WRD 104: Composition & Rhetoric II Rotating Header Image

Course Calendar

Please note that this calendar is designed to be flexible: we may make changes along the way, depending on your interests and the needs of the class. Should you miss a class, you are responsible for finding out what you missed from a classmate and for knowing about—and adjusting for—any calendar changes. Professional protocols and collegiality ask you to alert us if you’ll be missing on a day when we’re having a workshop or when you are scheduled to present materials.

 Week 1
“We Are What We Find, Not What We Search For”
Tuesday March 29  In class: Introductions, key terms, course goals:

  • Key terms
  • Key methods
    • summary
    • analysis
    • synthesis
    • integration — two forms: mechanical and rhetorical

At this point, it may be helpful to acknowledge a common academic distinction between argument and persuasion. In this view, the point of argument is to discover some version of the truth, using evidence and reasons. Argument of this sort leads audiences toward conviction, an agreement that a claim is true or reasonable, or that a course of action is desirable.”

“The aim of persuasion is to change a point of view or to move others from conviction to action. In other words, writers or speakers argue to discover some truth; they persuade when they think they already know it.”

Argument (discover a truth) —> conviction

Persuasion (know a truth) —> action

“In practice, this distinction between argument and persuasion can be hard to sustain. It’s unnatural for writers or readers to imagine their minds divided between a part that pursues truth and a part that seeks to persuade. And yet, you may want to reserve the term persuasion for writing that’s aggressively designed to change opinions through the use of both reason and other appropriate techniques. For writing that sets out to persuade at all costs, abandoning reason, fairness, and truth altogether, the term propaganda, with all its negative connotations, seems to fit, Some would suggest that advertising often works just as well.”

“But, as we’ve already suggested [invitational rhetoric], arguing isn’t always about winning or even about changing others’ views. In addition to invitational argument, another school of argument-called Rogerian argument, after the psychotherapist Carl Rogers-is based on finding common ground and establishing trust among those who disagree about issues, and on approaching audiences in nonthreatening ways. Writers who follow Rogerian approaches seek to understand the perspectives of those with whom they disagree, looking for “both/and” or “win/win” solutions (rather than “either/or” or “win/lose” ones) whenever possible. Much successful argument today follows such principles, consciously or not.” 

— From Andrea Lunsford, Everyone’s an Author 

Preview: Robinson, “Save Our Public Universities: In Defense of America’s Best Idea”

Advice: For most of us, college is the only time in our lives when we get to read and write and talk about ideas. Don’t squander it while you’re here.

Thursday March 31

Reading: Robinson, continued
In class: 
Robinson, continued
Due: 250-word handwritten journal entry

Background: Edmundson

 Week 2
Summary & Integration
Tuesday April 5

Reading: Robinson, continued
In class: 
Robinson, continued

Due: 250-word handwritten journal entry & Robinson Says/Does table — complete says/does for the final five paragraphs, beginning with “The most efficient system ever devised for the distribution of wealth is a meaningful wage.” (36)

Background: Shorris

Thursday April 7

NYT: When Whites Just Don’t Get It, Part 6

Due: NYT annotation

 Week 3
Is Reading an Act of Composing?
Tuesday April 12

Reading: Teaching Men to Be Emotionally Honest

… and a 60-90 second overview of an article of your choice, telling us why it is significant to you and why it should be significant to us

Due: 250-word handwritten journal entry

Thursday April 14

Reading: NYT, Bruni — Building a Better Father
In class: Previewing the Contextual Analysis Project

Due: 250-word handwritten journal entry, with special attention to your mindful reading practice:

… remain sensitive and aware to the kinds of reading you try to do and asking yourself, which reading approach will I employ first and why?

  • How far does this reading approach take me?
  • What does this reading approach allow me to notice in the text?
  • What must I ignore?
  • What meanings does this approach allow me to construct and what meanings does it prohibit?
 Week 4
From Text to Context
Individual Conferences: reading journals and inquiry questions
Tuesday April 19

Reading: Sunday Review and Page A1; “Sensitivity and Discourse,” Dennis H. Holtschneider’s Fr. Holtschneider’s Message to the university community.

Due: Inquiry-question possibilities for workshopping

Background: review in St. Martin’s Handbook

Thursday April 21 Reading: NYT, as assigned
In class: Workshopping Proposals
Due: Contextual Analysis Proposal & Map
 Week 5
Argument & Advocacy
Tuesday April 26

Reading: NYT TBA
In class: Library Workshop: focus on the hands-on searching aspect so that you can get personalized help during the session. 

