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Rhetoric 1302 – Argumentative Essay

Spring 2007 MWF, 12:30-1:20

I think I did pretty well, considering I started out

with nothing but a bunch of blank paper.
-Steve Martin

Writing is thinking on paper

-William Zinsser

The greatest possible merit of style, is to make the

words absolutely disappear into the thought.
-Nathaniel Hawthorne

NOTE: All matters associated with this course are subject to change at the instructor's discretion.
Any changes will be communicated to students in writing.

Instructor Contact Information

Jeff Pettineo
Office: JO 4.120
Tel: 972-883-2050
Office Hours: Wednesday 1:30-3:30, OBA

Course Description
The course presents an integrated approach to writing, reading, and critical thinking by
developing the grammatical, logical, and rhetorical skills necessary for university writing. All
classes work in a computerized learning environment. Students are taught basic computer
literacy and submit all work electronically and on paper.

Student Learning Objectives

1. Students will be able to practice and apply different approaches to and modes of written
exposition as appropriate to a variety of theses and subjects.
2. Students will be able to write using effective technical requirements, including
organization, mechanics, and thesis development.
3. Students will develop sensitivity to written language by being able to employ and apply
effective and appropriate rhetorical devices directed at a defined audience.
4. Students will be able to demonstrate an ability to conduct research, apply source material,
discuss general information, and apply logical process when writing.

Required Textbooks
The Aims of Argument: A Rhetoric and Reader
by Timothy Crusius and Carolyn Channell
Fifth Edition. McGraw-Hill, 2006
ISBN 0-07-321761-1

A Writer's Resources: A Handbook for Writing and Research
by Elaine P. Maimon, Janice H. Peritz, and Kathleen Blake Yancey
Second Edition. McGraw-Hill, 2007
ISBN 978-0-07-325938-3

Assignments and Academic Calendar

NOTE: All matters associated with this course are subject to change at the instructor's discretion.
Any changes will be communicated in writing to students.

Supplemental Documents
(on the Course Content menu)

Melville’s Moby Dick:

Ch. 24, “The Advocate”
Ch. 36, “The Quarter-Deck – Ahab and All”
Ch. 42, “The Whiteness of the Whale”

Borges, Jorge Luis,

“The Wall and the Books”
“Avatars of the Tortoise”
“The Library of Babel”

Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation, pp. 1-7

Plato, “The Allegory of the Cave; abbreviated version” – From The Republic, Book VII

Recommended Textbooks:

Writing with Style, by Douglas Trimble

The Elements of Style, Strunk and White
On Writing Well, William Zinsser.

Diagnostic Essay 50 (500-750 words)
Major Essay #1 (Arguing to Inquire) 150 (750 words)
Major Essay #2 (Persuasive Essay ) 200 (1000 words)
Major Essay #3 (Visual Essay/Analysis) 250 (1500 words)
Thinkpieces, 10 x 15 pts. ea. 150 (approx. 300 words each)
Participation and Attendance 100
Individual Presentation 25
Group Work 25
Portfolio 50
Oral Presentation of Final Essay 25

Total Points = 1025; 900 – 1000 = A, 800-899 = B, etc.

Short Essay #1 /Diagnostic In-Class Essay

Topic, TBA in class.

Major Essay #1 – Arguing To Inquire

Evaluate the pro- and con- side of a debate, noting the merits and weaknesses of each side. You
may use two articles on a topic of your choice or two viewpoints from the articles in Aims of

Major Essay #2 – Arguing to Convince

For the first major essay, construct a persuasive argument of 1000-1250 words based on the
principles of Chs. 7 and 8 of Aims of Argument as well as lecture notes. You will need to employ
a minimum of three sources, two of which must be peer-reviewed sources. You may write on
any approved topic. Please submit a short proposal two weeks before the paper’s due date.

Major Essay #3 (Visual Essay / Visual Analysis)

For the last essay, you will construct a persuasive argument of 1500 words that incorporates the
visual as well as textual elements of the class. You will have the option of writing on the
following themes, broadly construed: Race and Culture, Media, Appearance vs. Reality,
Simulation/Deception, Education, and Technology. All of these themes are present in the films
we discuss to some degree, and the readings will help provide the backbone of your argument.
You may construe these topics in creative ways. For example, you might consider education as
the way various characters changed based on their experiences. Or, you could focus on the ways
in which the writers and film- makers view technology as part of education. Media is an
important concern for Baudrillard and Quiz Show, and race and culture play a part in all the

N.B.: All major essays can be re-written for a higher grade if submitted on time. Re-writes
are due two weeks after the papers is graded and returned.


