Author Archives: Paul Fess

End of Semester Reminders

Hi all,

I wanted to send a list of reminders about upcoming tasks regarding the course:

1. Paper 2 is technically due today. But, if you need more time you can have until next week by Tuesday 11/30. The link to where you should upload your paper is on the assignment page on our course site.

2. COIL: Remember you should post at least 10 comments in the #discussion-of-the-essay thread on Slack. Here is the link to the project page.

3. Meeting with mePlease sign up for a time to meet with me to discuss your work in the class.

4. You can find the link for the last paper here.

Let me know if you have any questions.

I hope everyone has a good Thanksgiving!


Blog Post #8 Prompt

For this blog post, I would like you to write a paragraph of no more than 250-300 words that describes your argument and focus for Paper #2. The first sentence of this paragraph should indicate what you are working on, and the second sentence should be your working thesis statement. (Look back to the Sheridan Baker Thesis Machine.) The following sentences should detail how you will analyze examples to make your argument. 

This document is meant to help move your work on paper #2 along, and you should not think of this proposal as something that you are bound to. I will give you feedback and you may find that your thinking about your paper will change, perhaps substantially. My comments will focus on the quality of your arguments and be geared toward helping you write the paper as it seems to me in the proposal. While your paper might change, however, at this stage it would be a good idea to choose texts that you know you will write about.

Prompt for Blog Post #7

  • At the beginning of this episode, Krukowski asserts, “the marginal-the rejected-the repressed-is whatever the powerful have decided is of no use at the moment.” What does he mean by this statement? He goes on to ask, “But might it [the marginal-the rejected-the repressed] not be a key to alternate approaches-to art, to society-to power itself?” (“Marginalized” is an adjective that describes a person, group, or concept that is treated as insignificant or peripheral.)
  • What is he trying to get at with this question? How does music indicate the differences between the powerful and the marginalized?
  • What distinctions does Krukowski draw between being “surprised” by music and “discovering” music? What are the differences between these experiences and according to Krukowski, why are they important?
  • How are the music listening experiences enabled by Forced Exposure different from those that Paul Lamere is working on with platforms like Spotify?

Week 7 Newsletter

Hi all,

This week we continued our turn to sound, and more specifically, the relationship between sound and spatial development. We brought our reading of Schafer’s “The Soundscape” and Ralph Ellison’s essay “Living with Music.” As many of you wrote in the blog, in this essay Ellison engages a hand-to-hand combat of noise/music against outside noise, and he filters his personal history through this music.

One point that kept coming up in the blogs that I’d like to raise here deals with the relationship Ellison sets up between music and noise in his opening sentence: “In those days, it was either live with music or die with noise.” Defining what “noise” and “music” means is an important aspect of what writers and thinkers represented in this unit do. And, one way of reading what Ellison is saying is that our definitions of what constitutes noise and music should be more flexible. In this sense “living with music” signifies thinking about many different kinds of sounds as music, something that could be thought of as purposefully created, even beautiful rather than noise, which most people would reject and discard. Ellison chooses to participate by cranking the records on his record player rather than retreat into simplistic noise complaints.


As for your grades, I have finished grading blog #5 and #6. If I didn’t see the blog posted I entered a grade of zero. You can correct this by posting a response to the blog and contacting me. (If it seems like I overlooked your work please contact me.) Also, please respond to each other’s posts if you haven’t had a chance to yet.

I’m still working on your papers, but I hope to have them finished very soon.

Upcoming work

Week 8 (11/02-11/06)

Week 6 Newsletter

Hi all,

Last week we focused on “The Art of Quoting” chapter from They Say/I Say, and we made a shift from “Ways of Seeing” to “Ways of Hearing.”

This week will turn to Chapter 6 of They Say/I Say “Planting a Naysayer.” We’ll also continue that shift this week by focusing on the relationship between sound and space. You’ll be asked to compare “The Soundscape” reading and Ways of Hearing podcast episode from last week to Ralph Ellison’s essay “Living with Music.” I am still grading your papers, but you should be seeing your grades in blackboard soon.

Here’s what’s coming up:

Week 7 (10/26-10/30)