Argumentative Writing I

Every day we are inundated with multiple streams of
information in countless forms: online news channels, newspapers, social
networks, blogs, political satires and cartoons, and much more. We navigate
them constantly, but to what extent are we aware of how this information
affects us? Given there is no “neutral” statement, how attentive are we to the
way information is spun as it is communicated? Many consumers of information
profess to already be aware of and immune to the influence of media and
political debate, and at the same time unconsciously absorb and reproduce more
than they might think. This class is designed to prompt critical thinking and
writing about how communication is constructed, consciously and unconsciously,
in public scenes. Mainstream public and political discourses in the United
States are largely grounded in the traditions of Greco-Roman rhetorical
principles as they have been translated into the present, and so this tradition
will be our primary focus (but not the only welcome one). In this class, you
will have a chance to explore how those principles function, both in how local
and state issues are debated and also in how you implement them in your own
writing. The goals for the course are as follows:


1.  Students will develop
a more critical awareness of how various rhetorical principles function in
public forms of discourse;

2.  Students will practice
analyzing each writing situation and responding effectively according to
purpose, audience, and scope;

3.  Students will gain
experience selecting and using the rhetorical principles discussed in class
through various -writing assignments;

4.  Students will build
their writing experience and repertoire (and become more comfortable with the
writing process itself); and

5.  Students will expand
their understanding of their own rhetorical habits, as those habits are
grounded in community and identity.


Required Texts

Sharon, and Debra Hawhee. Ancient Rhetoric for Contemporary Students. 4th ed.
Pearson Longman Publishers, 2008.
ISBN-10: 0205574432


George, and Mark Johnson. Metaphors We Live By. 2nd ed. Chicago, IL: University
Chicago Press, 2003.
ISBN-10: 9780226468013


Supplemental materials will be provided
by the instructor. The textbooks are available at the UHM bookstore or online.



Given this is a writing intensive course, the grade will rest
primarily on the various formal and informal writing assignments, as well as on
a research journal/scrapbook, and participation in class and in peer writing
groups. The breakdown is as follows:


Writing Project 1:                                10%    

Writing Project 2:                                15%

Writing Project 3:                                 20%

Writing Project 4 (Final)                       20%    

Research Journal/Scrapbook              15%

Informal Writing Assignments              10%

Class Participation                               10%