Composition III: Rhetorical Argument(s)

Salisbury University | Fall 2016 | T/TH 5.30-6:45pm | dr. t. nicole campbell


about | goals | materials | policies | schedule | projects

dr. t. nicole campbell
office: HH 351
office hours: m,w 10-noon + T/TH 10-noon
or happily by appointment

course description

"Insofar as the individual is involved in conflict with other individuals or groups, the study of this same individual would fall under the head of Rhetoric. . . . The Rhetoric must lead us through the Scramble, the Wrangle of the Market Place, the flurries and flare-ups of the Human Barnyard, the Give and Take, the wavering line of pressure and counterpressure, the Logomachy, the onus of ownership, the War of Nerves, the War."

--Kenneth Burke

"Rhetoric is the art which seeks to capture in opportune moments that which is appropriate and attempts to suggest that which is possible."

--John Poulakos

"The study of rhetoric is the study of how we use language and its systems and how language and its systems use us."

--prof c.

This is a writing-intensive course which uses rhetoric--its history, framework, and theory-- to learn and practice argument. We will focus on the five canons of classical rhetoric: invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. We will learn Aristotle's appeals: Ethos, Pathos, Logos. We will touch on Rogerian argument, the Toulmin Method, Stasis Theory, and Style as the force of our language. The course is designed to give you PRACTICE in many areas of rhetoric. To this end, we will spend our time together *doing*, *practicing*, and *sharing* our work. You will try on many different kinds of arguments, styles, language, and sentences. By the end, you should have a firm grasp not only of rhetorical concepts, but of rhetorical practices you can take with you into other classes, jobs, and relationships.

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Working Drafts | WD: Your own writing representative of the topics covered in class.
Everything’s an Argument. by Andrea Lundsford. 6th or 7th Edition.
Style: 10 Lessons of Clarity and Grace by Joseph Williams.Ninth Edition.
Supplemental Texts will be provided by me and you
$$/Printed copies of your own drafts or texts
HARD COPIES (not: digital) of every text we discuss are mandatory. Please print and bring to class.

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Course Policies


You make this class what it is: your voice, your thoughts, your energy, your smile, your enthusiasm, your work. To this end, there are many ways to participate in class. The most obvious one is to contribute substantially to discussion every day, and I do expect that for most people in class, this will be the case. I expect you to speak at least once each class and to respectfully listen to me and your classmates during discussions. Your phones will be off. It might help you to think of this as a casual business meeting where you’re hoping to network with colleagues and impress your boss. I reserve the right to mark you absent if you don’t follow these guidelines. Participating in class also means speaking up in small group discussions and workshops, listening and taking notes attentively, and so on. If you are a quiet student and would like to talk to me about strategies for speaking up in class, please do so! I’m happy to help however I can.

Simply being present in class does not guarantee a strong participation grade (in fact, attending and occasionally contributing to discussion is equivalent to a C participation grade), but attentively contributing to our class in the ways I mentioned above, both in-person and online, does. Similarly, being inattentive or disruptive (doing other work or texting in class) or tardy will hurt your participation grade. If I see you doing other work or using your cell phone in class, I will make a note of this and your participation for that day will be marked down. I will not call you out on this in class—it is your responsibility to pay attention to the work we are doing together every Tuesday and Thursday.


As this course is designed to be more of a workshop than a lecture, it is crucial that you attend all class sessions. You are allowed a total of three absences before your final grade will be affected. Each absence beyond three is a five point grade deduction. You are the person responsible for finding out what you may have missed if you are absent and for keeping your reading and writing assignments current. You will be marked absent for each class that you come to unprepared. Coming in late and leaving early are one-half absence deductions as well. If you are not physically present (in class) the class period an assignment is due, I will not accept your assignments. I will not accept emailed assignments if you do not attend class.

**I will give pop quizzes from time-to-time. Do the reading!


I do not accept late papers or assignments.  You must be physically present in class for me to accept your papers. If you think that you cannot meet a deadline, please see me AT LEAST TWO CLASS PERIODS BEFORE an assignment is due.


