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SSI1-141: Architectures of Power (Despres): Working with BEAM

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Cover of Danticat's The Dew Breaker

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SSI1 141: Architectures of Power

Research, like writing, is an incredibly creative process. As you encounter and sift through sources, you will find yourself joining conversations already in motion, and these experiences, in turn, will shape your own argument in perhaps unexpected ways. The ultimate goal of research is not "to find the right answer," but rather, to create a persuasive argument based on your synthesis, analysis, and interpretation of the sources you use. For this reason, the choices you make about which sources to use as you craft your argument are of the upmost importance.

The BEAM Framework

BEAM is an acronym intended to help students think about the various ways we might use sources when writing a researched argument. Joseph Bizup, an English professor at Boston University, outlined the framework in a 2008 article. The idea has since been refined and adapted by many others.

Beam Model

  • Background for materials a writer relies on for general information or for factual evidence;
  • Exhibit for materials a writer analyzes or interprets;
  • Argument for materials whose claims a writer engages;
  • and Method for materials from which a writer takes a governing concept or derives a manner of working.

BEAM as a Research Strategy

You are in charge of deciding whether and how to use any given source. Working in your groups, respond to the following scenarios.

1.  Consider this source:

Dash, J. Michael. "Duvalierism.The Oxford Encyclopedia of African Thought, edited by F. Abiola Irele and Biodun Jeyifo, Oxford UP, 2010. 

Using the BEAM framework, how might you consider using this source? Identify two BEAM categories where you might use this source and explain your reasoning.

2.  Consider this source:

Haiti: An Island Luminous (Click "Learn" to get started and then click "Next" through to "Part X: 1957 to 1985" to explore)

Using the BEAM framework, how might you consider using this source? Identify two BEAM categories where you might use this source and explain your reasoning.

3. Consider this source:

Duvalier, François. "Speech by the 'Leader of the Revolution.'" Translated by Allen Kim. The Haiti Reader, edited by Laurent Dubois et al., Duke UP, 2020, pp. 336-39. 

Using the BEAM framework, how might you consider using this source? Identify two BEAM categories where you might use this source and explain your reasoning.

4. Consider this source:

Smith, Dorsía. "A Violent Homeland: Recalling Haiti in Edwidge Danticat’s Novels." Contemporary Literary Criticism, edited by Lawrence J. Trudeau, vol. 416, Gale, 2018. Originally published in Narrating the Past, edited by Nandita Batra and Vartan P. Messier, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007, pp. 133-140.

What exhibit sources does the author analyze? How do you know?

5.  Consider this source:

Mirabal, Nancy Raquel, and Edwidge Danticat. “Dyasporic Appetites and Longings: An Interview with Edwidge Danticat.” Callaloo, vol. 30, no. 1, 2007, pp. 26–39. 

Would you use this source in your academic writing? If so, as what kind of BEAM category, and in what circumstances?

BEAM as a Reading Strategy

Consider this article by Maria Rice Bellamy:

Bellamy, Maria Rice. “More than Hunter or Prey: Duality and Traumatic Memory in Edwidge Danticat's ‘The Dew Breaker.’” MELUS, vol. 37, no. 1, 2012, pp. 177–197. 

Working in your group, identify one place where Bellamy uses a source as an exhibit source, and another instance when they use a different source as argument source. Be ready to explain your thinking!

Humanities Librarian

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Katy Curtis
Contact:
Office: Collins Library 140
253.879.3672

Peer Research Advising

Fall 2020

Hannah Turner and Allie Highsmith are your Peer Research Advisors for 2020-21!

 

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