Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Minor Analysis Paper #2

Minor Analysis Paper #2 (2-3 pages, 5 points)
Due: January 29

Part I: Argument/Counter-Argument

Analyze two competing arguments (two different positions/articles) surrounding your issue, briefly answering each question. Part I: Toulmin. What is/are his/her 1) claims? His/Her 2) support? and His/Her 3) warrants (think about proofs, here, ethos, logos, and pathos)? Be sure to provide examples from the text to support your claims. I’m particularly interested in your analysis of his/her warrants, the assumptions that underlie his/her argument(s).

Part II: Value Hierarchies
Apply Perelman’s model to the same competing arguments. Think in terms of the author’s imagined audience, the people he/she is trying to persuade. (You may or may not consider yourself part of that audience.) What does he/she present as 1) facts or truths that his/her argument rests on? 2) What audience assumptions does he/she rely on? 3) What values does he/she, uh, value? 4) How would he/she arrange his/her hierarchy of values? 5) What loci (or locus) does he/she employ? Do your best, here, as you work with these different concepts. The point of this essay is to try and get at the key components of each argument so you know how to enter the conversation.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Seattle PI Post

Post for Seattle PI:
Two words that summarize what Barack Obama’s inauguration means to me are: inclusion and tolerance. Over the past few years it has been increasingly difficult to have conversations about important social and political issues with family members and friends. I stayed away from discussions that I knew would make people angry, discussions that might result in conflicted relationships. However, I longed for opportunities to dialogue about a range of ideas and it seemed that I only found conference with those holding similar political orientations.

So the coming inauguration gestures toward willingness to reengage risky conversations. In fact, I recently talked with a family member about Obama’s presidency, and he commented that “we will have to see what happens”. I agree, and I am glad at least for this measure of openness.


Hollihan, Thomas A. and Kevin T. Baaske. Arguments and Arguing: The Products and Process of Human Decision Making. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994.

Foss, Sonja K. Rhetorical Criticism: Exploration and Practice. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, 2004, 2008.

Foss, Sonja K. "Equal Rights Amendment Controversy: Two Worlds in Conflict." The Quarterly Journal of Speech 65 (1979): 275-88.

Major Analysis Paper

Major Analysis Project: 25 points
CMJR 320/Persuasive Writing
Rough Draft Due: February 3
Final Draft Due: February 12

Your Major Analysis Project should demonstrate your meta-knowledge of the course content. We focused so far this quarter on the various methods that writers/speakers can use in order to "persuade" their audiences to act, think, believe, and feel in particular ways.

For this project, you are conducting an extended analysis of an issue currently of concern to our culture or society. YOUR POSITION or OPINION, however, is not part of this assignment. Rather, you're concerned primarily with exploring 8 - 10 "texts" (verbal, visual, multimedia, etc.) that in some way address this particular issue. You do not need to get only texts that "argue" about the issue; you might also get a political cartoon or commercial that invokes aspects of the issue. Your 8 - 10 texts will help you to establish arguments, positions, and roles (defining the rhetorical situation) for your issue, demonstrating that the issue does, indeed, exist and is, indeed, relevant at this time.

The majority of your analysis, however, will focus on no more than four (4) of those texts, and you will do a complete rhetorical analysis of these four texts, paying attention to issues we discussed in class. Your goal is to demonstrate how these texts function rhetorically and why; you should also note when the texts seem to "fail" or "contradict" themselves or when their persuasive strategies are in jeopardy.

In this project, you are merely exploring HOW the arguments around your issue get made, WHO makes them, WHY they make them, and to WHAT EFFECT these arguments are made. Do NOT include your opinions.

Final Projects should be at least six (6) pages in length and should not exceed ten (10) pages. Be sure to include a Works Cited page of the various articles/artifacts you cite/use in your analysis.

For this paper, please use four steps in your analysis outlined by Sonja Foss in her book Rhetorical Criticism:

Introduction (1/2 page): This is where you introduce your argument, stating your thesis clearly, and develop your justification for analysis of the particular artifact and/or issue chosen. Why does your artifact warrant analysis? Does the artifact have a large audience? Is the persuasive appeal unique? Is the persuasion part of a larger social pattern you wish to investigate? The four tenets of rhetoric should help you get at your justification for analysis. What advice is offered? Who is being addressed? What are the needs or the situation that bring this rhetoric into being? How is this meaning created and performed (i.e., style)?

History: Provide a brief background (1-2 paragraphs) of the artifact or issue your analyzing so we have some context to understand your criticism. Tell us about your speaker or about your issue and how she/he or it progressed through history. Foss provides a brief introduction to the Equal Rights Amendment in one of her papers, for example, but spends the bulk of her historical discussion in her analysis.

Analysis (4-5): Essentially, you’re identifying arguments within the text that support your overall thesis. Remember to provide specific examples from your artifact/text(s) to support what you’re saying; this means quoting from your messages, and then leading your audience through your interpretation of what sort of response this excerpt invites or seeks, and how it seems to be inviting or seeking that particular response.

Foss works with two perspectives of proponents and opponents to the ERA to discuss different rhetorical visions. For the proponents she crafts a vision of a grass-roots scene, effort, and people, where women are “standing at the gates of democracy” (135) and need support for this new entry into public life. Foss also argues that proponents of the ERA craft opponents as conservative, “evil,” and narrow-minded. Comparatively, she presents the opponents worldview “as it centers around the home” (141). Opponents also see supporters of the ERA as abnormal: militant, aggressive, masculine, and hateful of family and children.

Conclusion and Implications (1-2 pages): The conclusion is the “So what?” section. Wrap up your analysis by restating your argument and what we now understand as a result of your analysis. What are the key arguments? Where are possible places to enter into dialogue with advocates? What seem like impossible or irrelevant issues to debate?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Minor Analysis Paper #1

Minor Analysis Paper #1(1-2 pages): summarizing arguments and positions
Part One: Working with the "Template for Introducing an Ongoing Debate" (TS/IS, p. 24), summarize an ongoing debate of your chosen issue, topic, or case. In your summary of the debate, introduce (that is, briefly describe as neutrally as possible) at least four of the key participants' positions on the issue. You will need to read several articles (3-4) on the issue to get a sense of the debate (e.g., news articles, editorials, etc.).

Part Two: Choose one article for the second part of this paper:
1) Write a 100-word summary of the author’s argument, using as neutral language as possible. 2) Write a 100-word analysis, reading as a believer; suspend your skepticism, try to see things from the author’s point of view, attribute good faith to his/her motives, and try to hear what he/she is saying. 3) Write a 100-word analysis, reading as a doubter; bring all your natural skepticism to bear, questioning his/her values, assumptions, motives, and evidence. 4) Finally, write a 100-word analysis of the rhetorical situation. Who is the author? What needs prompted the author to write the article/essay? To what conversations is he/she responding? What constraints does he/she write under? How does your knowledge of the author and the publication affect your reading of the essay?
Please post your paper to your blog and bring a copy to class, January 15.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Minor Analysis Papers, Daily Homework, and Minor Persuasive Papers

Daily Assignment #1 (200-250 words):
In a single paragraph, first summarize very briefly (in a couple of sentences) what argument authors Graff and Birkenstein make about academic writing in the introduction to their text, They Say/I Say; then summarize very briefly (again, in a couple of sentences) what you take my argument to be about rhetoric in my Course Description of CMJR 320; and finally, in a few sentences, discuss what overlap might exist between their argument about academic writing and my argument about rhetoric. Please post to your blog before class, January 8th.