Papers are due at the beginning of the class period.  If you are late to class the day a major paper is due, you will receive a five point penalty on your paper.

Plagiarism: The English Department takes plagiarism, the unacknowledged use of other people’s ideas, very seriously indeed. As outlined in the Student Handbook under the “Policy on Student Academic Integrity,” plagiarism may receive such penalties as failure on a paper or failure in the course. The Department’s Plagiarism Committee determines the appropriate penalty in each case, but bear in mind that the committee recognizes that plagiarism is a very serious academic offense and makes its decisions accordingly.

Each of the following constitutes plagiarism:
1. Turning in as your own work a paper or part of a paper that anyone other than you wrote. This would include but is not limited to work taken from another student, from a published author, or from an Internet contributor.
2. Turning in a paper that includes unquoted and/or undocumented passages someone else wrote.
3. Including in a paper someone else’s original ideas, opinions or research results without attribution.
4. Paraphrasing without attribution.

A few changes in wording do not make a passage your property. As a precaution, if you are in doubt, cite the source. Moreover, if you have gone to the trouble to investigate secondary sources, you should give yourself credit for having done so by citing those sources in your essay and by providing a list of Works Cited or Works Consulted at the conclusion of the essay. In any case, failure to provide proper attribution could result in a severe penalty and is never worth the risk.

*You may be required to submit any papers to the academic honesty service or safeassign to receive credit for the paper. This requirement will be discussed in class.

Disability Statement

Special Assistance: Salisbury University offers support services for students with disabilities. If you have a physical, learning, or emotional impairment that has an effect on your grades, please call Disability Support Services at 410-543-6080.

Any student who feels that they may require an accommodation in this course, based on the impact of a disability, should contact me as soon as possible to arrange for a meeting to coordinate any and all accommodations. Any student who wishes to contact the Office of Student Disability Support Services, for further information, should do so by: calling 410-677-6536 (voice) or 410-543-6083 (TTY); emailing; or visiting Guerrieri University Center, Room 263.


Please do not use cell phones, laptops, ipads, ipods, gaming equipment, or even fancy watches during our classtime, unless I specify otherwise. I am asking you to be fully present during each and every one of our class meetings. If I see you on your cell phone, laptop etc. during undesignated times, I will mark you absent. I will not say anything nor call you out, I will simply mark you absent for that day. There are no exceptions to this rule.


Journals + Daily Writings (graded as check, check plus, check minus): 15
Class notetaker: 5
Workshop/Peer review participation: 4
Daily discussion participation: 10
Paper #1: Rhetorical Analysis: 10
Paper #2: Stasis + Refutation:10
Paper #3: Rhetorical Argument:15
Paper #4: Collaborative Proposal: 8
Final Exam: 15
Facts Based Argument: 2
Definition Argument: 2
Toulmin Analysis: 2
Logical Fallacy argument: 2

TOTAL: 100 points

A = 94 – 100 points
A- = 90 – 92 points
B+ = 88 – 89 points
B = 83 – 87 points
B- = 80 – 82 points
C+ = 78 – 79 points
C = 73 – 77 points
C- = 70 – 72 points
D = 60 – 69 points
F = below 60 points


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Week 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | finals



30 Aug | Course Introduction

In-class essay + discussion: evaluating an argument. Introduction to rhetoric, rhetorical analysis and summary, intro to analyzing texts in EA, chapter 1 (terms: rhetorical triangle, purpose, audience, kairos, rhetorical canons, aristotelian appeals). Introduction to Style, Williams' Lesson 1 "Understanding Style"


1 Sept | Rhetorical Analysis

Assign Rhetorical Analysis Essay, Rhetorical terms, Go over chapter 6 in EA


  • Read: Chapter 1 and Chapter 6 in EA
  • Write: Journal Summary/Questions || Locate and bring in 2 editorials that are written about a something of interest to you. 1. Write a summary of each of the editorials and 2. For one editorial, answer the bulleted questions on page 115 in EA in paragraph form. You must use textual support (examples from the text) to support your answers. For the other editorial, please write a paragraph after the summary describing its purpose and rhetorical situation. Turn in the editorials and word-processed formatted journal entries at the end of class.


