Due: Monday, Mar. 20th
Word Limit: 1000 words (max)
Category: roundtable

This post is a chance for you to explain your own position in the feminist debate about Beyoncé’s “Lemonade.” You have the choice between writing 1) a critical essay or, 2) a script of a roundtable discussion in which you are one of 2-5 participants.

Option 1: The Critical Essay

Get straight to the point and establish the terms of the critical conversation (i.e. a specific aspect of the broad feminist debate your read about). Don’t try to cover everything. Choose a specific angle and focus on a single song, theme, or issue. Assert your own thesis/intervention: a position that should go beyond the obvious, require evidence and analysis to be convincing, and provide a new insight not already articulated by the other writers. Support your thesis with textual evidence from “Lemonade” and analysis of the evidence. If you choose this option, you must quote and cite 1-3 other writers with whom you agree or disagree. Don’t just “stick in” quotations from them, though; get into a real conversation with other critics. Summarize their positions and explain how your argument confirms or diverges from theirs. If you are going to disagree with someone, make sure not only to summarize but also to quote the argument directly, so that you don’t oversimplify or misrepresent it.

Option 2: The Roundtable Debate

This option allows you to have more fun and be creative by staging a fictional roundtable conversation between you and 1-3 other critics who have written about “Lemonade.” You may also create a moderator who poses questions to the experts (including you). Your post should be the transcript for this conversation.

For the experts’ opinions, quote directly from their works to represent the core ideas of their arguments, but you may make up “filler” language to make it sound like they are actually participating in the conversation you have staged.

This option still requires you to:

  1. establish the terms of the critical conversation (i.e. a specific aspect of the broad feminist debate your read about);
  2. stake out your own position (a thesis);
  3. defend your position with evidence and analysis.

Your position shouldn’t simply repeat or agree with what someone else has had to say: you should offer a new insight, or apply an existing argument to a new part of the text in order to provide a fresh angle. This option also requires you to represent other critics’ perspectives accurately and to distinguish between their positions and your own.

Both options require you to cite all quotations and paraphrases with parentheticals indicating the author and page # (when available and include a Works Cited in MLA or Chicago Style.


Davidson Roundtable Rubric
  • 1000 words max
  • Set up specific terms for the debate, with a focus on a specific song, scene, theme, or issue.
  • Assert a clear, original intervention (thesis) in the debate.
  • Write in your own voice (except when representing other critics!).
  • Situate yourself in conversation with 1-3 experts by quoting and/or summarizing their positions accurately.
  • Defend your claims with specific evidence from “Lemonade.” You may quote lyrics, describe details from a scene, and/or insert a clip from the video album.
  • When you include a block quotation or film clip from “Lemonade,” frame the evidence in a “sandwich,” introducing it to tell us what to look for, and following up with analysis of what we’ve just read or watched.
  • Analyze evidence to show how it supports your claim.
  • Be concise. Get straight to the point, and use shortest, fewest words possible to communicate your ideas. (Read Zinsser and thrive as a writer!)

To be marked satisfactory, it must also meet the specifications for all analytical blog posts, many of which overlap with the above rubric. You may also earn the designation sophisticated by demonstrating exceptional originality and substance, and/or creativity and style.