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Week 1 Assignments


1) Introduce yourself-- In a brief bio writen specially for 7790 (additional to your tpc bio), describe aspects of your background that are relevant to the course topic, public interest, or to communicating public concerns. Tell us about any relevant job experience or voluntary service in a community, civic life, politics, or government at any level. (@100 words). Post in the Blackboard forum Bio by due date.


2) Brainstorm-- To jumpstart your choice of a problem on which to focus your coursework, do several warmup exercises designed to put you in touch with what you care about and what you know about. The exercises ask you to become freshly aware of your everyday existence, ordinary routines, special expertise in any area, and perceptions of right and wrong. The idea is that, by acknowledging the taken-for-granted and stopping to notice the out-of-order, your attention will fall on a need for change that you ar willing or prepared to argue about and perhaps act on.

What you care about: Review your checkbook or credit card account record for the last three months.List your patterns of income and outgo. Connect the patterns to current societal or environmental issues that concern you or others. For example: you spend a lot on food, divided approximately equally between buying groceries to cook at home and buying meals at fast food restaurants. Therefore, as a consumer you might be concerned about food availability, safety, quality, affordability, healthy eating, dietary causes of disease, regulation of agriculture and food processing industries, etc. Which interests you most? If this exercise does not fit you, create an alternative exercise to raise consciousness of your commitments and values.


What you know about: List activities in which you have expertise. They may be hobbies, academic majors, professions or trades, etc. What 'wrong' needs to be righted in area(s) of your competence? To continue with the example: You like to cook. Or, you have worked as a cook. Or, you majored in Restaurant and Hotel Management. Or, you manage a neighborhood bar. Or, you grew up on a farm. Or, you majored in Food Science. Or, a member of your family requires medication for food allergies. Or, you volunteer in a community food bank. Based on your informed experience or situational knowledge, what 'wrong' needs to be righted?

Reviewing, listing, and reflecting in these ways should result in the identification of several interests and perceived 'wrongs.' Select one (or more) or each. Briefly describe in @ 100 words each. Include the experience or expertise that gives you cause for concern. Describe in a publicly appropriate way (without personal details you'd rather not share). Post in the forum Problem Identification by due date.

3) Inquire into meanings of 'public interest'--Read the Wikipedia entry on that subject. Google 'public interest' and follow links.Report a resulting definition of 'public interest' that includes two or more dimensions or meanings. Add comment on what the term means to you. Post your @ 200 word report in the forum Public Interest by due date.

4)Apply the reading--As you read Stone, make notes responding to one of the following questions. Compile your notes and add further commentary, if you want, in an @ 300 word summary. Remember to specify which question you are answering.


In an interest or concern you selected to describe in the forum Problem Identification, what paradoxes (in Stone's sense of political paradox) are evident or potential? In other words, what ambiguities, internal contradictions, or intrinsically competing interests can you see in the problematic conditions that have drawn your attention?


How do Stone's two concepts of society, the market and the polis, apply to the problem you are beginning to define? You might want to use the chart on p. 33 as a prompt to thinking about the problem in market terms, then in polis terms.


Alternative question: you ask a question prompted by reading Stone, then answer it in reference to your selected interests or concerns.


Post your summary in the forum Reading Response #1 by due date.






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