Think-pieces are designed to be 300-word focused arguments (“mini- essays”) about the reading
due for that day. There is no one set method for doing a think-piece, but it should be written as
economically as possible, no superfluous verbiage. Establish your point from the start and back
up your claims with textual support. Suggested strategies:
- focus on a particular problem you see in the text,
- an issue/point/claim you would like to defend or elaborate upon further
- a comparison/contrasting with another text we have read

These are merely guidelines, so you will have some freedom to experiment with your responses

Individual Presentation (10 mins.)

You will be required to report on one of the readings of your choice form the syllabus. Relate to
the class the thesis/point of the piece, how the writer makes his or her case, and what you found
to be the strengths and weaknesses.


Your portfolio will be due the last day of class. It is a collection of all essays and think-pieces,
with an introduction to your work (a reflection on what you chose to write and how you think
your writing improved), with a simple table of contents. You will not need to bind you portfolio
with anything fancy. A simple folder with brads will suffice. The Critical Introduction is worth
30 points, the collection of essays 10, and table of contents 10.

Participation / Attendance / Group Work

In both group activities, and individually, your success in any course will depend on your level
of engagement. I am interested here in the quality of your remarks rather than the quantity.

Both regular and active attendance and participation are required for the successful completion
of this course. If you miss any class for any reason, you remain responsible for class
expectations, requirements, and/or changes. Alternative assignments are generally not given, nor
will missed classes be "re-taught" for absent students. After three absences your final course
grade will be negatively affected and/or you may be encouraged to drop the course. Chronic
tardiness is unacceptable and will also negatively affect your final grade.

Participation in this course does not include doing work that is not for this course during class,
sleeping in class, or using the computers or other personal electronic devices for personal
messaging, research, or entertainment. Please turn off cellular/mobile phones, pagers, and other
personal electronic devices during class.

Oral Presentation of Final Essay

Your final presentation will be a fun way of presenting your thinking to the class. You will read
your final paper to the class and answer questions about your ideas. Each written page translates
to two pages read orally.

Course Schedule:

The course will be divided into the following thematic units:

UNIT I: The Advocate: Foundations of Argumentation

UNIT II: “Strike Through the Mask!” Appearance vs. Reality
UNIT III: “A Mutual Joint-Stock World” Race, Culture, and Society
UNIT IV: My Harvard and My Yale: Education

AA = Aims of Argument

· N.B.: All readings and assignments are due the date listed on the syllabus.
· Readings marked with two asterisks (**) are available for presentations
· See suggestions for crafting Think-pieces as well as guidelines for Major essays

Unit Wk Date Description/Activity/Assignment

I 1 1/8 Introduction: Requirements, Assignments, Assessment

Register for AWR and AA companion websites (the AWR website includes an e-book)

1/10 Introduction Continued. In-Class Diagnostic Essay*

1/12 Elements of Argumentation: Assumptions/Presuppositions, Claims, Warrants,

Reasons, Evidence, Conclusion*

2 1/15 No class; MLK Holiday

1/17 * Declaration of Independence (supplemental docs)

-Examples of complete short arguments. Writing Effective Thesis Statements –
How, What, Why.

1/19 **The Logic of Real Arguments, pp.5-14 (supplemental docs)

*AA, Chs. 1-2
*A Writer’s Resource Section 2, pp. 21 – 37; note the common logical fallacies
--Arguments at the Paragraph level. Writing effective body paragraphs.
Think-piece #1 Due

II 3 1/22 *AA, Ch.3

*Logical Fallacies, from Everything’s an Argument (continued)
--Methods – Toulmin; In-Class Discussion of AA, Ch. 3
Addressing and refuting Counter-Claims. Writing Effective Introductions and

1/24 **Moby Dick, Ch. 24, “The Advocate” (supplemental docs)

-Incorporating secondary source material – MLA style

1/26 **Borges, “The Wall and the Books” (supplemental docs)

**Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation (S&S). pp. 1-7
-Improving Style
Think-piece #2 Due (Incorporate at least one quotation from Baudrillard using MLA
citation in your piece)

4 1/29 **Borges, Library of Babel

1/31 **Borges, “Avatars of the Tortoise” (supplemental docs)
* Allegory of the Cave abbreviated version (supplemental docs)

2/2 --Discussion and Group Activity

--Think-piece #3 Due

5 2/5 [Screening of Citizen Kane – in class]

2/7 [Citizen Kane (cont)] –

--The Language of Film – Terms, Approaches, Strategies

2/9 [Cit Kane with commentary] ** Moby Dick, Ch. 36, “The Quarter-Deck: (“Strike
Through the Mask!”) (supplemental docs)
Think-Piece #4 Due -- Compare/Contrast Plato, Baudrillard, and Ahab regarding the
nature of “reality”

6 2/12 Discussion of Citizen Kane in relation to Plato & Baudrillard

Major Essay #1 Due – Inquiry Argument
Peer Review Process

2/14 -Conducting Research

-Begin Narrowing Topics for Major Essay #2

2/16 *AA, Ch. 5

Crafting Persuasive Arguments
Think-piece #5 Due

7 2/19 *AA, Ch. 7

2/21 Ch 7 Cont.

