Argumentative Writing I

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 (including a particular emphasis on Asian 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 their own rhetorical analyses of new social media, making their own 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.

Students will write a major research paper in which they will analyze the ways contemporary issues and controversies are debated and discussed in emerging social media arenas such as Buzz, Twitter, and Facebook, taking into consideration how these fora interact with more traditional online sources of information and debate such as amateur blogs and on-line journalism.

Course requirements:

short papers, one major research paper

Course readings:

will be made available to students via Laulima