final exam study guide

101C-17 Final Exam Study Guide
Final exam = Wednesday, May 22nd, 9:30 – 11:30 am (no make-up)
Final CT paper = Wed, May 22nd at the start of exam period (no late work)
Late work = Wed, May 15th (no more than 2 late assignments)
What to bring:
Ramage et al textbook
Bok on whistleblowers
Calabresi on WikiLeaks
Class discussion notes
Panel presentation notes
Smolla on free speech
Tony Judt on dissent
Tolokonnikova on Pussy Riot
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (posted Qs, notes)
Blue book
What to expect:
2-hr short essay, open book exam:
Part I on ethos, Bok on whistleblowers, Calabresi on WikiLeaks, optional resources (40%).
Part II on free speech, Smolla, Judt, Tolokonnikova, Ai Weiwei, optional resources (60%).
Material to be covered:
Ramage textbook, on structure and analysis of argument, 55-68, 122-125.
Sissela Bok, Secrets: On the Ethics of Concealment and Revelation (excerpt on whistleblowers)
Massimo Calabresi, “WikiLeaks’ War on Secrecy: Truth’s Consequences”
PBS WikiSecrets documentary film (optional - online video posted on webpage)
Smolla, Judt, Tolokonnikova, Ai Weiwei on free speech
Optional – BONG HiTS 4 JESUS, Should Trees Have Standing?
Your independent reading
Critical reading that leads to critical writing:
A) On ethos: What principles guide our conduct in relation to others? Our sense of fairness and
justice? Our condemnation of force or violence, threats or coercion, deception and lies? What is
altruism? What is the categorical imperative and its implied relationship between the individual
and society? What is the relationship between empathy and responsibility? Private interest v.
public good? What is our sense of obligation to family, friends, community, country, strangers?
How can we translate self-interest into public interest? Why is this so hard to do? Considering
any question or controversy—on personal, professional, social matters—how can we employ
logos/reason, pathos/emotion, and ethos/ethics or morals together?
B) On ethos, secrets, and WikiLeaks: What is Sissela Bok’s definition of a secret? What are key
considerations of maintaining confidentiality v. the free flow of information? Examples? Why is
there a conflict of power over keeping secrets v. transparency? How are secrets linked to right to
privacy, reputation, judgment, public opinion, social media, mass media? What are the risks of
secrecy regarding corruption, abuse, professional responsibility, public v. private gains/losses?
How are secrets protected by groups, clubs, corporations, governments? What is the relationship
between power and secrecy? Between democracy and the free flow of information?
On Bok’s whistleblowers: What are the 3 steps to whistleblowing? What are the warning signs
before whistleblowing erupts? What conflicts of interest may be involved? What are the risks
and costs to the whistleblower? If whistleblowing is suppressed and whistleblowers are not
legally protected, what is the cost to society? How can we change the status quo to make
organizations (government, military, corporations, etc) more open and honest?
C) On free speech, First Amendment, UN Declaration of Human Rights (articles 18, 19, 20):
According to Smolla, what is the “free market of ideas”? What is the relationship between free
speech and democracy? In legal and popular terms, how has the concept of free speech and
expression been expanded? Limited?
How has the interpretation of the First Amendment changed over time—even as the words
remain the same? How is it possible for opposing parties in a given controversy to both quote the
amendment as a basis for their argument?
Between the polar opposites of free speech and censorship lie degrees of differentiation that
recognize the limits or boundaries of free speech—such as protection, control, suppression. What
is the gray area—the negotiable, contestable territory—between freedom and censorship?
If a speech act is defined as “in saying something, we do something,” what are the unspoken
messages of such acts as flag burning, hanging an effigy, draft card burning, bra burning,
carrying peace signs, and so on? Taking it a step further, when we participate in or observe
silence as speech act—such as candlelit vigils for fallen community leaders or arbitrary loss of
life in a drive-by shooting or an anniversary for lost lives from AIDS or the Iraq war—what is
the unspoken message? Why is silence sometimes more potent than words? How does the
unspoken—such as signs, symbols, speech acts, silence—redefine our sense of speech? Why do
you think these unspoken expressions are interpreted as forms of free speech? As well as
protected and upheld by courts of law?