WEEK 2 | Rhetorical Analysis


6 Sept |

Aristotelian Appeals, Style in Arguments, Outside sources and the Rhetorical Analysis essay


  • Read: EA, Chapters 2-4 Pathos, Ethos, Logos pp. 30-72
  • Read: EA, chapter 13 "Style in Arguments" pp. 309-326
  • Read: Williams’ “Lesson 2: Correctness”
  • Review: Williams' "Lesson 1: Understanding Style"
  • Journal Kairos and the Rhetorical Situation: Locate and bring in a (photocopied or actual) at least two op/ed articles of interest for the analysis essay. For one of the articles, provide a summary of the article, explain the kairos of the article (context, urgency, whose interests are at stake, and power dynamics represented), and audience of the piece (1 page). For the other article, give a summary and analyze it for at least 10 stylistic and grammatical strategies covered in EA, Style “Lesson 2.” For each strategy reference the correlating textual example from the op/ed piece. Staple both of the op/ed articles to their respective analyses (1 full page for each editorial analysis).

8 Sept |

Oral defense of op/ed selection and outside sources


  • Select an op/ed piece to analyze for the rhetorical analysis paper.
  • Read: EA, Chapter 21 (?) "Documenting Sources in MLA format"
  • Journal Outside Sources: Bring in 3 potential sources that either provide context for the piece you are analyzing or are about the same topic you are analyzing. Put the source in 2016 MLA format and write at least two sentences per outside source to demonstrate why these outside sources provide kairos of the argument. Explain why the source is credible.


WEEK 3 | Rhetorical Analysis cont.


13 Sept |

Analysis + Synthesis, Style Lesson 4: "Characters"


  • Read: Williams' Lesson 4 "Characters"
  • Journal Content + Style Arguments: Construct 2 arguments about your selection, one for style and one for content. For the content argument, discuss the stasis [EA pp. 18-21] (the kind) of argument being made and the appeals used throughout the argument, quoting from the text. For the style argument, draw from the style characteristics discussed in Williams, EA, our course documentArchive, and from our class discussions. Finally, in a paragraph, answer how do each of these arguments inform each other?

15 Sept |

Crafting a rhetorical analysis: Thesis, support, and arrangement. Activity in class: write what you did last weekend the opposite of Williams' notion of STYLE


  • Read: Williams' Lesson 5: "Cohesion and Clarity"
  • Journal Content + Style Examples: Make two lists, one that references all of the content elements of the op/ed piece you have chosen to analyze, and one that references all of the stylistic elements of the op/ed piece you have chosen to analyze


WEEK 4 | Rhetorical Analyis cont + Workshop


20 Sept |


22 Sept | Peer review


  • By 3pm Monday to myclasses (the night before our class), please turn in your most revised version of your rhetorical analysis. I will pick 1 or 2 to workshop as a class.


WEEK 5 | Begin Unit 2 (Stasis + Refutation)


27 Sept |

Class writing workshop

Sunday 10/2: FINAL DRAFT of RHETORICAL ANALYSIS due to myclasses. YAY!


29 Sept | No class // Profesor at Cultural Rhetoric(s) Conference

But :: (You still have something) DUE:

  • Read: Williams' Lesson 6: "Emphasis"
  • Read: EA, Chapter 7 "Structuring Arguments."
  • Find and Journal: A sample op/ed piece that is of significance to you from your college, local, or a favorite national newspaper. Ideally, this should be something you can argue with or that you may disagree with already. This should also be the piece you continue to analyze through this whole unit. Then: summarize and identify the stasis of that argument. [turn into myclasses]
  • Write: A Toulmin Analysis of your chosen op/ed piece, identify all the parts of the Toulmin model. If it is short on any evidence to support the warrant, please discuss how that could be revised. Please make sure to consider if the claim has been qualified adequately. Then: Write a brief revision plan of that piece as if you were the author. How could you, as the writer, buttress the argument in places where it is weakest? What additional evidence would you offer for the warrant? How can you qualify your claim to meet the conditions of rebuttal? etc. [turn into my classes]


WEEK 6 | Stasis + Refutation cont.


