Fieldtrip Worksheet and Journal Prompts
As you visit the Louisiana Old State Capitol, be sure that you pay attention to the following issues and concepts from class. In doing this assignment you need to 1. Apply these questions to the entire “capitol” and “capitol experience” and 2. Select ONE exhibit and apply these questions again. You may use these questions as journal entries or as a starting point for a critical paper. Think about these questions as you move through the capitol and briefly jot down notes for your answers. In class on Monday we will “debrief” from the experience. You will be awarded 10 participation points for the field trip. Bring your worksheet to class on Monday to receive credit.
As you explore the capitol and its exhibits, pay specific attention to the following issues:
1. What kind of knowledge or literacy do you need to “read” the capitol?
2. The relationship between form (structure) and content of the entire building and of individual exhibits. What is the relationship between the physical structure and presentation of the building and the content/message it promotes?
3. What are the different boundaries between text and context (discrete and dispersed, original and new, etc. – From Brummett)
4. The meanings and struggles over meaning that are explicit and implied. What kinds of tactics are used to make meaning. See if you can see some dominant themes across the exhibits.
Journal or Paper Prompts:
1. Spend some time studying the capitol’s crowd control practices and the ways that both visitors and staff are “contained”. What are the strategies used for controlling bodily movement through space? In what ways are you turned into a useful/docile body? What are the various body-object articulations and what do they articulate you with? How?
2. What is the ideal user of the capitol’s text? What is the subject position that the capitol creates? What are the characteristics or features of the ideal user? List at least 10 characteristics and then talk about what sort of subject position is created and what strategies are used to create it.
3. What are some ways to use the text of the capitol “differently” than the ideal way (i.e., what kinds of inflected or oppositional readings are possible? Where is there room to resist the preferred reading? Observe visitors and determine how they are using the text of the capitol. In what ways do they follow the ideal way or create their own ways?
4. What is the narrative that the capitol presents? In other words, what sort of Master Narrative does the Capitol envision for the world? for the future? How does the narrative function rhetorically? What is revealed and what is concealed by the narrative?
5. Think about Hart’s discussion of the functions of rhetoric. What rhetorical functions are served by the Capitol?
6. Think about the basic guidelines established by Campbell for analyzing a rhetorical text. What structure, persona, tone, evidence, etc. is presented in the Capitol and what rhetorical purpose is being advocated?