2/23 Thinkpiece #6 Due

8 2/26 AA, Ch. 8

2/28 Ch. 8 continued./ Catch-up Day/ Drafting /Workshops

3/2 Major Essay #2 Due

Workshop / Peer Review

9 Spring NO CLASS, 3/5-3/9


III 10 -----Begin Unit on Race and Culture-----

Screening, Imitation of Life [DATE _____ TIME ________ LOC _____________]

3/12 **AA, p. 763 Ohman, “Is Class an Identity?”
**AA, p. 767 Lind, “The Beige and the Black”

3/14 “The Measure of a Man” from Star Trek: the Next Generation
Consider the mechanics of the arguments made as well as the way race is presented

3/16 “The Measure of a Man” Discussion

Think-piece #7 Due

11 3/19 **AA, Williams, 799

3/21 *AA, Ch. 4 –Visual Essay

**Wednesday, March 21 is the last day to drop with a WP/WF.**

3/23 Think-piece #8 Due

IV 12 3/26 **AA, Shorris, 733

3/28 **AA, Edmundson, 721

3/30 **AA, Levine and Cureton, 710

Think-piece #9 Due

13 Screening, Quiz Show

[Date_________ TIME______ LOC__________]

4/2 **Moby Dick, “The Whiteness of the Whale”

OR: Review/Research for Final Paper

4/4 Review and Revise Essay #2/ Catch-up Day

4/6 Major Essay #3 Due


14 4/9 Visual Essay Presentations

4/11 Visual Essay Presentations

4/13 Visual Essay Presentations

15 4/16 Think-piece #10 Due – In Class

4/18 Essay #3 Workshops / Review

Portfolio Presentation and Review

4/20 Essay #3 Rewrite Due

Portfolio Presentation and Review

16 4/23 Course Review and wrap-Up

Late Work
All drafts, including final, must be submitted when and as required in order to successfully complete this
course. Late assignments will suffer grade deductions – one letter grade for each day missed.

Personal Communication Devices

Turn off all cell phones, pagers, and other personal communication devices before the start of class. Do
not use them during class.

Student Conduct and Discipline

The University of Texas System and The University of Texas at Dallas have rules and regulations for the
orderly and efficient conduct of their business. It is the responsibility of each student and each student
organization to be knowledgeable about the rules and regulations which govern student conduct and
activities. General information on student conduct and discipline is contained in the UTD publication, A
to Z Guide, which is provided to all registered students each academic year.

The University of Texas at Dallas administers student discipline within the procedures of recognized and
established due process. Procedures are defined and described in the Rules and Regulations, Board of
Regents, The University of Texas System, Part 1, Chapter VI, Section 3, and in Title V, Rules on Student
Services and Activities of the university's Handbook of Operating Procedures. Copies of these rules and
regulations are available to students in the Office of the Dean of Students, where staff members are
available to assist students in interpreting the rules and regulations (SU 1.602, 972/883-6391).

A student at the university neither loses the rights nor escapes the responsibilities of citizenship. He or she
is expected to obey federal, state, and local laws as well as the Regents' Rules, university regulations, and
administrative rules. Students are subject to discipline for violating the standards of conduct whether such
conduct takes place on or off campus, or whether civil or criminal penalties are also imposed for such

Academic Integrity
The faculty expects from its students a high level of responsibility and academic honesty. Because the
value of an academic degree depends upon the absolute integrity of the work done by the student for that
degree, it is imperative that a student demonstrate a high standard of individual honor in his or her
scholastic work.

Scholastic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, statements, acts or omissions related to applications
for enrollment or the award of a degree, and/or the submission as one's own work or material that is not
one's own. As a general rule, scholastic dishonesty involves one of the following acts: cheating,

plagiarism, collusion and/or falsifying academic records. Students suspected of academic dishonesty are
subject to disciplinary proceedings.

Plagiarism, especially from the web, from portions of papers for other classes, and from any other source
is unacceptable and will be dealt with under the university's policy on plagiarism (see general catalog for
details). This course will use the resources of, which searches the web for possible
plagiarism and is over 90% effective.

