What were some of the highlights, surprises and/or challenges you encountered as a researcher and a writer? Why might these experiences be important to your development as a research writer? Provide specific examples.

In this class, I was challenged, in a great way, by all of the different types of writing we had to do. I had to write things for this class that I would have never thought about writing, such as our interviews and reviews. I think these experiences were important to my development as a research writer because I learned about the creation process of these genres of writing. For example, I had never really even thought about how much research an interviewer would have to do before interviewing their subject. I found that I went very in depth about the background of my interview topic before I went into the interview, because I didn’t want to waste the time of my interviewee by making them answer easy questions that I should have looked up before going into the interview. That is just one example of how I have developed as a research writer.



Reflect on the topic of inquiry: Encountering Art. How did research and writing impact your engagement, interest or understanding as you worked within the arts inquiry?

I am usually pretty surrounded by art on a daily basis. I came into the course thinking that I wouldn’t really learn a whole lot about the art that I encounter, but I now know that this is false. The projects that we did, such as the reviews, really made me think in a different way about the art I was seeing. The review for example, I had to think about describing my own personal experiences to an outside audience, but not relate it back to myself a lot, which was something challenging to me, but I enjoyed thinking about the art I was coming in contact with in a different way than I had ever thought about it before.



Which of your projects do you most hope others will read and be influenced by? Why? Which of the secondary sources (shared readings, researched materials) or primary sources (interview, arts encounters, observations) were most influential or important to you and your work as a research writer? Why?

I hope that people will be influenced by my controversy guide. I had noticed that when I had brought up my topic in class, not too many people knew too much about it, and I feel as though that my topic has a deep underlying lesson that will be relevant in the world now and for years to come. I also hope that people will just learn something new from my guide. Going along the lines of my guide, I think that the secondary source that was most influential to me was the Dismaland video. I always knew that there were people who did and didn’t like certain art, but this really opened up my eyes to how influential art can really be and I think that this will stick with me for a long time.


How do the practices for research and research writing we have been doing this semester contrast or relate to other research work you are encountering or may encounter in the future (think across contexts–school, professional or personal research and writing)? Are there practices, learning or ideas from WRT 205 that you believe may be useful in current or future research writing situations? Have you developed any new understanding about the differences among and between research writing situations? Try to be as specific as possible. Include examples.

I think that the reviews will be the most helpful to me. I believe that in my life I will be having to describe lots of performances and shows, so getting a good base on how to create a good, solid review will be the most beneficial to me. I feel that I have gotten a new understanding and appreciation for how much work really goes into different writing situations. The one that surprised me the most, like mentioned earlier, was the interview. It is so much more than preparing questions and asking them, and that project really opened my eyes up to that.



Featured Summary Heuristic

The summary heuristic I chose to feature from this semester was my summary heuristic on Teju Cole’s, “A True Picture of Black Skin.” The reason why I chose this heuristic is because I felt like when I was filling out the heuristic, I was learning more and more about the author’s piece. I usually found myself learning new things will filling out the heuristics, but I really got into this one. I found the topic so interesting and it was something I had never thought about, so I was learning about a new issue while also furthering my skills of summarizing pieces. I also chose this because while my summary is succinct, the information provided packs a punch and it is very informative.



Click here for the Revised Unit 3 Project


Some more work I was proud of this semester! 

Arts Encounter #2


Before the event: The event that I chose to attend was a senior recital at the Setnor school of music. The recital was done by a mezzo-soprano singer. I wasn’t quite sure what it meant to be a mezzo-soprano, and I found out that it is the voice of a female singer in between soprano and alto, and it is known as a “half soprano” voice type. Unfortunately, the program is not released until about 20 minutes before the performance so I was not able to look into the songs being performed, but I did just listen to some classical voice pieces before I went to the recital, and something that I always forget that is very interesting about singing is that singers have to learn to sing in many different languages even though they may only speak just one.


During the event:  When I walked into the auditorium, I had taken a packet along with a program. The packet contained translations of all of the songs that were not sung in English. I found this to be a very important aspect of the performance. While the singer had a wonderful voice, it would have been very hard to get the same experience without knowing what she was singing about. Usually when I go to musical performances of classical music, the audience is usually quite serious and intent on listening very carefully. I found this recital to be a bit different from that. The lyrics to some of the songs that were sung were very humorous and silly, and the singer delivered them with perfect facial expression and body language, so even though the words were being sung in a different language, it was very relevant to know when something was funny, or when something became very solemn and quiet in the lyrics. The last song that she sang was my favorite song. It was very beautiful, and it was a slow song that had a light and flowing. When I first heard the chords in the piano, it had sounded like music that originated in Asia. After the song ended there was a brief pause of silence and it really added to the experience of the song. After the recital ended, I had found out that the last song was written by the singer’s mother just for this recital. Her mother is from Korea and has been a composer for almost all of her life.


Questions: One question that I really thought about especially at intermission, was how do singers go about selecting their repertoire for concerts and recitals? I felt the songs at this recital went very well together and I am wondering if it just happened to work out very well, or if there was a method to the madness of song selection. Another question I was thinking about all throughout the performance was how do singers learn how to pronounce so many words in different languages without knowing how to speak it? It is quite impressive.



Writing Presentation:

“Selfie” Heuristic


Background/Context of Guide and Writer: Though this event happened 2 years ago, the principle of what happened is still very relevant in today’s issues. I, the writer, had heard about what happened during this attack and was never really quite sure what “side to take” so I still remain somewhat neutral to this tragedy/controversy.


