Interpolations is a journal of academic writing from the University of Maryland. Annually, they publish essays highlighting exemplary rhetorical work University of Maryland students produce when taking English 101: Academic Writing.
One of the purposes of an academic community is to facilitate the exchange of ideas among its members. This journal provides a place to foster students’ voices in the University of Maryland’s vibrant academic conversations.
In each issue, student writers read and analyze, inquire and argue, and bring academic insights to bear on exigent civic issues.
- Scott Eklund
- Steve Beaulieu
- Anna Goodson
- Nabila Hijazi
- Sarah Bonnie Humud
- Roberto Leon
- Samantha O’Connor
- Ayesha Shibli
- Cheryl Spinner
- Joshua Weiss
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to our 2019 issue of Interpolations. Whether this is your first or fiftieth time visiting our Journal of Academic Writing, I hope you find our student authors’ choices of topics exciting and the executions of their projects insightful and meaningful.
Every semester, our English 101 faculty educate students on the value of persuasive rhetoric, the importance of provocative inquiry, the urgency to listen first before forming their own opinions, and the mission to demonstrate exigency through their writing assignments. These are not easy tasks, and we are all too aware of the high-level of thinking and research we are asking our students to undertake. Now more than ever, we find value in ensuring students are equipped with the tools to listen first before taking positions, to pose insightful inquiries as a way to fully understand the world around them and to bring audiences’ attention to diverse issues of ever-growing concern.
As in previous years, the pieces selected for publication in this year’s issue are exemplary models of our student’s continued hard work. What makes the 2019 edition especially notable might just be its emphasis on perspectives, plights, and topics that deserve additional support, recognition, and/or research. From Hannah Whitacre’s rhetorical analysis of a TED Talk whose author (Ben Young) implores his audience to recognize the pejorative linguistic treatment of stay-at-home moms to Ryan Murphy’s digital forum that interrogates the way that workplace health programs tie into both the promotion and demotion of its participants, our authors convey the impacts that the subject matter and the scholarly conversations have on their genre-related purpose. As we hope you find with all our selections, each piece succeeds in contributing to and extending a scholarly conversation around a thoroughly complex and exigent issue.
The next two pieces that I want to call your attention to, Zachary Breit’s inquiry, titled “Hack Backs, Hatchbacks, and Cyberattacks: Effectively Legislating Cybercrime” and Sarah Browning’s position paper, titled “Doctors: The Opioid Epidemic’s Biggest Contributor,” sift through scholarly positions as a means of facilitating a reader’s decision. In Breit’s case, he argues for the urgency cybercrime legislation demands, and moves through researched viewpoints on which legislative approach would be the most effective. The inquiry requires students to focus on the researched positions of others, and Zachary succeeds in fulfilling this expectation, as he presents multi-faceted arguments all connected to a central line of inquiry, eventually leaving the final decision-making up to the reader. In Browning’s position paper, she provides both a researched examination of a thoroughly exigent issue and also a unique position within a complex and ever-evolving problem. What makes her position paper even more compelling is the opportunity for continued discussion her specific position provides. Her paper, along with the others included in this year’s issue, shows mastery of both the skills covered in Academic Writing and the issues individually researched.
Several of our pieces demonstrate our students’ ability to argue for an issue’s exigency while also localizing their lens on an issue of specific interest to them. Through doing so, we as readers learn that localizing issues can take a variety of forms, as two of our authors draw our attention to areas of concern that we otherwise might not have been aware of. Caterina Ieronimo’s inquiry “Vietato Vietare (It is Forbidden to Forbid): An Investigation into the Extent to Which Political Identity Influences Italian Understanding of the Contestazione” explores how citizens’ understandings of a 1968 political movement (the Contestazione) continues to impact their understandings of how government should and should not respond to the threat of fascism. Ami Thaivalappil’s position paper “Daughters of Sabarimala” responds directly to a jurisdiction-focused question in defending the Indian Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn the Sabarimala’s ban on girls and women of menstruating age from entering the Temple of the Sabarimala. Finally, Evan Ruderman’s position paper, “Both Directions at Once: Free Jazz’s Dual Ventures into Musical Experimentation and Political Involvement” challenges readers to consider the intersection of free jazz during the Civil Rights movement and how the two influence each other. Just as with our selections, Ruderman’s essay succeeds in involving the reader in issue exploration and leaves his readers more informed about an issue that was perhaps previously overlooked.
Before concluding, I would like to thank our dedicated 2019 Interpolations board, without whom this issue would not be possible: Scott Eklund (our Managing Editor), Steve Beaulieu, Anna Goodson, Nabila Hijazi, Sarah Bonnie Humud, Roberto Leon, Samantha O’Connor, Ayesha Shibli, Cheryl Spinner, and Joshua Weiss. Thank you for your continued dedication to our students’ success and to strong academic writing, both with your work for Interpolations and within your own classrooms. Finally, in closing, I want to extend our gratitude to the heart and soul of this publication: our student writers, whose hard work and substantive revisions during the editorial process have made possible the issue that you see today.
I hope you enjoy this outstanding student writing!
Fall 2019 Essays
Hack Backs, Hatchbacks, and Cyberattacks: Effectively Legislating Cybercrime
My hometown of Fanwood, NJ is a microscopic blip on the map of a state better known for its proximity to New York than for any of its own offerings. Only a square mile in diameter, my tiny little suburb might be the most uninteresting, uneventful town in existence. That’s what I’d believed, anyways, until 2017, when a little-known resident of Fanwood named Paras Jha pleaded guilty to developing the infamous Mirai computer virus.
Vietato Vietare (It is Forbidden to Forbid)
Every year, my best friends go on strike. As a student in a country where walkouts are only now becoming more frequent (and no less controversial), I can’t really fathom that strikes are expected in Italian schools at least once a year. When I ask my friends why, their responses are varied. Elena tells me there doesn’t have to be a reason, Marta insists that striking reminds the administration that students are watching, and it gives young people a way to participate in their education.
Doctors: The Opioid Epidemic’s Biggest Contributor
In this paper, I address adolescent to adult American citizens because most of the opioid statistics were based on numbers from within the United States. Also, the United States has the largest struggle with opioids out of other prominent countries. This audience is crucial to the issue because they are the ones seeing and feeling the effects of the opioid epidemic.
Both Directions at Once: Free Jazz’s Dual Ventures into Musical Experimentation and Political Involvement
On August 23rd, 1963, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a speech widely regarded as one of the most powerful in American history. Over a quarter million people listened eagerly to King’s urgent words of hope and desire, entranced by his dream of liberation and fellowship.
Daughters of Sabarimala
When I was nine years old, I traveled from my home in the state of Maryland to visit the state of Kerala, 8,000 miles away in India. There, nestled in the lush jungles of the Western Ghat mountain range, rests Sabarimala, one of the largest Hindu pilgrimage sites in the world. Considered the home of Lord Ayyappa, the Hindu god of growth, the temple welcomes over 40 million devotees every year from all over the globe, with one notable demographic exception: young women.
Rhetorical Analysis Essays
A Shift of Focus on the Term “Stay-at-Home Mothers”
The term “stay-at-home mother” has become widely known in society over the past few decades but it is only recently that the phrase has acquired almost exclusively negative connotations. The reason for that stigma is the same reason proponents have fought for that right: the choice of the mother or, more specifically, how that choice is regarded by others.