4 Oct |

Arguments of definition + evaluation activities. Definition argument due by end of class.


  • Read: EA, Chapter 8, 9, 10, & 11 "Arguments of Fact, Definition, Evaluation, and Causal."
  • Journal: An argument about one factual matter you are confident--based on personal experience or your state of knowledge--that most people get wrong, time and again. Use your expertise to correct this false impression.

6 Oct |

In class:

Toulmin + Rogerian argument



WEEK 7 | Stasis + Refutation cont.


11 Oct | Toulmin continued, go over essay #2


  • Review Toulmin model before class.

13 Oct | Stasis + refutation



  • Review Stasis Theory before class and...
  • Bring + Journal: four outside sources to support your counter-claim for paper #2. Summarize each source and identify the argument of each source (fact, definition, evaluation, causal), then determine the stasis. In class, we will do the Toulmin method again. Review: artistic proofs (EA pp. 56-57) and refutations or rebuttal (EA pp. 143)


WEEK 8 |


18 Oct | Peer Review


  • .
  • Stasis + Refutation paper: Bring in rough draft as 3 hard copies for peer review workshop!

20 Oct | Class workshop



  • By midnight Wednesday 10/19, the most revised edition of your paper. This should be the most up-to-date version, including comments from peer review. I will choose 2-3 for class workshop.
  • Sunday, 10/23: FINAL Stasis + Refutation paper due to myclasses



WEEK 9 | Begin Rhetorical Argument paper


25 Oct |

Introduce paper #3: Rhetorical Argument, anti-concision activity


  • Read: EA, Chapter 16, "Academic Arguments"
  • Read: EA, Lesson 9: "Concision"
  • Write: 2-pages brainstorm about a potential topic for your argument paper. Do some browsing online or in the new, beautiful library. Remember: it needs to be a current controversial argument/problem of either local or broader significance. The hardest part is narrowing, so start narrowing now. Get specific.

27 Oct | Sources



  • Read: EA, Chapter 17, "Finding Evidence"
  • Bring in hard copies of two scholarly sources and three popular sources that are relevant to your topic. Using MLA, put each source in MLA format and write the main argument (1-3 sentences), and what kind of arguments (fact, definition, evaluation, or policy) of the course underneath the citation.

WEEK 10 | Sources, Sources, Sources!


1 Nov | Source(ry)

Discuss source synthesis, evaluation, and integration. Turn your sources into a conversation. Burkean Parlour.


    • Read: EA, Chapter 19 "Using Sources"
    • Write: Summarize four sources and state the argument of the sources, then, determine the stasis of the argument and then analyze the sources using the Toulmin Method for analyzing arguments.

3 Nov | Source(ry) continues

Act out source "conversations" in class, elegance imitation


  • Read: Williams' Lesson 11: "Elegance"
    • Write (2-pages): Sources as "Conversation."


WEEK 11 | Rhetorical Argument continues


8 Nov | Thesis workshop



  • Write: Based on the synthesis + conversation done in class and as homework the weeks prior, choose a viable/livable/breathable thesis statement and find at least two new sources that would support the argument you are making. Sources that can "enter" the conversation. Describe what kind of source information you would still need in order to write your rhetorical argument paper.

10 Nov | Introduction and Evidence workshop

Introduction workshop in class


  • Read: Williams' Lesson 7: "Motivation"
  • Write: Introduction describing the issue you are arguing about, the thesis, and at least 4 points of support in topic sentence form.
  • Write: For at least four points you have to suport your thesis (minor claims), please provide evidence (source information or lines of arguments). Be sure to describe, summarize, and analyze source information or follow a line of argument to its end in order to support your minor claims


WEEK 12 | Logical Fallacies are funny!


