In this course, we will be exploring writing an argument through the lens of the documentary genre. Everywhere we look the documentary genre is influencing the formation of texts, from the latest ads on TV and the Internet, to Youtube shorts, to sitcoms, news programs, and film. Each of these texts in some way is working to document a particular version of “reality” and, subsequently, to argue for a particular way of making meaning out of the world. Throughout the course of the semester, we will look at primary texts that exemplify different defining characteristics of the documentary genre to try and understand how these texts construct arguments, how they problematize argument-making, and how they challenge the audience through their argument constructions. As we look critically at these texts, we will also work to construct own arguments through the creation of research argument papers and documentary film projects, which will serve as the cumulative assignments within the course.
1). To carefully define and discuss the critical implications of constructing an argument. That is to look carefully at ethical interview practices, the critical selection of credible research evidence, and detailed attention to counter-argument.
2). To identify and analyze the rhetorical strategies at work within a primary text or research source and how those strategies connect to that text’s message and overall argument (function).
3). To identify and analyze the rhetorical strategies at work within one’s own writing and how those strategies connect to a message and overall argument (function).
4). To become skilled in crafting the organization, content, and mechanics of the argumentative research essay.
5). To become skilled in crafting the organization and content of the short documentary research argument.
Course Texts & Supplies:
1). English 306 Course Reader (to be purchased through the Professional Image copy center on King & University)
2). Composition Notebook
3). Notebook and Pencil for taking notes in class
4). Films (TBA)
Assignments & Grading:
There will be one short exploratory essay (3-4 pages) that will explore multiple aspects of an arguable research question.
There will be one final argumentative research essay (8-10 pages), which will accompany the final research film project.
There will be one short screenplay (2-3 pages) that will accompany the final research film project.
There will be one final documentary film due at the end of the course.
Along with each of the major assignments, you will also be responsible for completing 5 short informal reading responses to critical essays assigned in conjunction with the primary texts.