Surveying the Landscape

URVEYING THE LANDSCAPE Contributing productively to a conversation—academic or otherwise—means first looking to see what others in the conversation have said and developing something worthwhile to contribute; in these regards, you’ve mostly done your homework (figuratively and literally). But making your case successfully requires more than simply writing whatever pops into your head.   REVIEW  Earlier in the semester, we read Chapter 2: Rhetorical Analysis in Critical Reading, Critical Writing: A Handbook to Understanding College Composition. Back then, the point was to learn to read texts in context—to comprehend not only the words on the page but also the circumstances in which the text was produced, including the context it was written in, the audience it was written for, and the writer’s purpose in relation to that audience. This time around, we will revisit thinking rhetorically (thinking in terms of audience, purpose, and context), though with the intention of better understanding the rhetorical situation of your own project so that you might craft your essay to give it the best possible chance of success. If necessary to refresh your memory, review/reread Chapter 2  (Links to an external site.)  in Critical Reading, Critical Writing: A Handbook to Understanding College Composition. WATCH Watch the video, “What is Rhetoric”  (Links to an external site.) ; some of it will be review from the first unit, but most of it will help you in the next step below.  WRITE Write a 1-2-page reflection in which you break down your rhetorical situation accordingly: The context of your project: What various disciplines do the researchers writing about your topic publish their work in? What are the aims of those disciplines, and what issues, challenges, or controversies are those disciplines contending with? Which journals were your sources published in, and what are the particular interests of those journals? More broadly, what relevant issues, challenges, or controversies are taking place in the world outside of the scholarly communities you’ve invested? Your audience: Whom among the scholarly communities you mentioned above do you hope to reach with your project? What matters to them, and what do they currently know, think, or believe about your topic? Your purpose: What would you like the audience you identified for the bullet above to think, feel, or do about your topic as a result of reading your essay? What claim will you be making that they might potentially disagree with, and what competing claims will you have to contend with? Your strategy: In what ways might your audience object to your claim, and how might you address those objections? In what ways might you best appeal to your readers to persuade them of your claim? How might you best connect your claim with what matters to your audience? Where is the strength of your argument, and how might you emphasize that strength through the framing and execution of your essay? What kinds of appeals would your audience most likely find persuasive and how might you craft your essay to best meet their expecations? Requirements: Word doc, double spaced, 12pt font

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