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Dec 6th

Page history last edited by Jared 10 years, 11 months ago

On Deck:

  • Quick tip based on project 4/5 (audio) feedback
  • Starting your about the author page for project 6
  • Response 15 (draft of your last section for project 6) 



      QUICK TIP 

Putting Together an About the Author page:

Representing Writing and Learning


When we say “habits of mind,” we mean such qualities as: curiosity, flexibility, tolerance for ambiguity, precision in analysis, argumentation as deliberation, self-reflection… all the essentials for beginning to see rhetoric and beginning to apply it…

--the Truthitician


In this class, writing is not only an end product—something that you read or produce—but also an activity that allows you to leave this class better equipped to think through a set of complicated issues, to reflect on writing, research, reading, argument, rhetoric and persuasion as activities that capture your mind at work even as it allows your mind to do its work. 


In the process, you will learn something about the ways that many scholars think through complicated issues, and the ways YOU can examine your own thinking more carefully, share your ideas and experiences with others, and make different kinds of arguments based on your evolving perspectives and understandings. 


Inventing Project 6:

The New Writing (part 2/10%) component of project 6 is reflective writing about:

  1. you (your own thoughts on your personal growth/development as a writer and reader),
  2. your writing and its progress in this course (offering us evidence on your changing procedures/practices and concepts for researching, analyzing, writing, and arguing),
  3. and your understanding of rhetoric and writing in relation to the public sphere and/or your progress as a thinker/writer/researcher in university.


1) Writing about You:

The goal of a Literacy Autobiography is to help students reflect on their experiences as a literate person.  How did they learn to write?  How did they learn to read?  How do they feel about school and learning?  How did this evolve?  What teachers and/or events helped shape them into the “literate” person they are today?  This section should be roughly one-two pages, largely focused on the past.


2) Writing about Your Writing:

Turn your attention to the work you have done so far this term and select from that work at least two examples that represent your present habits of mind, your ability and your learning.  Write a short argument that analyzes your writing as a representation of how you have come to understand the work of writing as a rhetorical process.   Give us examples of where you made changes from a draft to a final draft.  Pull out citations from your previous work and comment on what procedural knowledge (writing processes)  helped or what conceptual knowledge (rhetorical tools) helped.  Give us two to three examples of important changes you made and tell us why these matter for a developing writer. 


            As you select work for this final project, consider carefully how you will demonstrate this reflection.  Your reflection on work you have done over the course of the term is for an audience that will include both me (the truthitician) who has been with you through the term and other English teachers familiar with this course but not with you or your work.  What you select as representative will not necessarily be the same as what your classmates select, but you will want to show something of the quality, consistency, and range of work you have done.  


           Activity:  Today you might chose to begin this section by making some revisions on project 3 or 4/5, both of which you recently received feedback on from your me, and from your peers.  Your task should be to tell an audience of teachers how you are re-conceptualizing your writing (what rhetorical concepts are you thinking through as you revise/improve your thinking/writing -- there will likely be several below) and what procedures/processes you are working through (taking and using feedback in this case, and revising content).  You might compare this revision process with your initial drafting, inventing, researching, processes -- and invoke the concepts that mattered most to you at that stage of writing.  Both of these could generate two or three strong paragraphs for this section of project six.

Writing Tools/Concepts


Purpose: discovering it, inventing it, refining it, revising it...

Two widespread “Genres”:

        • argument (definition arguments, evaluation arguments, proposal arguments)
  • analysis (rhetorical analysis of ads/marketing techniques, and of popular book-length arguments)




Writing Processes:

  • Distinguishing between writing tasks in a PROCESS that includes:
    • Pre-writing/Drafting/Revising/Editing/Proofreading... and often more of the same
  • Rhetorical Invention (invention activities and questions)
  • Arrangement (common organizational forms/structures, argument structures, an arrangement for your argument that is the creation of your logos)
  • Style (deploying persuasive strategies, establishing strong claims, solid formatting, working for effective mechanics and grammar)
  • Memory/Delivery: (Presenting your work in forms suitable for feedback, presenting your work in well-designed online forums)

Research and Research Questions

  • analyzing texts rhetorically (project 2)
  • looking for high-ethos texts and authors
  • critically using sources for our arguments 
  • responding to/arguing with sources 
  • developing research questions 

Persuasion tools


The Semester's POWER TOOLS:


The Rhetorical Triangle 
LOGOS (idea, message)
PATHOS (force, emotion)  ETHOS (form, manner)


Every communication is essentially a trilateral relationship.  Each point of the triangle

influences the others, and all are influenced by the context of the communication.  Each point

of the triangle bears some responsibility for the success of the communication, and each

point of the triangle corresponds with one of Aristotle's three appeals (i.e., general means of persuasion). 


Three Appeals:





Rational Appeals (logos) Emotional Appeals (pathos) Ethical Appeals (ethos)

appeal to logical reasoning ability of readers

  • facts
  • case studies
  • statistics
  • experiments
  • logical reasoning
  • analogies
  • anecdotes
  • authority voices

appeal to beliefs and feelings
higher emotions

  • belief in fairness
  • love
  • pity
  • etc.

lower emotions

  • greed
  • lust
  • revenge
  • avaricious
  • etc. 

sense you (author) gives as being compentent/fair/authority

  • trustworthiness
  • credibility
  • reliablity
  • expert testimony
  • reliable sources
  • fairness 

    Think of how one speaks to an opponent: For example on the floor of the Senate in hearted debate the speaker would refer to "My honorable opponent." This is why one refers to the "manner of delivery."

