My favorite assignment lately has been an analysis of a social justice hashtag. It asks them to really explore and dig deep into a hashtag campaign and to consider:
its intended audience
They struggle with the idea that there's "something more" going on behind these hashtags, but once we start talking about an example--like #blacklivesmatter--they start to see that, we can analyze this stuff and we can say a lot about it!
I give them a long list to choose from because some of them struggle with the concept of a social justice hashtag. I update them list periodically, but I also let them choose one if they run it past me. For obvious reasons, I've banned papers about #blm, #icebucketchallenge, and #bringbackourgirls.
It helps them to not only continue on with the rhetorical analysis portion of our semester but also to understand the importance of really looking into things they can take for granted.
Thanks to Professor Jill Anderson of Tennessee State Univ., University of the District of Columbia Community for this great idea.