The Rhetoric of Art in Consumer Culture
PWR 1 Spring Quarter 2006
Jonah G. Willihnganz
Stanford University

Annotated Bibliography
Due Monday May 15th (4-6p ss) (1 hard copy in class)

Now that you have done some preliminary research and developed a proposal that describes the relationship you are investigating, its relevance, your provisional stance, and the “archive” you will mine to produce your case, it is time to begin assessing some of the materials you may use.

As we have discussed in class, writing a good, polemical, research-based analysis requires working in stages, as you would if you were to build a bridge or a house. First you need an initial design. Then you need to assemble and assess your resources. Next you need to develop a detailed blueprint. Then you need lay the foundation and erect the basic structure. After that you need to modify and augment the basic structure based on how it is turning out to work or not work. The finally you need to do final detail work. The annotated bibliography is our second of these stages.

Aside from isolating and defining one stage of the research writing process, the annotated bibliography assignment is designed to emphasize how important it is for you to evaluate the sources you are investigating (rather than simply describe). There are some basic guidelines for evaluating sources on the Stanford Information Literacy Modules you complete and in Lunsford. There are more detailed guidelines from Johns Hopkins University on the PWR Library page or just click here.

Your task:

1. Draft a bibliography of 10 sources. The minimum number of secondary sources is 6; the minimum number of primary sources is 2. The maximum number of “internet-only” sources (web sites, e.g.) is 4. For each secondary source you should write one paragraph, giving about 2-3 sentences to each of the following. For each primary source, you should omit the evaluation section but write more for the Argument and Methodology sections. Your argument section will state your interpretation of the source, the methodology section will describe how that meaning is produced. 

Format: For each source, give the full bibliographic entry (author title, publisher, etc.) and then use these headings—e.g., “Argument: Jones suggests that juggling descended from the apes. . Methodology: Jones provides three kinds of evidence. . .” Each annotation should appear inset (indented) underneath each full bibliographic entry.

1. Argument. What is the main issue or problem addressed and how is it framed? What is the principal claim? If a primary source, what is your interpretation of the work’s meaning—its “argument” in literary/aesthetic form?

2. Methodology. What kind of arguments and evidence are used to frame the issue and defend the principal claim? If a primary source, what are the strategies that the text uses to produce its meaning?

3. Evaluation. (Secondary sources only) What is the source’s credibility? What are the qualifications of the author, the reputation of the publisher? How do other sources regard it? What is its scope and level of specialization? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the case it makes?

4. Value (to your project). What is the source’s relation to your project? How does it support, challenge, or alter your provisional thesis? What is it good for? How might you use it?

2. Write one substantial paragraph at the end of the bibliography that situates your provisional argument among these sources. Which sources allow you to describe the context and stakes of your argument? Which sources aid your claim? At what point in your essay do you imagine using some of the most important sources?