By David Cregar, Expository Writing Program at New York University



Read Mary Louise Pratt’s “Arts of the Contact Zone." You have legal, ethical access to the original article through the NYU Libraries license with JSTOR -- a popular, proprietary database of academic journals and articles. The link is here.

Note: Pratt's essay uses some complex terms and concepts. Do not worry if, in your first reading, you do not understand these completely. This assignment is, in part, an exercise in understanding that, when we read, we are always moving from partial understandings of the text to fuller, more complex understandings.

Then: Choose three places in Pratt's text that you want to understand more fully. Use PowerNotes to select the words, phrases, or sentences you want to think about more, then, for each of the three places you select, write two things: 1) what you understand Pratt to be saying, in that part ("saying back" what you hear in the text); and 2) what you make of what Pratt is saying, in that part (reflecting on, thinking through, questioning what you hear in the text).

For that second part, especially, try to write more than a sentence or two -- even though the little box on PowerNotes might lead you to think that a few sentences is all you need. Instead, try to extend your thinking further, making connections to your own experiences, puzzling and wondering about the meaning and importance of what Pratt is trying to teach and tell us (maybe 9-10 sentences for each, as a goal).



Add the work you did to your individual Google Doc.  You can do this by exporting your “project outline” to Word, and then copying and pasting that into the doc. You can also do it by copying and pasting directly from the project outline. (If you do it by copying and pasting, you may need to do a bit of reformatting things so that it looks neater on the page.)

Pair up. Temporarily share your individual Google Doc with your partner. (Please avoid swapping the laptop itself.)

Read through your partner’s work and consider three things:

  1. Where did your partner work? From what places in Pratt did your partner draw the chosen quotes?

  2. Is your partner “saying back” -- summarizing/paraphrasing -- what is in the quote? Imagine that there is almost always more in the quote than we can “see” at first: what’s in the quote that is not yet in the “sayback”?

  3. What does your partner write about what they “make of” what they read in Pratt? What do you make of what your partner says?

Choose between you, one set of quotation-sayback-reply and post on this doc. Decide what you want to tell us about this. What more can you tell us about this set of quotation-sayback-reply?