RHE 306: Rhetoric and Writing
This course is grounded in the rhetorical analysis of "controversies," broadly defined. It is divided into three units, each one requiring some sort of outside research. The first two units are devoted to rhetorical analysis; they are mostly descriptive and allow students to become familiar with what is being said and how. The third unit is devoted to advocacy; having become familiar with the controversy, students now take a position within it and produce an informed argument for that position.
Describing a controversy and mapping the various positions within it
In this unit, students detail the history of their controversy, map out the central positions held in regard to it, examine the stakes of each position, and explore the ways in which the positions are interrelated (dependent on one another). The major assignment for this unit requires analysis and description, not evaluation or argumentation.
Analyzing a position within a controversy
In this unit, students will analyze a specific position within their chosen controversy. After summarizing what the writer says, noting the central claims and key evidence, students will analyze how the argument is put together as well as why the writer has made specific rhetorical choices. Students may also discover and describe significant disagreements among others who advocate this same position. The major assignment for this unit requires analysis and description, not evaluation or argumentation.
Advocating a position within a controversy
In this unit, students situate themselves within the "map" of the controversy that they have constructed and produce an argument that advocates a particular position using the persuasive strategies analyzed and studied throughout the semester.