If the Internet is a free, public space (like public sidewalks and parks), should it be regulated in
any way? If the FCC bleeps “the 7 bad words you cannot say on TV,” should there be any bleeps
on the Internet? Limits and boundaries—where do we draw the line?
How has social media—blogging, tweeting, Facebook—often been used to foment social and
political changes? How does anonymity or “virtual” reality affect accountability on the Internet?
How does the process of tweets and re-tweets affect trending ideas? Compared to mainstream
media, how does social media deliver its messages? Mediate identity of speakers, credibility of
messages, significance of news?
Suggested writing strategy:
(a) know the key words and ideas of each reading, referring to them when called for;
(b) push to the foreground Qs of ‘why’ and ‘how’—identify principles, values, assumptions
and/or theory and practice of the authors;
(c) anchor your analysis with quotes and examples (cite source). In other words, your
interpretation rests squarely on discovery of unstated but implied ideas, relevant quotes and
examples—current events, your observations and experiences. There is no one, correct
answer—develop and support your response with specifics from the texts.
Note: for in-class writing, only in-text parenthetical citations (author, page number) is required;
works cited is not required.
Suggested step-by-step preparation:
1 Briefly review textbook and class discussion notes on argument structure and analysis. By
definition, example, and practice, become familiar with the following terms:
multiple points of view—as a way to strengthen position and analysis
argument or sustaining a line of reasoning
logos (reason), pathos (emotion), ethos (ethics, morals, principles)
principles, values, assumptions—stated or unstated
fallacy and bullshit—how to recognize weak or erroneous reasoning
satire, irony—humor as a way to expose contradictions, question authority
2 Before re-reading source material on ethos/WikiLeaks and free speech/Smolla et al, review inclass study questions and discussion notes.
3 Re-read critically, locating key words, quotes, main ideas—what is the argument or line of
reasoning presented by the author? Do you agree or disagree (or somewhere in between) with
the author and why? What doubts or questions are provoked by the text? Any lapses in
reasoning or questionable assumptions or contradictions underlying the text? Fallacy? Bullshit?
Any alternative points of view?
Helpful hints:
1 Build a vocabulary of thinking and writing about the readings. What are the key words and
phrases of each reading?
2 Build a source of quotes and page numbers for each reading. Can you state the author’s thesis
or central idea in one or two sentences? Can you quickly find the key facts and statements to
support the author’s and/or your line of reasoning?
3 Without looking at the text, can you respond to study questions in your own words—
explaining the big picture and key points to someone who has not read these sources? Can you
move beyond summary, offering your own explanation, analysis, commentary? Do you
recognize correspondences with the real world, parallel examples or associations from the text to
current events and your own observations and experiences?
Test-taking strategy:
1 Preview the whole test before starting to write. Choose questions strategically—lead with your
2 Give yourself time to think. If writing is thinking made evident, then thinking is part of the
3 Follow instructions. Note the weight of each part and spend time proportionately.
Helpful hints:
1 Avoid personal opinion without references to readings. Instead, develop a connection between
the reading and your writing—the reading provides a basis for your own explanation and
analysis, whether or not you completely agree with the author.
2 Avoid summarizing what you’ve read without your own analysis and critical commentary.
Summary  explanation and analysis.
3 Avoid vague generalizations. Provide facts, quotes, examples. Support general statements
with specifics.
To avoid plagiarism, carefully prepare notes using quotations marks (“…”) and cite sources. Do
not use commentary from online sources such as SparkNotes or Wikipedia without quote marks
and citing the source. Plagiarism, whether intentional or unintentional, will be graded as a zero.
Criteria for grading final exam:
Critical thinking skills:
Writing skills:
Recognition of thesis or main idea
Sentence grammar (complex-compound)
Explanation + analysis—beyond summary Paragraph development
Development of affirmation (agreement),
Whole essay clarity and coherence
doubt (uncertain/unknown) or questions
Cite sources (in-text)
Write a free-standing essay with a title—avoid opinion without reference to the reading.