Please note that most readings for the course were simply highlighted straight to text and have therefore not been included in this list. Otherwise, for articles I deemed to be especially important, I’ve created separate notes and have included them below:

Culture Industry -Theodor Adorno

External Double Speak Notes

Femininity: Masculinity

History-Writing as Critique Joan W. Scott

Memory, Erasure & National Myth- Notes

The Death of the Author Notes



How bad does modern society wish to begin each sentence with, “Since the dawn of time,” but this academic institution won’t let us. If there is one thing I’ve learned it’s that academics are the most sarcastic group of individuals I have ever had the honour of knowing. Although we are chastised for using broad sentences to begin our papers we are praised by the outer world for our eloquence when we speak about the evolution of the human condition.

While the common person gawks at the University of Toronto student questioning the keynote speaker on the validity of their facts at the world’s largest medieval festival, they also believe it’s a personal attack. A war on the battle field of Academia. Little do they know, the speaker and the questioner are buddies just bouncing off on each other’s ideas. We are now plagued with the reputation of being “show offs” when we write big books and long papers. We bring prestige, honour and integrity by making sure our works cited entries are at least in the double digits.

But what have I actually produced in writing in ACMA01? If it were up to me, I’d print it on golden paper and put the first letter in diamond encrusted calligraphy because it was that good. Good not for content or even arguments sake, but good because I have read my articles, I put in my hours of work. But effort and production aren’t always an equal equation.

As a student, I believe it is easier to write while in a mentally and emotionally unstable state. That way I could spit out the random thoughts in my mind pertaining to the subject area in some feigned effort to declutter the emotional instability. A running joke is to write drunk and edit sober, but it stopped being a joke when student’s can appreciate the warm feeling in their stomachs to calm the nerves they have of writing their very first university paper. The same one that their parents will ask them how they did on to assess whether or not their child can really “make it.”

In music, there’s a term called “ghost writing” when a person would write a song and sell it to a famous person like Justin Bieber or Beyonce and the world will never know who they are, but they would bask in the royalties. I think academic writing may be the opposite. We find our subjects. We analyze them. See what makes them tick. And we tell their stories even if they are unaware that they were part of them and we end up with the royalties. So yes, we are “ghost writing”, but the ghosts have already moved on. We as writers play catch up so that we do not always make something for future generations to enjoy, but for them to contemplate and remember. For people to look back and say “ah ha! I’ve missed that point!”

Of course this is very hard to do. Very hard in deed. And so I think it’s true that it is very hard to handle a challenge, but it is also hard to handle opportunity. Here in university, that is all a student has. An opportunity to learn. An opportunity to get feedback on their work. An opportunity to discuss and grow as a person. The hard part is saying “yes.” The hard part is going to tutorial knowing that you spent 3 hours trying to write the one paged essay outline in your hand instead of the 6 paged finished essay draft that was expected of you. But still going anyways. Still going to tutorial knowing you totally screwed yourself over, but in reality entering a safe space for learning. Where even the smallest of ideas/thoughts can be built upon with friends, peers and mentors. All of whom I am so grateful for and entirely indebted to.

Tutorial 8

Tone and Analysis

What is Art?

Tone- how we say it

LOL at going to a lecture where they only talk in rhetorical questions –> they don’t actually do much, but confuse & take up space

Keep in mind gender-inclusive language


Hudson’s Bay Blanket- Europeans gave it to Aboriginal peoples with small pox to wipe out their population

Tutorial 7

IMG_0949Voice and Revision, Gender

Voice: convince academic audience

  • Topic sentence is important in leading the rest of the paragraph
  • Metacommentary- go back to what was said before, but say it again for emphasis with a new spin/ emphasis to clarify & expand on ideas
    • What you say + what they say + What you say (again)

Reverse Outline:

  • Thesis
    • Sentence 1, Paragraph 1
    • Sentence 1, Paragraph 2
    • Sentence 1, Paragraph 3
    • Sentence 1, Paragraph 4 etc.

Gender: Femininity/ Masculinity

  • “It’s a men’s issue.”
    • “John beat Mary –> Mary is a battered woman” – shows how language manipulates & there’s a power imbalance (Victim blaming is dangerous b/c we say it’s “her” fault)
    • Shouldn’t as questions about Mary, but questions about John (why did he do it? )
  • “The Dangerous Ways Ads See Women
    • Photoshop changes ppl. to fit societal “ideal”
    • Puts women in a passive & vulnerable position a lot of the times
  • “Everyday Sexism”
    • Normalizes sexual assault on streets

Tutorial 6

IMG_0948“So what” “Who cares?” “What is at stake?”