15 Nov | Fallacy fun

Share logical fallacy paper


  • Read: EA, Chapter 5 "Fallacies of Argument"
  • Write: Using your current sources, evidence and support for your rhetorical argument paper, write a 3-4 page argument with AS MANY LOGICAL FALLACIES AS POSSIBLE!

17 Nov |


  • PEER Review: two copies of your seven (full) page draft of your Rhetorical Argument paper. Try to include refutation and counterargument
  • Each of you must then read and respond to two of your classmates' drafts
  • DUE 11/20 by midnight: Rhetorical Argument  DRAFT #2 to myclasses for class workshop


WEEK 13 | Collaborative Proposal Paper/Project

22 Nov | Rhetorical argument essay workshop ||| Collaboration + Proposing

Class workshop + Introduce collaborative proposal, collective SU problems--brainstorm! Groups assigned and time to meet to begin planning. 


  • Read: EA, Chapter 12 "Proposals"
  • Rhetorical Argument  DRAFT #2 to myclasses for class workshop
  • 11/27 at midnight: FINAL RHETORICAL ARGUMENT ESSAY due to myclasses

24 Nov | American Thanksgiving (no class)



  • 11/27 at midnight: FINAL RHETORICAL ARGUMENT ESSAY due to myclasses


WEEK 14 | Collaborative Proposals cont.


29 Nov |



  • Review: "Arguments based on Facts and Reason," "Proposals," and "Finding Evidence."
  • GROUP WRITE: A paper that includes 1) All the names of the group members, 2)Describe the problem and skateholders. Why is it an important problem to investigate? What potential solutions do you have to the problem? How are these potential solutions viable? 3) Who is the intended audience? 4) What primary sources do you plan to use? Who is conducting the research? 5) What are the potential secondary sources you plan to use? List potential sources and who is responsible for collecting/analyzing them. 5) When is your group meeting> (must have at least three dates listed which are outside of class). 6) How has your group delegated tasks? Name the assignments. 7) Give a schedule for executing group intentions.Please keep track of your individual and other members' contributions to the group. [turn in to myclasses]

1 Dec |


  • Bring in the primary research questions for surveys, interviews, and observational plans. Make sure you have begun to set up interviews and have rationalizations for surveys and observations. Bring in a secondary research plan. What information are you using and why? What information do you still need and why?


WEEK 15 | Collaboration continues


6 Dec | Peer Review Workshop of problem section



  • Draft of problem section (4-5 pages) due for PEER REVIEW WORKSHOP

8 DEC  | Class workshop


  • Integrate the best suggestions from the workshop. Full and Complete draft of proposal due for WHOLE CLASS peer review.



Final Exam: Tuesday, December 13th 4.15-6.45, room TBA || Review course texts, our class documentArchive, and your notes




Thank you!


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Course Assignments in detail



Style + Argument Journals and Daily Writing:

Throughout the course, you will produce short writing exercises that I am calling “journals” or "write" on the schedule to give you practice in critically evaluating language, close reading, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of texts. Journal assignments will be drawn from exercises in your textbooks or based on a reading I assign. Topics that will be covered include: style, arrangement, evaluation of sources, and rhetorical theories. Some of these exercises will be assigned in-class either individually or in groups. Unless specified otherwise, all journal assignments should be two full double-spaced pages. Some journal assignments require that you attach outside, published writings along with your writing journal. Failure to follow directions will result in a 0 for the assignment. You must be present to turn-in your assignment. I will not accept journal assignments in lieu of your attendance. All writing assignments are due on the day marked "due" unless specifically stated otherwise. I will not accept journals if you do not have them at the beginning of the class period after they are assigned, or if you are not physically present for the duration of the class period in which I am collecting them. I will not accept these papers as email attachments. I am not responsible for giving you a journal assignment if you miss class. I have noted some journal assignments on your schedule, but most journal assignments will be announced the class period before they are due.

