One of the purposes of an academic community is to facilitate the exchange of ideas among its members.
This journal provides one place where we foster students’ voices in the University of Maryland’s vibrant academic conversations.
In each issue, our writers read and analyze, inquire and argue, bringing academic insights to bear on exigent civic issues.
Elizabeth E. Miller
- Scott Eklund
- Danielle Griffin
- Nabila Hijazi
- Valerie Johnson
- Katherine Joshi
- Tamar LeRoy
- Shaun Russell
- Emily Smith
- Joshua Weiss
2017 was a special year for the University of Maryland's Academic Writing Program: we, along with our Professional Writing Program and Writing Center, received the Conference on College Composition and Communication's Writing Program Certificate of Excellence. This national award recognized our program for its outstanding core writing instruction, among other qualities. The selections for this year’s issue of Interpolations showcase this brilliant teaching and the dedicated student writing it inspires. Chosen from 170 submissions, these pieces reveal commitment to inquiry, research, and thoughtful argumentation. I’m delighted to present them to you in the spirit of celebrating the success of our program.
In the first piece of the issue Garett Unger offers a summary of “Virtuous Arguments” by John Duffy. In his summary, Unger reveals the moves of Duffy’s argument, a case for connecting first-year writing to civic discourse. The Inquiry selection, “Who is the Real Expert?”by Lucie Ugarte, takes up an insightful investigation of the “academic-practitioner divide.” She raises questions about how knowledge circulates (and doesn’t) and the relationship between class and recognized expertise.
The Rhetorical Analysis essay presented here offers a nuanced look at Susan Cain’s Ted Talk, “The Power of Introverts”. In this piece, Jacob Friedman reveals how Cain situates her argument in relationship to a spectrum of personalities, from the most introverted to those who identify as total extroverts. The Digital Forum by Salma Ghorab offers a look at the goals and strategies of two different phases of the black freedom movement, the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and Black Lives Matter in the present.
Finally, Evan Silvera’s Position Paper, “Linking Eating Disorders, Stigma, and Media,” tackles the issue of the relationship between the media and eating disorders. Silvera demonstrates that this connection is often overemphasized to eating disorder sufferer’s detriment and concludes there is merit in considering the eating disorders in a broader perspective that attends to environmental and biological factors.
I’ll conclude this letter with a word of thanks to our fabulous Editorial Board: Scott Eklund (our managing editor), Danielle Griffin, Nabila Hijazi, Valerie Johnson, Katherine Joshi, Tamar LeRoy, Shaun Russell, Emily Smith, and Joshua Weiss. I’m grateful for their time and service in addition to their commitment to excellent teaching and writing.
I hope that you enjoy this outstanding student writing!
Elizabeth E. Miller
Fall 2017 Essays
Who’s the Real Expert?
Many people assume that the highly educated have the most reliable knowledge in all aspects of their field of study, but that may not always be the case. The value of outside-of- academia knowledge can be seen through the story of Janet Stephens, a hairdresser who used her practical knowledge of hair to disprove academic theories that surrounded seemingly impossible ancient Roman hairdos depicted in sculptures and other artifacts (Pesta).
Linking Eating Disorders, Stigma, and Media
The summer prior to my freshman year of high school was marked, unexpectedly, by an eight week excavation into a sole fragmented psyche at Camp Blue Ridge. The all-girls sleep-away camp served as a sort of social training ground to prepare incoming high school students for their new roles as freshmen. Every day, one of the girls in my bunk, Sarah, would wake up looking exhausted and leave the bathroom after getting ready with a self-assured smile upon her face.
Rhetorical Analysis Essays
Rhetorical Analysis: The Power of Introverts
Introversion is an undervalued characteristic that is often overlooked in our extroverted society. In Susan Cain’s TED talk, “The Power of Introverts,” the acclaimed writer and lecturer informs the audience how extroverted styles of thought in the workplace and the classroom are overtaking our institutions and suppressing the creative thinking of many introverts.
John Duffy’s “Virtuous Arguments”: An Academic Summary
In his 2012 essay “Virtuous Arguments,” John Duffy, Associate Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame, describes modern public discourse as “a form of entertainment, and a corporate product.” Duffy claims that rather than engaging in refined dialogue, modern figures, such as political pundits and politicians, are endorsing a form of rhetoric that is “toxic.” He believes, however, that there already exists an effort to reverse this reality and promote a more ethical public discuss