MWF 2:00 – 2:50
Rhetoric and Communications Department
Office: Bradley 321
Office hours: MWF 1-2; 3-4
(other hours by appointment)
This course teaches students to analyze and compose written and oral arguments. It also teaches a few of the more useful theories and systems for constructing and analyzing arguments, including stasis theory and the theories of Aristotle, Stephen Toulmin, and Carl Rogers. The readings included in the text and from outside sources will help students learn how to think through difficult problems and analyze arguments critically. Students will not only learn how to research and define issues, but also how to pitch their arguments to specific audiences for specific purposes. Topics may come from any area, but students are encouraged to choose significant issues, either from the readings, from their major (or proposed field of graduate study), or through outside research.
Although Argumentative Writing will not have a specified research component, students are encouraged to use the library frequently. All outside sources need to be properly documented in the text.
Course grades will be assigned largely on the basis of the four out of class papers, the debate, oral presentation, and the final. Because the class relies so much on peer criticism and evaluation, however, both in-class participation and attendance will also be considered. Here is a breakdown of the grading policy:
First argument 15%
Second argument 20%
Evaluative argument 20%
Final Exam 5%
Arguments will be evaluated on their degree of difficulty, clarity, and on the probable effect they will have on their intended audience. Therefore, a clear sense of audience and purpose is integral to any argument. Students should assume, for instance, a hostile rather than supportive audience (since arguments to a supportive audience don't usually need to be made).
As in any other kind of writing, revision is crucial to argument. The only way to be sure of audience reaction before a paper is handed in (or committed to print) is to allow others to read and criticize it. Therefore, considerable class time will be spent in workshop sessions reading and evaluating each other's arguments.
1. All papers must be typed and double-spaced.
2. No paper will be accepted unless a rough draft has been approved. All late papers will receive late grades.
3. Written work (in and out of class) must be the student’s own and any assistance should be noted in the acknowledgments.
4. Students will be expected to attend class regularly. More than three unexcused absences may result in a grade penalty.
5. Students are encouraged to use the Writing Center for help in drafting essays.
Writing Center hours:
Monday - Friday 8-5; library 6-9 Sunday - Thursday
Call extension 5367 for an appointment.
The weeks of:
August 27 Introduction to course
What is an argument?
How are they won or lost?
Analyzing complex issues
EA, Chapter 1
August 29 Mass of Holy Spirit
Class held from 3:10 – 3:50
September 1 Getting ready to write arguments
Ethos and pathos: Arguments and audiences
EA, Chapters 2 and 3
September 8 1st draft of 1st essay due
EA, Chapters 4, 5, 6, and 7
September 15 1st argument due
Introduction to Rogers and Toulmin
EA, Chapter 8
September 22 1st draft of second argument due; Using Definition
EA, Chapter 9
September 29 second argument due
Introduction to evaluative argument
EA, Chapter 10
October 6 1st draft of evaluative argument due
October 11-19 Fall break
October 20 Evaluative argument due
Introduction to debate
EA, Chapter 11
October 24 Class held from 12:50 – 1:30
October 27 EA, Chapter 13
November 3 Debates
November 10 Writing proposals
EA, Chapter 12
November 24 1st draft of proposal due
November 26-30 Thanksgiving Break
December 1 Proposals due
EA, Chapter 17
December 8 Oral presentations
Last day of class (December 12)
EA, Chapter 10
Final exam: Wednesday, December 17
2:30 - 4:30
Text: Everything’s an Argument, Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz