/ready-set-go-watch-as-drag-queens-race-in-high-heels-down-the-streets-of-dc-video/. Accessed 10 Apr. 2017.
Gan, Darran. “The Washington Post.” Atlas Corps, Washington, DC, 13 Jan. 2015, www.atlascorps.org/blog/crossing-the-line-in-d-c/. Accessed 1 May 2017.
Key, Micheal. “The Dupont Circle Fountain Was Decorated with Flowers, Beads, Rainbow Flags and Candles.” Washington Blade, Washington, DC, 16 June 2016, www.washingtonblade.com/2016/06/16/nearly-2000-pack-dupont-circle-for-orlando-vigil/. Accessed 1 May 2017.
Laura. “BGR The Burger Joint.” Beltway Bargain Mom, Washington, DC, 23 Dec. 2011, beltwaybargainmom.com/2011/12/free-lunch-slider-at-bgr-burger-today/. Accessed 1 May 2017.
Morgan, Peter. “Pride Parade.” Capital Pride Alliance, Washington, DC, June 2015, www.capitalpride.org/. Accessed 8 Apr. 2017.
Pakhrin, S. “Capital Pride Parade DC 2016 .” Wikipedia Commons, Wikipedia, Washington, DC, 11 June 2016, commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Capital_Pride_Parade_DC_2016_(27660384420).jpg. Accessed 1 May 2017.
Peretti, Jonah. “BuzzFeed Logo.” BuzzFeed Tech, Https://Www.buzzfeed.com/, New York, Nov. 2012, www.buzzfeed.com/tech. Accessed 20 Apr. 2017.
Robert and his team. “OBERT WHITE AND STAFF MARCHING IN THE DC PRIDE PARADE!” Robert White at Large, Washington, DC, 11 June 2016, www.robertwhiteatlarge.com/event/marching-in-the-dc-pride-parade/. Accessed 2 May 2017.
Rule, Doug. “17th Street High Heel Race.” Metro Weekly, Washington, DC, 25 Oct. 2012, www.metroweekly.com/2012/10/your-guide-to-halloween-nightl/. Accessed 2 May 2017.
Vergara, Brett S. “Everything You Need To Know About Making Your Own BuzzFeed Post.” BuzzFeed, 8 June 2016, www.buzzfeed.com/brettvergara/hey-did-you-know-you-can-post-on-buzzfeed-heres-how?utm_term=.ysw0YQQxQx#.fhmjW66w6w. Accessed 3 May 2017.
On Thursday, I went to office hours with Professor Hoskins one last time to ask some final questions. I cleared up some question on the Mapping Commonplaces project and extra credit assignments. Those questions were about the basic format of all of those assignments. Then, we went over my final plan for my essay one redo. Finally, I seem to be on the right track. Hopefully it stays that way. Lastly, we had a quick conversation about dogs because, honestly, who doesn’t love dogs? Overall, the visit was quick but very effective.
This afternoon I attended a series of presentations about gentrification in DC. The first presentation was Joseph Marcus’s movie about the gentrification of the area of DC east of the Anacostia River. Historically, Anacostia has been a primarily black community. However, recently the city officials decided to build a massive bridge across the river to better connect East DC with the rest of the city. With this bridge the city officials also wanted to build a recreational building with a surrounding park and aquatics center. As great as this plan may sound, these new attributes will attract a slew of white people to the area. Thus, much to the outrage of the current life-long residents of the area, the gentrification process of whites taking over Anacostia will begin. This movie was very interesting because it highlighted a lot of the ideas we learned in class. For example, the Marcus’s movie talked about the rhetoric of Anacostia now and how gentrification could change that rhetoric. Overall, his insights into the rhetoric of cities re-enforced what we learned in class about rhetoric from City of Rhetoric.
The second presentation was on the fallout of bluegrass music in DC. This one was particularly interesting because it was connected to AU’s radio station, WAMU. First, Kip Lornell, the presenter, explained the history of bluegrass music in DC. In particular, he discussed WAMU’s investment in playing bluegrass music. If I remember correctly, he said that WAMU played bluegrass music for around forty hours a week well into the 1990s. However, Lornell explained that the interest in bluegrass diminished when NPR took over WAMU. Apparently, listeners were more interested in hearing the news. Then, eventually by the early 2000s WAMU’s playing of bluegrass wore off entirely. Ultimately, the presenter blamed this shift in radio interest on gentrification. The population of listeners who enjoyed bluegrass music were pushed out by those who enjoyed news radio. Personally, I thought this was a very interesting example of gentrification because I certainly never would have thought of that term in such a way. Lornell’s presentation definitely helped me gain a broader perspective on gentrification. Also, the way he organized his argument was very helpful for me because it gave me a great example of a well organized argument.
