Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Blog Assignment Two: Explaining Contradiction

Due Date: see syllabus (all blogs and blog comments are always due Sunday night)

Contradictions are statements that assert claims that cannot really be true. We could also think of contradictions as statements or arguments that seem inconsistent. For example, the Declaration of Independence said "all men are created equal," but the Constitution only gave voting priveleges to white men. We could then say that the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence contradict one another. Contradiction is a form of saying one thing and doing another. We could also think of contradiction as a form of conflict. When one thing disagrees with another thing, they contradict.

For this blog, students should find a contradiction in a text from the course. They should then compose a blog that 1) names the contradiction, 2) explains the contradiction, and 3) investigates what they think the contradiction means. Students shouldn't feel the need to take a side, but rather to identify the conflict from a neutral position.

In the above example, the contradiction between the two documents points to the racist heart of the early United States. We can see from this seemingly simple contradiction the Civil War of the future. We could think about race, racism, the need for cheap labor, the lust for money, and the extreme violence that this contradiction made possible. We could observe these phenomena from afar, from our neutral position, without actually saying, slavery is wrong, slavery is evil, slavery is immoral. Instead, we can use our neutral position to connect important ideas about slavery through this contradiction.

The contradiction will probably appear in one or more places in the text, or in a couple texts. Students can focus on whatever passage or moment they want to focus on. Students should quote and cite examples in their blog.

It will be up to each student to choose whatever contradiction he or she concentrates on. They should introduce their contradiction by giving it a specific name. They should remember to introduce any course texts to outside readers.

In this blog, students will practice: summary, direct quotation, citation, and analysis.


  1. Hi, blogs and blog comments are always due Sunday nights. I'll make that clear on the assignment. Thanks.