University of California Politics of Deportation Paper This activity explores how our personal news consumption is reliant on a greater ability to research smaller conversations happening at a national (and often international) level. More specifically, we are looking at how large topics can be broken into smaller ones, which are then further discussed by special interest groups. (This exercise is similar to the 39C CP and AP. For example, global warming is a large topic, but sea-level rise is a smaller related topic). This activity is also an opportunity to practice forming a research question.
Step 1: Choose one news article published within the last month. (If you don’t regularly read the news, now is a good time to start!) You don’t have to use an American news source, but you will have to search for the terms used within America, so avoid an obscure news topic.
Step 2: As you read your chosen article, make a list of terms the author used that you find interesting, ones you might not be familiar with or want to learn more about. This step is the beginning of your research question formation.
Step 3: Search for relevant terms in Cloudberry. The goal here is to locate other people conversing about a specific aspect of the larger topic to answer your research question(s).
I attached an example, you can follow it. –Example———————————————-Step 1: The (think piece/interview) article I have chosen is Racism, Police Violence, and
Climate are not Separate Issues (Links to an external site.)by Bill McKibben (who spoke at
UCI in 2019!) published in The New Yorker on June 4, 2020.
Step 2: I made a list of the following terms I wasn’t familiar with as a I read the article:
#greennewdeal #antigreenenergy #antidevelopment #cleancoal
At this stage I am forming my research questions. What are the possible political
connotations of the term ‘clean coal’? What is its history – when was it first used? I am most
interested in the conversation about #cleancoal because while I can imagine what it means, I
have never heard it used before and it sounds like an oxymoron.
Step 3: Searching for the term in Cloudberry to see where in the United States #cleancoal is
being Tweeted, I can even watch Tweets in realtime. Currently I only see 325 Twitter users
mentioning #cleancoal (Figure 1).
Figure 1: TwitterMap of America of the term #cleancoal (Cloudberry).
From here I can click on California, Orange County, even Irvine to see if anyone is Tweeting
about #cleancoal. They are not. So instead I click on the Tweets (right side of screen) to
better understand the #cleancoal conversationsthrough Twitter Search (Links to an external
Here I see a number of conversations archived, including a recent post in support
of #cleancoal from the White House Director of Strategic Communication through The
White House Twitter account (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Snapshot of a #cleancoal Twitter thread (Twitter).
In this exchange, the Twitter user David Rae rejects the possibility of #cleancoal, pointing
out that to him the term is a contradiction, similar to “Good Cancer” or “Great Oil Spill”. He
is also critical of the current president.
Step 4: At this point I can answer one of my research questions with this exchange:
What are the possible political connotations of the term ‘clean coal’?
‘Clean coal’ is a term used by Republicans (current presidential administration) in support of
the coal industry. It is condemned by those who believe ‘clean coal’ is not possible,
presumably those who would rather promote sustainable energy rather than fossil fuels.
Following various Twitter conversation threads further, the reader could learn what aspect
of the coal process is clean, whether it is extraction or burning. Readers could also track
President Trump’s confusion about the coal itself being cleaned by miners (Links to an
external site.). If I was interested in reading more Tweets from the president (Figure 3), I
could even use this search engine (Links to an external site.).
Figure 3: Tweet in support of #cleancoal (Twitter).
With this amount of research I understand who uses the term and how they use it. I now
want to answer my second research question:
What is its history – when was #cleancoal first used?
For this answer I am using the Google Ngram tool (Links to an external site.) to search the
term #cleancoal. This data base (Figure 4) only includes content from books published
between 1800-2012, and it turns out the first use of #cleancoal was not actually the Trump
Administration, but from the Coal Mining Review and Industrial Index from 1818!
Figure 4: Database reflects the term’s use up until 2008 (Google).
From the use chart, one can click on the date ranges (1800-1893) to see the term’s use in
context. Looking up ‘clean coal’, I found its use in a government-issued flyer advertising the
benefits of public investment in coal (Figure 5).
Figure 5: First recorded use of ‘clean coal’ published in the Coal Mining Review.
Step 5: Now that I have briefly researched the use of ‘clean coal’ using Twitter and Google
Ngram, I can write a 200-300 word post answering two research questions. What are the
possible political connotations of the term ‘clean coal’? What is its history – when was it first
———————————————————————————————–Requirements: Demonstrate your understanding of one term in a political context through
a multi-modaldescription of its use. The post (250-300 words) needs to answer a research
question of your choice, such as ‘What does (the term) mean? How is (the term) used in
political discussion? What are (the term’s) political connotations?’ by introducing its use in 1
news story and tracking its use in Twitter. The multi-modal parts of this post should be
screenshots from Twitter threads.
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