to the schedule of readings and assignments
required texts: Paul M. Angle, ed., The Complete Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 (Chicago); William Lee Miller, Arguing About Slavery (Vintage). You'll also need to get some blank 4"x6" index cards.
syllabus: This syllabus may be updated as the semester goes on. I may post updated versions that indicate readings, discussion plans, and reference materials. However, every component of your grade is shown here at the beginning. Please refer to the date and time of printing (at the bottom of each page) to see when the version you are holding was printed. For continuous updates look on line at http://www.uta.edu/english/tim/courses/1302s07/1302main.html
course description: This is an introductory course in argumentation. We will study how argument works by means of the great debates over slavery and the Constitution in the years before the American Civil War. Our focus this semester will be on deliberative texts (speeches and documents produced in the course of legislative sessions and electoral campaigns) and argumentative texts (those that attempt to persuade an audience to follow the speaker's course rather than an opponent's).
student learning outcomes: Students will be able to analyze works of public argument. Students will be able to synthesize their analyses of arguments by placing them within contexts of American history and other rhetorical works.
Note on outcomes: although the listed outcomes are desirable and achievable, the long-term goals of this course, as in any liberal-arts course, include less-measurable outcomes that we must not lose sight of -- and that are quite real, though not quantifiable. Among these are the habit of reading critically, a lifelong interest in and ability to understand the written word, and the general sense that when we approach life in an intellectual way -- particularly by writing freely (literally, "liberally") about it -- we learn things that are unforeseeable and immeasurable. While I will be measuring your explicit listed outcomes by evaluating your papers, you will only know that you have learned the more important things about the course if the issues we raise are still alive for you decades from now. That life of the mind, not some immediate "learning outcome," is the benefit of a liberal education.
assignments: one in-class paper (ungraded); two formal essays (20% each); 20 notecards (1% each); midterm exam (20%); final exam (20%)
Notecard assignments take the form of summarizing the day's reading on the front of a 4x6 index card and asking one or two critical questions about that reading on the back of the card. Your name and the date should be printed on the front of the card. Notecards are always due at the start of the indicated class meeting. If you are not present the day a notecard is due, you get no points for that notecard. Each notecard is worth two possible points.
You may not make up notecard assignments, in-class papers, or exams. The two formal papers may be turned in late but will lose 1 possible point for each day they're late: i.e. instead of being graded out of 40 points, they will be graded as a percentage of that reduced amount.
grading: Grading is on a point system, with a certain number of points possible for each assignment. There are a total of 200 points for the semester, so if you make fewer than 140 points your grade will be Z if you have actively turned in all assignments and F if you have not. 140-159 points will mean a C grade for the semester. 160-179 is a B; 180 or higher is an A.
I think that a B is a very good grade for an undergraduate course, and that a C grade is quite acceptable. The grade of A indicates excellence rather than mere completion of the course.
academic dishonesty policy: It is the philosophy of The University of Texas at Arlington that academic dishonesty is a completely unacceptable mode of conduct and will not be tolerated in any form. All persons involved in academic dishonesty will be disciplined in accordance with University regulations and procedures. Discipline may include suspension or expulsion from the University. "Scholastic dishonesty includes but is not limited to cheating, plagiarism, collusion, the submission for credit of any work or materials that are attributable in whole or in part to another person, any act designed to give unfair advantage to a student or the attempt to commit such acts." [Regents' Rules and Regulations, Part One, Chapter Vi, Section 3, Subsection 3.2, Subdivision 3.22]
disability policy: The University of Texas at Arlington is on record as being committed to both the spirit and letter of federal equal opportunity legislation; reference Public Law 93112--The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended. With the passage of new federal legislation entitled Americans with Disabilities Act - (ADA), pursuant to section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, there is renewed focus on providing this population with the same opportunities enjoyed by all citizens. As a faculty member, I am required by law to provide "reasonable accommodation" to students with disabilities, so as not to discriminate on the basis of that disability. Student responsibility primarily rests with informing faculty at the beginning of the semester and in providing authorized documentation through designated administrative channels.
student success: The University of Texas at Arlington supports a variety of student success programs to help you connect with the University and achieve academic success. They include learning assistance, developmental education, advising and mentoring, admission and transition, and federally funded programs. Students requiring assistance academically, personally, or socially should contact the Office of Student Success Programs at 817-272-6107 for more information and appropriate referrals.
library: Noel Anderson is the Librarian for the English Department. He can be reached at 817 272 3000, ext. 7428, and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org You will find online databases for English among the Arts & Humanities databases at http://www2.uta.edu/library/subjguides/dbEnglish.asp
writing center: located on the fourth floor of the Central Library, and at http://www.uta.edu/owl/ , the Writing Center provides free tutoring for UTA students. Tutors will not write your papers for you, but will help you understand and use strategies for effective writing.
schedule of assignments and readings
16 January: syllabus and introductions
18 January: in-class writing: Write for the first half of this class period on this question: what is argument? Are you argumentative? How do you conduct arguments? What distinguishes principled, constructive argument from verbal infighting? What are some examples of important arguments you have followed, studied, or participated in? How can arguments persuade people, and have you ever been persuaded to change a strongly-held opinion because of the arguments of others? You may prepare as much or as little as you like. This is a paper about first impressions and preconceptions. There are no wrong answers.
23 January: lecture: some historical backgrounds
25 January: lecture: some rhetorical concepts
30 January: NC: Miller 2
1 February: NC: Miller 4
6 February: NC: Miller 5
8 February: NC: Miller 6
13 February: NC: Miller 7
15 February: NC: Miller 8
20 February: NC: Miller 10
22 February: NC: Miller 11
27 February: NC: Miller 12
1 March: First Essay Due (40 points). Six pages maximum: Analyze the speeches in Angle, ch. 1, in the light of Miller's Arguing About Slavery.
6 March: Midterm Exam (40 points)
8, 13, 15 March: NO CLASS MEETING
20 March: NC: Miller 13
22 March: NC: Angle 1
27 March: NC: Angle 2
29 March: NC: Angle 3
3 April: NC: Angle 4
5 April: NC: Angle 5
10 April: NC: Angle 7
12 April: NC: Angle 8
17 April: NC: Angle 10
19 April: NC: Angle 11
24 April: NC: Angle 12
26 April: Second Essay due (40 points). Six pages maximum: Choose (well in advance!) a contemporary 21st-century "debate" on an important public issue. Compare the terms and techniques of two texts that argue opposite sides of that issue to the Lincoln-Douglas debates.
1 May: "Dead Week": review for final exam
3 May: "Dead Week": course evaluations
10 May: Final Exam, 800-1030am, regular classroom
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