Argumentative Writing II



Course Overview:

Argumentation—the art of
convincing others to believe and to act on that belief—occurs across a wide
range of sites: at work, at church, in the home, at school, in mass media, and
in social organizations agitating for change. Within and across these sites,
the possible forms of argumentation also cut a wide swath, from the verbal to
the visual, from print-based flyers to database-driven websites and social
networking forums. Despite such ranges, however, there are identifiable genres
of argumentative writing, some of which fit well with particular sites of
argumentation and some of which do not. (When was the last time you saw a
bumper sticker suggesting a dress code? Or a letter-to-the-editor encouraging
you to drink a particular brand of soda?)


In this course, we will
explore primary strategies of persuasion and styles of writing as they are
related to specific sites of argumentation. We will do this by reading and
talking about genres, media, and contexts of persuasion, and we will put such
learning into practice by writing for particular, identifiable sites in which
argumentation comes into play; preferably students will produce written arguments
for real-world sites that they are interested in—such as social organizations
or workplace settings.



  • Short Papers  (30/100) Approximately once per week, and mostly
    during the first two thirds of the course, you will be required to write a
    short, semi-formal “paper” as a way to process the readings and
    discussions; each of these will be posted to a digital forum for other
    students to read and comment on.
  • Mini Rhetorical Analysis (20/100) Your first formal assignment in
    the course will be a 1000-word traditional academic essay, in which you
    rhetorically analyze a particular community’s discursive practices,
    looking specifically at key appeals from classical rhetoric and
    fundamental elements from contemporary genre studies and multimodal rhetorical
  • Real-World Persuasive Document (40/100) In teams of two or three,
    you will produce a (digital or hardcopy) document (or set of documents)
    that responds to a need for rhetorically situated persuasion.
  • Team Presentation (10/100) You will present and lead a class
    discussion on your team’s “real world persuasive document.” 


Required Texts:

We will collaboratively
compile a collection of readings for this course; some will be brought in by
the instructor, and students will be responsible for bringing some in.  Many, if not all, will be available online,
either in HTML or PDF form.