Genre: A newcomer’s guide to the Charlie Hebdo attack. In this guide I plan to explain the magazine and what they represent, as well as some background on the religion of Islam


Aims/Methods/Materials: In this guide I plan to explain the magazine and what they represent, as well as some background on the religion of Islam. I feel as though if the reader understands what both sides of this controversy believe in, they will be able to get a better understanding of why everything happened the way that it did two years ago.



Flashpoints & Keywords/Concepts: Points of the controversy

-Not depicting the prophet

-Freedom of speech

-Where do we draw the line?


Audience: The general public – anybody interested in learning about how art can shape or break a society


Two Sentence Summary: In this guide, I hope to give the reader an overview of the people and societies involved in this attack, and why this event is important to art and our rights. The attack is something that we can learn from today and I believe it is important to understand it.


Video to explain controversy:


Some Background on Islam:




History with a Small “h” summary heuristic

Background/Context: Rachel Middleman is the assistant professor of Art History at California State University, Chico. She teaches courses on modern, contemporary, and American art history.

Genre: Arts Interview


Aims/Methods/Materials: The purpose of this interview (Q&A) is to get the artist to explain the reactions he is trying to arise from the art viewer, since the artists art comes off as very simple and “everyday” but there is quite a twist on it.


Flashpoints/Keywords: “I wanted people to think about uses of public spaces, particularly queer uses of public spaces, because there was some cruising going on in the downtown area.”


“…it’s about memorializing a moment, but it doesn’t memorialize the before and after.”


Audience: Art enthusiasts, members of the LGBT community, townsfolk


Two Sentence Summary: Glenn Ligon has created plaques placed around San Antonio, Texas that explain “cruising” encounters and experiences. In this interview, the artist elaborates on what inspired him to make these plaques, and what reactions he was trying to get from the public, versus the messages he was trying to send out.



Arts Controversy Guide

The attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine headquarters took place on Wednesday, January 7th, 2015 in Paris, France. Charlie Hebdo is a French satirical news magazine that started in 1970. The magazine is most well known for their cartoons.


This cartoon reads “The invention of Humor: Oil and Fire”
This reads “Predictions of the Mage Houellebecq: ‘In 2015, I lose my teeth…In 2022, I observe Ramadan!'”


Many of the magazine’s cartoons were on edge with somewhat sensitive topics, including religion and race. The magazine describes itself as “…an angry magazine, a paper that takes the piss. It’s a weekly with a wallop, a digest with a dream. It’s a periodical that argues and a journal that thinks. It’s a gazette of the grotesque – because that’s what so much of life and politics is.” As you can see from the images above, the magazine doesn’t hold back from expressing their opinions in a pretty crude way.  While some people may find this disrespectful, the magazine has a right to publish and speak their minds.


The attack was done by two brothers, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi. The two made their way into the magazine’s headquarters armed with assault rifles. They killed 12 people and injured 11. Why were they the ones to attack? They later came out as belonging to a branch of Al-Qaeda which was located in Yemen.


Al-Qaeda’s flag


Al-Qaeda is a militant Sunni Islamist organization. Many of the people who are involved with this organization are extremely passionate about Islam. Islam is a monotheistic religion that states there is only one God, and that the prophet Muhammad is the last messenger of god. Islam’s religious text, the Qur’an, does not specifically state that depictions of the prophet are forbidden, but the notion that there is only one God is why depictions of the prophet are very frowned upon. There is a fear that the depiction of Muhammad could lead to idol worship. When the brothers attacked the headquarters, they yelled “We have avenged the Prophet!”


A still photo from a witness’ video of the two brothers exclaiming “We have avenged the Prophet!”



After hearing this, it might be quite evident as to why the gunmen decided to attack the magazine headquarters filled with rage. This attack was not something that happened over a short period of time. Islamic organizations began getting angry at Charlie Hebdo in 2006 and eventually, unsuccessfully, sued the magazine with the French hate speech laws. Again in 2011, problems occurred when the magazine released an issue that was “guest edited by Muhammad.” The front cover had a cartoon that depicted Muhammad saying “100 lashes, if you don’t die laughing!”

After the publication of that cover, the magazine’s office was firebombed, and their website was hacked. On the hacked website it read “You keep abusing Islam’s almighty Prophet with disgusting and disgraceful cartoons using excuses of freedom of speech… Be God’s curse on you! We will be your curse on cyber world!”

This is what the hacked webpage looked like. Click on the photo to learn more.


The magazine came back with a new magazine cover that read “Love Stronger Than Hate” and it depicted the Prophet Muhammad as gay, by showing him kissing an editor of Charlie Hebdo.

All of these magazine cartoons fed the soon to be lit fire under angry Islamists. The two brothers were the ones who finally decided to take their anger in the form of violence to the headquarters of the magazine. The reason why this entire controversy is so important, is because it is very much about freedom of speech, and art censorship. Because although these cartoons were found very offensive to many, it was still the opinions and ideas of the magazine writers and publishers. So the question that this tragic event brings forward is, where is the line between artistic freedom and outright hatred. This is an important idea to keep in mind in today’s world especially with topics of race and religion being even more tense than ever before.


The magazine’s cover after the attack on their headquarters. Click on the photo to see more.