Email Use
The University of Texas at Dallas recognizes the value and efficiency of communication between
faculty/staff and students through electronic mail. At the same time, email raises some issues concerning
security and the identity of each individual in an email exchange. The university encourages all official
student email correspondence be sent only to a student's U.T. Dallas email address and that faculty and
staff consider email from students official only if it originates from a UTD student account. This allows
the university to maintain a high degree of confidence in the identity of all individual corresponding and
the security of the transmitted information. UTD furnishes each student with a free email account that is
to be used in all communication with university personnel. The Department of Information Resources at
U.T. Dallas provides a method for students to have their U.T. Dallas mail forwarded to other accounts.

Withdrawal from Class

The administration of this institution has set deadlines for withdrawal of any college-level courses. These
dates and times are published in that semester's course catalog. Administration procedures must be
followed. It is the student's responsibility to handle withdrawal requirements from any class. In other
words, I cannot drop or withdraw any student. You must do the proper paperwork to ensure that you will
not receive a final grade of "F" in a course if you choose not to attend the class once you are enrolled.

Student Grievance Procedures

Procedures for student grievances are found in Title V, Rules on Student Services and Activities, of the
university's Handbook of Operating Procedures.

In attempting to resolve any student grievance regarding grades, evaluations, or other fulfillments of
academic responsibility, it is the obligation of the student first to make a serious effort to resolve the
matter with the instructor, supervisor, administrator, or committee with whom the grievance originates
(hereafter called “the respondent”). Individual faculty members retain primary responsibility for assigning
grades and evaluations. If the matter cannot be resolved at that level, the grievance must be submitted in
writing to the respondent with a copy of the respondent's School Dean. If the matter is not resolved by the
written response provided by the respondent, the student may submit a written appeal to the School Dean.
If the grievance is not resolved by the School Dean's decision, the student may make a written appeal to
the Dean of Graduate or Undergraduate Education, and the deal will appoint and convene an Academic
Appeals Panel. The decision of the Academic Appeals Panel is final. The results of the academic appeals
process will be distributed to all involved parties.

Copies of these rules and regulations are available to students in the Office of the Dean of Students,
where staff members are available to assist students in interpreting the rules and regulations.

Incomplete Grade Policy

As per university policy, incomplete grades will be granted only for work unavoidably missed at the
semester's end and only if 70% of the course work has been completed. An incomplete grade must be
resolved within eight (8) weeks from the first day of the subsequent long semester. If the required work to
complete the course and to remove the incomplete grade is not submitted by the specified deadline, the
incomplete grade is changed automatically to a grade of F.

Disability Services
The goal of Disability Services is to provide students with disabilities educational opportunities equal to
those of their non-disabled peers. Disability Services is located in room 1.610 in the Student Union.
Office hours are Monday and Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to
7:30 p.m.; and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The contact information for the Office of Disability Services is:

The University of Texas at Dallas, SU 22
PO Box 830688
Richardson, Texas 75083-0688
(972) 883-2098 (voice or TTY)

Essentially, the law requires that colleges and universities make those reasonable adjustments necessary
to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability. For example, it may be necessary to remove
classroom prohibitions against tape recorders or animals (in the case of dog guides) for students who are
blind. Occasionally an assignment requirement may be substituted (for example, a research paper versus
an oral presentation for a student who is hearing impaired). Classes enrolled students with mobility
impairments may have to be rescheduled in accessible facilities. The college or university may need to
provide special services such as registration, note-taking, or mobility assistance.

It is the student's responsibility to notify his or her professors of the need for such an accommodation.
Disability Services provides students with letters to present to faculty members to verify that the student
has a disability and needs accommodations. Individuals requiring special accommodation should contact
the professor after class or during office hours.

Religious Holy Days

The University of Texas at Dallas will excuse a student from class or other required activities for the
travel to and observance of a religious holy day for a religion whose places of worship are exempt from
property tax under Section 11.20, Tax Code, Texas Code Annotated.

The student is encouraged to notify the instructor or activity sponsor as soon as possible regarding the
absence, preferably in advance of the assignment. The student, so excused, will be allowed to take the
exam or complete the assignment within a reasonable time after the absence: a period equal to the length
of the absence, up to a maximum of one week. A student who notifies the instructor and completes any
missed exam or assignment may not be penalized for the absence. A student who fails to complete the
exam or assignment within the prescribed period may receive a failing grade for that exam or assignment.

If a student or an instructor disagrees about the nature of the absence [i.e., for the purpose of observing a
religious holy day] or if there is similar disagreement about whether the student has been given a
reasonable time to complete any missed assignments or examinations, either the student or the instructor
may request a ruling from the chief executive officer of the institution, or his or her designee. The chief
executive officer or designee must take into account the legislative intent of TEC 51.911(b), and the
student and instructor will abide by the decision of the chief executive officer or designee.