Peer Review + Workshop days

Because the work of revision, collaboration, and giving/receiving quality feedback is essential to your progress as a writer, your drafts as well as participation in workshops will be counted as fulfilling the assignment. If you miss a peer workshop where a draft is due to your peers and/or to me, I will deduct ten points from you final paper grade. You must be present during whole class workshop as well as smaller peer reviews for the duration of the class session. We will discuss how to work collaboratively in a workshop format. At any peer review session you are always expected to have 2 hard copies  of your paper. For a whole-class workshop, you will be expected to provide copies of your paper for the whole class. Failure to do so will receive a five point penalty against your final paper grade. We will discuss the specifics/logistics of small group and whole class workshops. 

Class Notetaker || The course documentARchive

Every week, one student in rotation will maintain and add to our course documentARchive with the terms, definitions, and concepts discussed during that week. The notetaker's role is to record the important aspects and content of our course discussions (including but not limited to key terms, but key terms are important) and to synthesize or organize that week's key elements. This is a critical assignment and role in the course and I expect you to be a thoughtful and caring (full of care for your classmates) notetaker. In addition, this documentARchive will serve as the ongoing archive of the important work we are doing together. It is your MEMORY, in essence, of the course. Refer to it often and don't be afraid to add or clarify aspects of it at any time throughout the course.

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This assignment requires you to summarize, analyze, and evaluate a piece of argumentative writing of your choice for content and style. First, choose an engaging piece of argumentative writing that is of interest to you. (An editorial or an opinion piece would work well for this assignment.) You will give a summary and kairos of the article as well as present an evaluative argument about the article’s overall effectiveness based on what you have analyzed about the article’s content and style and provide textual evidence of your claim. 4-5  pages polished prose 2 outside sources to establish context and kairos.

Paper 2: Stasis + Refutation

This essay requires you to select an op-ed piece that is of significance to you from your college, local, or a favorite national newspaper and summarize and identify the stasis of the argument (fact, definition, quality or policy). You will then write a refutation to the editorial, integrating at least two outside sources to support your counterclaim. Take care in selecting an editorial or opinion piece that achieves stasis, that you can refute, and that its topic is of interest to you. Your knowledge of artistic proofs and rhetorical prowess will sustain this piece. (4 -6 pages; 2-3 outside sources)

Paper 3: Rhetorical Argument

Choose and research a current controversial argument/problem either of local or broader significance. Based on your research and analysis of your sources, choose a facet of the argument to pursue, thus identifying an arguable point, or stasis. Using your source information, as well as appeals to logic, emotion, and character, you will support your argument and also offer a refutation as well. (7 -9 pages; 5-6 outside sources)

Paper 4: Collaborative Proposal + Presentation

In this project, you will be assigned to a small group whose job it will be to investigate a problem on campus or in the local community (avoid overused topics, such as parking on campus, dining on campus, etc.). This investigation should include both primary and secondary research. After conducting research, you will work together with your group members to construct a written proposal which offers a well thought out, well researched, and reasonable solution to the problem. As you research and write, keep in mind that your main objective is to persuade skeptical readers/listeners of: (1) the existence of the problem and (2) the reasonableness of your proposed solution. Thus, you should think of the paper as being essentially two parts.(1) The first par t of the paper should use primary and secondary research to prove that there is a substantial problem/need that must be addressed.(2) In the second part of the paper, each group will outline their specific proposal, using primary and secondary research to show that the proposal is necessary, feasible, and beneficial. In addition to the final paper, you will also present your proposal in a 15 minute oral presentation, which should include at least two media in addition to print/speech. (9-10 pages; at least 4 primary sources, at least 3 secondary sources.)

Final Exam

The final exam is a cumulative exam covering the terms, definitions, concepts, and kinds of argument studied and discussed throughout the semester. It will be directly taken from our readings, class siscussions, and course documentARchive. It will include some long essay answers and some short essay answers.

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