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During these first several weeks, we have spent time reading and thinking about key texts in Western thought. These texts have provided the educational and philosophical foundation upon which we all stand. We have even looked at contemporary responses to classical rhetoric and how scholars have appropriated classical rhetoric to meet pressing issues we currently face. Yet, the elephant in the room that is worth addressing is this: was it worth it? In other words, do these ancient issues still resonant with us today? While these early texts are important, their relevancy may have dwindled in our heterogeneous American society faced with issues not discussed or seen in Plato and the like. Literacy Task I invites you to talk through the relevance of this material to you or to society in general.
How to get started First, you’ll need to select specific texts that you want to use as a springboard to your argument and then provide a succinct yet effective summary of the key issues swirling around in the text Next, you have the remainder of the essay to launch criticism or accolades at the text. It might be helpful to think of a single current issue in which to anchor your writing. In other words, what is the relevance of classical rhetoric to, say, immigration or the struggle for democracy in a Middle Eastern country? I want you to take this opportunity to write your thoughts on the relevance of classical rhetoric today. I discourage you from using outside sources beyond the text(s) that set up your discussion because I want this paper to be your thoughts on the issue— your response.
Questions to Guide your Thinking/Writing These questions are to be used as basic guidelines and not a check list to run through in your paper. How have scholars appropriated classical rhetoric in the past? What are the potential affordances/constraints of appropriating classical rhetoric? Relevant to whom? To you? To residents of Oklahoma? To a certain niche is society but not another? In other words, specify to whom this material is relevant or not? How could or could not classical rhetoric solve a key pressing issue today?
Information about the audience you’re addressing In thinking about the audience you are addressing in Task I, it will help to think of yourself as joining the conversation about issues appropriating classical rhetoric. You should assume that members of your audience are familiar with the various pieces you’ve read over the past few weeks (i.e., the readings by Plato, Isocrates, Quintilian, Aristotle), but that they haven’t read these articles recently. To help them, you’ll need to make sure that you explain your ideas clearly, that you define specialized terms, and that you quote from these texts to help illuminate specific points you wish to make. As you draft, revise, and refine the essay for Task I, please keep in mind that you are working to get a great deal of analytic depth in your paper. You want a rich, deep, focused discussion of benefits or drawbacks of appropriating classical rhetoric. Work toward that “So what?” question in regards to classical rhetoric.
Key Resources Plato’s Gorgias Isocrates’s Antidosis Quintilian’s Institutes of Oratory Aristotle’s On Rhetoric Questions and comments we’ll raise and explore during our class discussions Your classmates and professor
Guidelines for Evaluation In crafting successive drafts of the essay for Task I, focus on the following. These are the elements of the paper I focus on as I evaluate your final draft. Developing a focused claim (thesis) and articulating it clearly to your audience Providing a richly detailed description about the key issues in the text(s) you selected Aiming for an in-depth analysis of the affordances/constraints of appropriating classical rhetoric A clear understanding of the “for whom” regarding appropriating classical rhetoric. In other words, appropriation is good/bad for what specific person or group of people? Using the readings to effectively to anchor your terms, discussion, and analysis Effectively incorporating information from other readings we’ve covered, especially if they can help make your analysis and argument more insightful. Developing an effective organizational plan for your paper Using language and rhetorical strategies that are appropriate for your audience Quoting or paraphrasing from and citing sources effectively using MLA or APA style
Basic Guidelines Your paper for Literacy Task I needs to present a well-developed and effectively-organized analytic essay of 1200 to 1500 words (double spaced). Your paper will also need to include a “works cited” (if using MLA) or “references” (if using APA) list. Double-space the text and use a readable 12 point font (e.g., Times New Roman, Georgia, Garamond) and one inch margins at top, bottom, and sides. You don’t need to include a title page; instead, double space your name, the name of the course, the instructor’s name, the assignment, and the due date in the upper left-hand corner of the first page. Include your name and the page number as a header in the upper right-hand corner of all the other pages. You will upload your paper to the appropriate D2L dropbox.
Timeline for Literacy Task I Task I assigned………………………………………. Rough draft due……………………………………… Peer review session…………………………………… Final draft due…………………………………………
Good luck! I’m happy to help if you need some additional assistance at any stage of this paper. My office hours are XX-XX in 312 Gittinger. You can reach me as well via email at email@example.com. If you’d like to drop by my office to toss around some ideas, please feel free to do so.