The signers of the United States Constitution declared our freedom of expression the most important right of United States citizens. Susan B. Anthony and dozens of other women used the only power they had, the power of language, to ensure women their right to vote in the United States. And the persuasive eloquence of Martin Luther King, Jr., changed this nation's consciousness. These were ordinary people doing extraordinary things with language.
What about you? Do you aspire to extraordinary things, or do you simply
hope to land a great job or appeal a parking ticket? Either way, you'll
need to use persuasive writing. This semester, we will increase our
awareness of, respect for, and facility with persuasive writing. But our
enthusiasm for and understanding of argumentative writing can grow only if
we care about what we're doing (and even have some fun), so usually you
will choose your own topics as we play with, analyze, and practice
argumentative writing. To guide us in these challenging but rewarding
enterprises, we'll use a textbook, Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary
Students, and a handbook, The Everyday Writer. We'll write
almost daily, in the form of short exercises (hard copy and online),
rhetorical analyses, and longer essays; plan on lots of informal writing
and three formal essays of 4-8 pages each.
I will not make any adjustments to the class roster (i.e., oversubscribe or drop students) until after the second class meeting. At that point, I will automatically drop any student who has not attended both of the first two classes. After the second class, if there are spaces available I will authorize students who are on the waitlist and who have been attending class to register for the course until the course has again met its maximum capacity. I do not anticipate issuing overrides to students who have not been attending class from the first day. Please do not email me requesting that I issue an override to you before the term begins.
Truth in advertising: attendance is required for this class, and there is a strict attendance policy--one which expects you to show up on time to each class. Because attendance is a prerequisite for class participation (discussion, workshops, quizzes, etc.), your presence will have a direct and important effect on your grade in this course. You may have two absences without penalty (if you are absent on a day a paper or writing exercise is due, the assignment still must be submitted by the start of class on the due date to avoid late penalties). For each unexcused absence after that, your final grade will be lowered by one letter grade. Two late arrivals or early departures (of less than fifteen minutes) convert to one absence. If you miss more than fifteen minutes of a class, you will be considered absent.