  • 9:40 section meets in the Library, room #109
  • 1:00 section meets in the Library, room #110
Thursday April 28

Reading: NYT TBA
In class: Writing workshop and Stasis Theory & Practice
Due: Contextual Analysis Draft #1

Review in St. Martin’s Handbook:

  • 10: Preparing for a Research Project
  • 11: Conducting Research
  • 12: Evaluating Sources and Taking Notes
  • 12c Evaluating usefulness and credibility
  • 13: Integrating sources into your writing
 Week 6
Truth-seeking behavior vs. Bullshit: 
Writing with a Method, Perspective, and Authority
Tuesday May 3

Reading: NYT Stop Saying ‘I Feel Like’
In class: Contextual Analysis Writing Workshop — paragraphs; visual & logistical coherence

Due: Dialogic Reading Journal entry #6: Stop Saying ‘I Feel Like’ — phenomenologically or more critically/rhetorically — the assumption here being that you might get two different meanings depending on your approach

Review Contextual Analysis Scoring Guide

Thursday May 5

Reading: NYT TBA
In class: Peer Reviews
Due: Contextual Analysis Draft #2 —

  • Mark every paragraph with a [P] [I] [E]
  • Highlight your potential wolf sentence
Sunday  May 8th  Due by midnight: Editorial Peer Reviews
 Week 7
Proofreading, Editing, and one-on-one conferences
Tuesday May 10

Reading: NYT, as assigned
In class: Contextual Analysis Writing Workshop: Proofreading

  • Are sources integrated with rhetorical and mechanical sophistication?
  • Are paragraphs fully developed and have transitions?
  • Has the essay been proofread for clarity & correctness?
  • Works cited: formatting and accuracy
Thursday May 12 Reading: NYT TBA

Due: Contextual Analysis Draft #3 — proofreading version, with Informational Abstract and self-assessment scoring guide

 Week 8
Persuasive Essays
Tuesday May 17

Reading: Why Are the Highly Educated So Liberal? 

For your Dialogic Reading journal entry (250 words +/-) for Tuesday:

  • can you identify any means/mechanisms of persuasion in this essay?
  • can you imagine any common ground/stasis-type prompts for class discussion?
  • where does this piece fit in my ongoing argument that we live in an anti-intellectual culture and country?

In class: Persuasive Writing Workshop

Thursday May 19

Reading: NYT TBA
In class: Persuasive Writing Workshop:

“A speaker persuades an audience by the use of stylistic identifications; the act of persuasion may be for the purpose of causing the audience to identify itself with the speaker’s interests; and the speaker draws on identification of interests to establish rapport between herself or himself and the audience.” — Kenneth Burke, A Rhetoric of Motives.

Identification, Burke reminds us, occurs when people share some principle in common — that is, when they establish common ground. Persuasion should not begin with absolute confrontation and separation but with the establishment of common ground, from which differences can be worked out. That is the point of our work with stasis.

  • But also, how can you ask people to care?

Due: Persuasive Essay draft #1

 Week 9
Tuesday May 24 Reading: NYT TBA
In class: Persuasive Writing Workshop
Thursday May 26 Reading: NYT TBA
Persuasive, final draft

Preview: Digital Writing Portfolios

 Week 10
Tuesday May 31

Reading: “A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.” – Arthur Miller, 1961
In class: Portfolio editing workshop

Due: Dialogic Reading Journal #10: Brainstorm 2-3 occasions or examples where critical thinking played a role in your writing process, which can happen in any number of possible places: class discussions; contextual-analysis issue selection; reading; research; drafting, revising, or editing. 

Thursday June 2

In class: Portfolio workshop

Due: Writing about Writing: A Synthesis & Reflective Essay draft


Extra portfolio office hours:
    • Sunday, June 5th, 1:00-3:00 p.m. (300 SAC)
    • Monday June 6th, 10:00a.m.-2:00 p.m.
    • Tuesday June 7th, 10:00a.m.-2:00 p.m.
 Finals Week

Final Exam Week

We will meet during our assigned Final Exam time for the final, official delivery of your WRD104 Portfolios and Dialogic Reading Journals:

9:40 section:  Thursday, June 9, 8:30 AM to 10:45 AM

1:00 section: Thursday, June 09, 11:30 AM to 1:45 PM