Paper 2: Auburn Observations

Unit Two: Analysis of Two Texts: Auburn Observations

We can learn a lot about a location based on the people who spend time there, but also from colors, decorations, designs, and geographical locations. For instance, a coffee shop can create an Indie vibe by displaying modern art and sculpture, and playing Indie music. This environment would appeal more to some people than others, thus attracting a clientele with similar interests (in theory. Part of this paper may be to analyze whether or not such efforts are effective).  Outdoor venues can be equally informative about a community and culture. Take a park for example. Are there benches or picnic tables? If not, does this mean that people are not encouraged to stay? Is it clean or is there a lot of litter? Are there animals? What is there for people to do in the park (playground equipment, exercise trails, fishing, etc)? What are people actually doing?

For this paper, you will go out into the Auburn/Opelika community and take notes on your observations. By observing the same location on two occasions, you will be able to create a unique and insightful analysis. You must observe on two occasions for at least one hour each time, for a minimum of two hours total. Please be sure that the observation site you choose is one that you can easily observe more than once. For instance, don’t observe a party, as 1) you probably can’t be an objective observer at a party, and 2) you can’t replicate the circumstances for a second observation. Also, don’t choose a location where you are required to participate; observation requires separation from the events taking place. Don’t choose a movie in a movie theater, a party, a football game, etc. Choose to observe a place that is unique and interesting to you, but which will also provide Auburn/Opelika specific insights. Try to move beyond the obvious and generic to find something surprising.

Questions to get you thinking about this paper: Where do I like to hang out in Auburn/Opelika? Why do I like spending time in this location? Where do my friends hang out? Where do I never hang out? Why not? What about that location makes me not want to spend time there? How is a specific venue designed to be appealing (consider color schemes, lighting, seating availability, possible activities, types of food and drink available, decorations, accessibility, etc), and what kind of people/crowd/clientele is the venue trying to attract? Is your venue successfully attracting the clientele they seem to be trying to attract? Can anyone go to this place, or are there prohibitions/restrictions (for instance, there are often co-ed rules in dormitories restricting visitor access)? Are some people not welcome or less welcome, even if there are no written rules against it? What can you conclude about the location and the people who spend time there based on your observations? Do they share common interests (for example, if you observe in the student center you can assume most of the people there attend or work for AU)? Do they not seem to share common interests?

Due Dates:

Tuesday 9-13: Turn in a one page, single spaced, typed letter describing three possible topics for your paper. List a possible thesis statement for each topic.

Thursday 9-22: Turn in a hard-copy of a rough draft of your paper.

Thursday 9-29: A hard copy of your final draft is due