So what = why should they care?

2. The meaning of signs and symbols are often arbitrary. = we can’t use them b/c they mean different things in different social contexts

3. An academic essay should lead with a strong claim = a strong argument is needed to guide the essay

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui Final Lines Discussion

Brecht- trying to say that Arturo didn’t have to come to power, someone (society) could have intervened

Removing of the moustache- shows Brecht’s “this is a play’ mindset so that people will not be so entranced by the technical parts of the play and can then have the freedom to interpret it by themselves

Story from the past tells us that it can happen in the future and that it is most likely happening right now.

Tutorial 5

Audience, Naysayers, Titles 

Audience: Write for intelligent audience, but not one familiar with content

Naysayers: present arguments from someone who disagrees w/ you (makes your arguments sound better when acknowledging other research out there)

Titles: Should relate to essay content – never use the actual essay question (subtitles are helpful)


Discussion Questions: 


  • Sweet: images & singsong voice = introduces tone
  • Mysterious: children’s whispers implies a secret unknown to the readers
  • Mother is very one sided thinking, but also represents the view of all of society at the same time
  • Daughter: obviously offended by the comment
  • Mother daughter have a tense relationship as mother wants her to be one way, but the daughter doesn’t necessarily see the problem her mother is trying to address

“This is how to make a good medicine to throw away a child before it even becomes a child.” 

  • Mother is asking too much for the daughter & trying to make her something that she is not
  • Mother is overlooking stage in daughters life rather than trying to work through it as a learning experience
  • This story can be re-imagined as advice from a father to son, but the gender roles will differ –> male would be asked to be more dominant

Incarnations of Burned Children 

  • “Hysterical Realism”: Wallace created sentences with growing detail using very specific words that make normal situations relate to blood & gore
  • Daddy Door: very slow motion to grow up anticipation


Tutorial 4

IMG_0946Punctuation = rhythm of speaking

Logos= word


Discourse==> Sign systems

  • Symbols only have memory socially
  • Curry power & Oppression

Tell vs. show

Dove Real Beauty

  • “real” means natural/ unaltered person or the national average
  • Society determines what is real or authentic by comparison to what media puts out
  • Peoples standards are at stake
  • Can’t trust ads for telling people what is real as it can’t apply to everyone
  • “beauty” = attractive/ symmetrical
  • “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”

“Real Beauty Sketches”

  • “Social Experiment”- they are trying to show a common trend
  • White women 20s-50s are portrayed (only 1 non-white)
  • Asians, Persians, people of colour are not portrayed
  • “Average” becomes what media suggests & women’s appearance is mainly observed basely by themselves

How we interpret things that happen around us (Phenomenology)

Tutorial 3

IMG_0945Summarizing, Paraphrasing & Quoting 

They Say: should be paraphrased/ summarized w/ citations

Modes of Writing

  1. Description -facts
  2. Narrative -telling of sequence of events
  3. Analysis- makeup (how & why)
  4. Argument-to persuade (express viewpoint)

Dolce & Gabbana: 

  1. Description: 4 males, 1 female
  2. Narrative: Man is pinning woman down while others watch
  3. Analyze: Man is showing dominance over woman he wants
  4. Argument: If you wear this perfume you can attract women (have dominance over them)

Tutorial 2

IMG_0947Historian– constructs a narrative of the past & turns it into a text things always happen in the past, but they are mediated by persons (Historians, life accounts) about discourse // narrative & texts

Issue in humanities = identity (race, class, gender) interaction b/w epistemology vs. identity does truth demand a co-relation

“they say” –> follow with why it is useful

Paragraph–> analysis= logical, rational & compelling argument think a skeptical is reading and suggest that you are wrong

“What larger conversation is your thesis responding to?”

“I” is only used for personal anecdote// relates to your life, but don’t do the “I believe” thing

Reel Bad Arabs- Politics influenced by Media Portrayal

END Thoughts: It’s clear now that these sentiments of “Bad Arabs” are not new to America… Donald Trump responds and outwardly address these sentiments of fear. Why does fear exist in the first place? Perhaps a lack of understanding as a result of media’s biased take on Arabs.