Argumentative Writing

The study of persuasion—rhetoric—has always been linked, in the classical western tradition, to citizen participation in the democratic enterprise. In this course students will begin by studying historical underpinnings of rhetorical practice and study in classical Greece and Rome and then expand their understanding of the art of persuasion by adding two significant areas of study to this well-established and traditional terrain: world rhetorics and contemporary digital, globlized rhetorics.

To begin to understand how the shape and form of public debate is shifting under the pressures of new technologies, social media, and globalization, students will read from and about historical rhetorical traditions worldwide and about emerging new forms of on-line argumentation. Students will respond to these readings in short papers. They will also perform rhetorical analyses of new social media, formulating arguments about how these emerging sites for the public consumption and production of argumentation, interpretation, commentary, and information gathering/seeking are changing the landscape of citizen participation and thus the democratic process. Assigned readings and prior writing assignments will prepare students to submit their final argumentative essays for on-line publication.

Assignments include short reading responses, a rhetorical analysis paper, and an argument paper.

Required Text: readings available via pdf