Argumentative Writing

This course is about learning to speak up (orally and in writing), as well as about learning to listen inside the conversations (oral and written) that matter most to us. 

All of our work will be framed inside explorations of and reflections on “ethics of engagement” – i.e., how we can engage productively with others and with beliefs and values that sometimes come into conflict. You will have the opportunity to identify topics that are important to you but that you have not yet found a way to navigate due to the conflicts that drive discussion on those topics (e.g., environmental crises, species extinction, land rights, racism, sexism, etc.). You’ll have the chance to study the arguments that are being made and the beliefs that are working behind them with regard to the topic(s) you choose. And, you’ll try to find a way forward. To accomplish these goals, you will be given opportunities to explore and test (within the controlled and safe environment of our class) modes of engagement that might be deployed in conversations that you are a part of beyond the walls of our classroom.

By the end of the semester, I hope you will have a stronger sense of what options are available to you in participating in important conversations (oral and written), as well as what writing practices and ways of thinking about writing work for you.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs): By the end of this course, you should be able to do the following:

  1. Demonstrate rhetorical awareness by writing in ways that are appropriate to particular purposes, contexts, and audiences.
  2. Demonstrate ability to adapt (and create) modes of engagement and stylistic conventions to differing rhetorical purposes, contexts, and audiences.
  3. Demonstrate understanding of the main concerns and practices of rhetoric: examining belief and negotiating across difference in order to move forward, together.