Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Using the Topoi

In place of Friday's class (12pm only), please take a look at the resource we've just created to teach "the topoi," an ancient tool for developing your ideas.

You'll find the resources here. Please watch all of the videos.

For now, focus on what the topoi are and how they might help you with this assignment or another one. Post your feedback on the tools as comments to this blog post. We'll discuss "the topoi" further in class.

Here is the site:
The USC Topoi Pageflakes


Anonymous said...

I definitely think it's beneficial to use the Topoi as a way of examining a topic from a variety of perspectives. However, I think that a potential pitfall is the possibility of focusing too much on the particular categories given in the Topoi, (Change, Structure/Format, etc.) because the categories are certainly not exhaustive. For longer essays and projects, it is worth using simply to examine all sides of a topic before committing to an idea.

- James LaPlant

michael Strauss said...

As shown in the videos, the Topoi method generates many ideas. I think it is more effective than a casual brainstorm-which often leads to nothing. Having different categories: contrast, value, cause/effect, change, and form/structure, allows whoever is brainstorming to cover multiple issues surrounding the subject and spark new ideas, rather than focusing on the original plan. I would use it in writing essays if I had a better understanding of each "topos."

Ankur Sharma said...

I like the lecture about the topoi and the idea of different lenses to help us as writers learn new things about a topic. I agree that successful writing can only occur if the writer discovers new ideas during the writing process and is not simply proving what he or she already knows. I hope to use the topoi to facilitate my writing process in this regard.

Victoria said...

It was interesting to learn about the classical rhetoric topoi, a method that I was never taught in high school. Topoi seems to be a very useful tool in expanding ideas and making connections between ideas. However, I agree with James that it also tends to train us to think systematically other than creatively. I would still prefer having the freedom to expand and evolve my ideas without the restriction of the structured, conventional method. Of course, I haven't fully comprehended or tried topoi yet, so I would hold back my opinion for now.

Brian said...

I found the topoi interesting, however I had difficultly distinguishing a couple of the topoi from eachother. In particular, the topoi of change, Structure/format, cause/effect, change, and contrast all seemed to be similar ideas to me. Would it be beneficial to go over these in class a little?