Argumentative Writing

On a daily basis, we encounter arguments being made all around us. The brief one-minute pop-up ad on Netflix argues that we need the latest housecleaning product to make our lives complete, politicians are arguing that they are they only ones who can “make America great again,” and the people we follow on Instagram are arguing that their lifestyles are bigger, better, and fancier than those of anyone else. Being able to critically evaluate and understand how these arguments are being made, who is making them, and why they matter, is the purpose of this course. The ancient rhetoricians of Greece argued that to be a valuable contributor to the world one had to know about rhetoric and the way arguments are made and people are effectively persuaded. In this class, we will study forms of public discourse and the rhetorical strategies that they use in order 1). be more critical of the arguments that constantly surround us and 2). be more powerful argument-creators and world-changers ourselves.

Required Texts:

Sharon Crowley and Debra Hawhee’s Ancient Rhetorics For Contemporary Students, 3rd edition

Other texts accessible online (newspapers, magazines, video clips, etc.)


5 short 1-2 page reading responses

1 5-page rhetorical analysis paper

1 5-page argument paper

1 multimedia presentation and write-up