The final presentation, given by Lindsay Zoladz, also gave a musical application to gentrification. Zoladz argued that punk music was raised in DC, but eventually was pushed out of the city and into suburbs like Arlington. First, she provided background on the punk music movement in DC. Then, she explained how the punk scene moved to the suburbs because new waves of music in DC took over punk’s popularity which forced the punk scene to the suburbs. Overall, Zoladz’s application of gentrification was rather interesting and further enhanced my understanding of the topic.
Finally, I found the part of the event I went to very helpful and relevant to the topics we learned in class. I am very glad I went because I really think the event deepened my understanding of the complexity of gentrification.
*This post does not reflect on just one concept. Rather, it focuses on what I have learned, and why I believe those lessons as a whole are important.
I honestly feel that in this class I learned a tremendous amount of more new and more effective ways to write. In my last writing class, an annotated bib was something we did on the side that we didn’t spend much time on. Therefore, I did not really understand how to write them properly. In this class, doing ten ABs really forced me to learn how to correctly format them, how to analyze sources, and how to categorize sources. Although I may not do it perfectly, I still feel like my abilities to write an AB have greatly improved. This is important because I can now look at a source and immediately start to think about if it will be useful and why. Before I paid attention to ABs, I did not pay attention to the reason I was using the source. Thats why BEAM (though my understanding of it is not perfect at all) is so important. In my other classes, I have started trying to practice labeling my sources with BEAM to better evaluate them. Also, I finally understand rhetoric and why it is useful. I learned how analyze texts on a college level, which has been extremely helpful with my other classes this semester.
Honestly, I really am happy that we got the opportunity to fix our RAs and ABs because I felt like seeing and fixing my mistakes forced me to learn. Had I not been given the opportunity to rewrite those assignments, I most likely would have paid a lot less attention to the feedback and hypothesis annotations Professor Hoskins gave us. So far, I have applied almost all of the templates and methods for writing we have learned in this class to my other classes. Thus, using these templates in other classes is making me practice the same writing procedures over and over again which will ultimately improve my writing skills in the long run. Though my grades may not always show it, I really do feel like I learned a lot in this class. My improved writing ability will definitely help me in my academic and professional future.
I went to office hours on Monday to discuss my essay one redo. I was very nervous because I had worked on it a lot and thought it was an improvement on my first essay 1 attempt. However, I was still weary of my redo because I was worried I was making the same mistakes I made the first time. So, I went in, and Professor Hoskins looked at my paper. It turns out I was still doing my ‘they say’ incorrectly, and, because the ‘they say’ was wrong, my entire argument was still not very sound. He tried to explain different ways to execute a ‘they say,’ but I ended up leaving the session more confused than I was when I got there.
The third time I went to office hours was to make sure my Mapping Commonplaces project was on track. My first essay did not go well, but thankfully I had the opportunity to rewrite it. I knew I would not be able to rewrite my Mapping Commonplaces project, so I decided to go to office hours with Professor Hoskins again. I went in and nervously showed him what I had been working on. He looked at it, and thankfully he told me I was on the right track. I was even asked to post my idea on Slack so everyone else could see if Buzzfeed worked for their projects too. I felt very relieved when I left that meeting because I knew my last project was going well thus far.
The next time I went to office hours with Professor Hoskins was to talk about the redo for Essay 1. I was really lost because the original essay I submitted was pretty bad. Honestly, I did not know how to recover from the original essay. So, I went in and asked about where I went wrong with the first essay, and how I could improve for the redo. I ended up deciding to scrape most of my first essay, but I did decide to analyze BGR’s website again. This meeting was very helpful because it put me on the right track for my Essay 1 Redo.
Two weeks ago the third set of Digital Archives was due, and I realized I was not sure what to write about. I had felt like I had used all of the information about my site as I possibly could. So, I knew it was time to go to office hours. I went in to talk to Professor Hoskins, and he told me that I could write about the neighborhood where my site was located. I was there for a while because I was confused by the different categories, but he explained it (a few times). Eventually, I figured it out. I was really glad I went because I knew how to write the Digital Archives and got the assignment done on time.