Stasis Procedures/Question: the most common 'resting points' in argument: the commonplace

'ways' of developing lines of reasoning and arranging thought:  







Dissoi-Logoi (establishing and working through counter-arguments, at least two positions start every argument)


Enthymemes (finding claims, thinking through how they’re constructed, and their relationships with other claims)


Exigence“an imperfection marked by urgency; it is a defect, an obstacle, something waiting to be done, a thing which is other than it should be.”  Simply, exigence is something that happens which gives rise to a need for communication.  Exigence can be something as basic as someone being late for a meeting or as complex as a dispute between election results.


Specialty Tools:

Fallacies: fun! (for some)

Synecdoche: is a type of metaphor in which the part stands for the whole, the whole for a part,

eutripismus or enumeratiodetailing parts, causes, effects, or consequences to make a point more forcibly

common ground

phronesis - Appeal to practical skills & wisdom (set up your proposal as being practical or a middle ground that differs significanly from others more extreme options.  Note, that this middle way often requires some patience and wisdom...then describe why your proposal is the wise choice in this case)

arete - Appeal to virtue, goodness (Do you need to appeal directly to ethical inclinations in people? Is your proposal the means to an end that will be GOOD for people suffering?   People will likely call you an idealist, or see your proposal as ideal, but remind them that it is through an appeal to habitual acts of good that change often comes...and that any virtue is instilled in people.  Try to suggest that your proposal is not an isolated act of virtue but part of a system or process of doing good that continues and is fueled by their "good" actions.

eunoia -- goodwill towards the audience.  This really means showing an act of goodwill yourself.  Is your proposal itself an act of goodwill...if so...show us it in action and let it speak for itself.


3) Writing about Rhetoric:


What is rhetoric?


REACHING OUT                             or      SELLING stuff with MEGAphones



When we think of all the "rhetoric" surrounding us in the forms of public discourse we've encountered this semester (ads, campaigns, essays, books, web pages, academic research, debates... all communication that is rhetoric in the classical sense of being INVENTED, ARRANGED, STYLED, DELIVERED, REMEMBERED), what (now) do we think about the possibility of "truth" or THE SEPARATION OF TRUTH AND RHETORIC?  


Opening questions:

Is it desirable or worthwhile to try and seperate truth and rhetoric? Is it possible?  How?  What tools do you have?


How important is "good" rhetoric in the practical day-to-day work of building productive knowledge we can use to build an ethical, equitable, and just society? 


What is changing about "us" (humans) as our ideas/thought/communications at the present moment?  Are our rhetorical publics commodified, politicized, well-educated?  Are our rhetorics improving/devolving in this virtual world we live in?  





Response 15 will help you generate this third section for your about the author page.



  • Intro to The History and Theory of Rhetoric, by James Herrick -- this provides an 'introduction to rhetoric' suitable to our conclusions about rhetoric in this introductory course.
  • Intro to George Saunders' Braindead Megaphone: saunders-braindead.pdf and Sheffield's on not dealing with reality, (these readings contain profanities, rants, and some incoherent gibberish...you know... the stuff from the "mere rhetoric" we tend to hear everyday)


Responses should be no less than one page double spaced.  The following are all related response prompts that can help you generate more material for project 6, part II.).  You don't have to answer all of them.


  1. Develop a claim about "information" "rhetoric" and the living braindead:  After reading Saunders and Sheffield, write a response that considers your personal relationships/experiences with "the Braindead Megaphone".  Your inital purpose is to consider yourself as someone who is an increasingly savy reader of "texts" on the web, someone who is learning to see the "good and bad" of concepts and traditions like "rhetoric" or "argument" or "analysis" and who is able to contrast these to "not dealing with reality" or to "the braindead microphone". Use this topic as a starting point for building your ethos in a world that is saturated and coded with persuasive forms of "information". 
  2. You can also broaden your self-reflection by asking some of the bigger questions that have come up this term:  How important is "good" rhetoric in the practical day-to-day work of building knowledge we can use to build an ethical, equitable, and just society? How entangled are truth and rhetoric?  When is this troublesome?  And, just as importantly, if they're almost always entangled, when or how can this be a positive thing? 
  3. You could compare this response to your initial thoughts on rhetoric in your first few responses.  Howe have they changed?  What significance to you see in rhetoric shaping our lives?  How important is it to be able to see rhetoric in action? Or, to use it yourself?
  4. In Saunders' article, his concern is that "the braindead microphone" (or media rhetoric) has negative tendencies to take us toward bad decisions, particularly war.  Since this was published in 2003, a fairly dark time leading up to war, comment on what positive potential you see in the rhetoric of popular media (or new media) by comparison, and note you or your friends' relationships to this more positive rhetoric. 
  5. Compare the rhetoric of popular culture to your new experiences with the rhetorics of academia...

Consider this as a draft for part of project six.  Post your draft on Response 15





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