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Advanced College Essay: Home

Research Guide for Progression 2:  Cultural Conversations

Exercise:  Annotated bibliography
Essay assignment:
Synthesize and contribute to a significant contemporary cultural conversation (6-8 pages)

Sample preliminary question:  Self-driving cars are arriving on the scene.  Presumably, they will become increasingly available to consumers and eventually become the norm. What impact will this have on various societal issues -- for example the economy (automotive industry and taxi/Uber services), urban planning, accident liablility, and drunk/distracted driving?

Keyword brainstorm:   self-driving cars     driverless cars      autonomous cars

Types of sources useful for these assignments:




What is a Cultural Conversation?

1. A cultural conversation is an interchange of distinct opinions and conclusions among various speakers/writers. It should be what we think of as a lively, animated conversation: there should be a sense of urgency among the participants that something truly important is at stake.

2. A cultural conversation is cultural in that it is occurring across the culture at large, as opposed to within a limited subculture, a specialized field of study, or minor area of interest. It can and often will relate to a specialized area of activity (whether that be biology labs, startup offices, maternity wards, or organic farms), but needs to be seen to have culture-wide implications. A sign that a conversation is culturally significant is that it is taking place in culturally significant venues (like the NY Times, or Slate, or Wired, or other publications with a broad readership) and not exclusively in specialized professional or academic publications.    

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