Essay Two (e2)

Taking Berger’s Approach

In your first essay, I asked you to locate a set of images you could use as examples to test Berger’s ideas against. For your second essay, I want you to find at least two other scholars who have drawn on some of the ideas from Ways of Seeing, and to write a piece in which you use their work to comment on some images, videos, or other texts  from our present culture.

Berger himself offers an example of the kind of work I am thinking of. In the first essay of Ways of Seeing, he calls upon and updates the walter-benjamin-librarythinking of Walter Benjamin, a German scholar who wrote in the 1930s, some forty years before Berger  did (see p. 34). I’d like you to find some scholars who similarly call upon and update Berger—who wrote Ways of Seeing in 1972, about forty years ago from today. What have other thinkers done during that time with the Berger’s ideas about mystification, reproduction, gender, ownership, glamour, advertising, and the like? And what can you do with their ideas in looking at some present-day images or texts?

As seems fitting, your task in this second essay is thus a little more complicated than in your first. For I am asking you not only to find some texts to test Berger’s ideas against, but to find some other scholars who have commented on Berger, and to respond to their. In this essay, then, you’ll need to have something to say about not just two but  three different things: (1) Ways of Seeing, (2) some other scholars who have worked with Ways of Seeing, and (3) some images or texts from our current culture.

A difference, then, between this and the first essay you wrote for this course is  that, while your first piece centered on Ways of Seeing, this essay needs to center on an idea that both Berger and other thinkers have worked with.

The final version of your essay should run between 1,500 and 2,000 words. As with your first piece, I’ll ask you to take this essay through a series of drafts and revisions. Here is what you should plan for:

  • Fri, 3/28: Come to class with two good ideas for your second essay.
  • Thurs, 4/10: Post a brief proposal for your second essay (p5) to Dropbox. We will discuss these proposals in class on 4/11.
  • Tues, 4/15: Post your first draft (e2.d1) to your Dropbox group folder.
  • Wed, 4/16: Read and respond to the drafts posted by the other members of your writing group (p6). Workshop these pieces in class.
  • Tues, 4/22: Email me a revising plan, based on the comments you’ve received from your writing group (p7).  I will email you back with a brief response.
  • Tues, 4/29: Email me your second draft (e2.d2). I will confer with you in person about this draft.
  • Thurs, 5/08: Email me your final draft (e2.d3), which I will grade.

Good luck! I look forward to seeing how you update and extend Berger’s thinking!

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