Advanced Argumentative Writing

This is an advanced course in argumentative writing. We will concentrate on expository and argumentative prose while studying classical rhetorical devices as well as more recent conceptions of the writing process and discourse communities in contemporary composition studies. Students will be engaged in “real world” writing assignments that will require them to refine their ability to collaborate with co-workers, assess their audience’s situation and needs, and write appropriately for many different contexts.

The focus of this course is the students’ work with a local organization of their choice. They select a written document produced by that organization–such as an internal newsletter or a public relations website–and then analyze the particular rhetoric of that document, identifying key terms and uses of language that foster identification among members and thereby serve persuasive ends.  Students then write an argument to that community on a specific topic, using the analysis they produced earlier to guide their rhetorical strategies and choices of language. Students are required to submit their argument to their community (e.g. in the form of a memo, proposal, or newsletter submission) and to include the response the community gives them, which they then use to revise their writing into a polished public document. The students’ work culminates in an additional final paper in which they reflect upon their experiences working within their chosen communities, upon the way discourse, ideology, and identity work to reinforce community identification and involvement, and upon the effectiveness of their attempts to persuade their community members.

Course requirements: three major writing assignments and four short assignments

Required Text

Required on-line readings will be made available to students via an interactive course website.