English 1010–Writing Theme: Race and the Law in America




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English 1010–Writing

Theme: Race and the Law in America
Dr. Alice Kracke

Office: 202 Norman Mayer

Email: akracke@tulane.edu

Office Hours: M & W 12:00-2:00 pm, and by appointment


Course Description:

The purpose of English 1010 is to teach students to write clearly and to organize complex arguments that engage in a scholarly way with expert knowledge. Toward that end, students will learn to conduct independent bibliographic research and to incorporate that material appropriately into the sort of clear, complex, coherent arguments that characterize academic discourse. More specifically, in English 1010, students will learn that to write clearly means that they must take a piece of writing through multiple drafts in order to eliminate any grammatical errors or stylistic flaws that might undermine the author-audience relationship. They will also learn that, to write with meaningful complexity, they must learn to practice a variety of invention strategies, from the five classical appeals to free-writing to commonplaces to analytic reading strategies to library research––and to revise continuously the material generated by these methods. Students will also learn that, in order to make coherent arguments out of the material generated through these invention strategies without sacrificing complexity, their practice of revision must be guided by certain principles of style and arrangement––for example, principles of emphasis, cohesion, parallelism, figuration, and syntactic variation, to name a few.


Also, students must grow adept in the genre of argument itself through work with models and templates of the sort outlined in the standard rhetorics of argument (for example, Williams, Heinrich, Toulmin, or Graff and Birkenstein). Students must learn, moreover, that in order to create effective arguments they must cultivate strategies for analyzing the texts of others––that is, they must grow adept at situating the texts of others in a context, looking at them through the lens of some other body of thought to see how such a move heightens the significance of certain elements of the text under analysis. And they must learn strategies for active, critical reading, strategies for deciphering why a text might be arranged a certain way and what that arrangement might mean as well as strategies for summarizing and paraphrasing and quoting. Also, they must learn to conduct research in the library, evaluating sources, incorporating the work of others into their texts, and doing so while following the proper conventions of citation endorsed by the Modern Language Association. Finally, in order to maximize the students’ potential for developing these abilities, the method of instruction in English 101, week by week, will be organized as a hybrid that combines four different instructional modes: 1) discussions as appropriate to a seminar; 2) hands-on, productive work as appropriate to a studio or lab; 3) brief lectures; 4) regular one-on-one conferencing with the teacher. Through all of these means, students in English 1010 will learn to produce clear, complex, coherent writing with meaningful academic content.
Course Outcomes:

Students will learn how to write clearly and how to develop complex, coherent arguments that engage with expert knowledge through independent scholarly research and correct citation of sources.


Course Introduction:

Starting with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s seminal “I Have a Dream” speech, which he gave in 1963, this course will focus on race as both construct and lived experience. More specifically, we will examine how the law has for the past 50 years both perpetuated and ameliorated systemic racism or, in his words, how it has honored as well as defaulted on its “promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned.” With an eye on ethnicity, community, and identity, we will explore the ways that various writers have spoken to this issue and how they––and you––view how the law has facilitated as well as frustrated racial progress in America.


Required Texts:

Barnet, Sylvan and Hugo Bedau. Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing, 7th Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011.


Beason, Larry and Mark Lester. A Commonsense Guide to Grammar and Usage, 6th Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2012.
Assignments and Grading Policy:

You must submit all assigned work to fulfill the minimum requirements of the class. An automatic “F” will be assigned for a final grade if you do not meet the minimum requirements.


Unit 1: Analysis Essay

Short Paper 1––3 points

Short Paper 2––3 points

Short Paper 3––3 points

Participation ––1 point

Analysis Essay––15 points



Total for this unit––25 points
Unit 2: Problem/Solution Essay (foundation for research paper)

Short Paper 1––3 points

Short Paper 2––3 points

Short Paper 3––3 points

Participation––1 point

P/S Essay––15 points



Total for this unit––25 points

Unit 3: Classic Argument Using Toulmin Method

Short Paper 1––3 points

Short Paper 2––3 points

Short Paper 3––3 points

Participation––1 point

Argument Essay––15 points



Total for this unit––25 points
Unit 4: Problem/Solution Research Paper

Short Paper 1––3 points

Short Paper 2––3 points

Short Paper 3––3 points

Participation––1 point

Research Paper––15 points



Total for this unit––25 points
I will calculate final grades according to the following scale:
93–100: A

90–92: A-

87–89: B+

83–86: B


80–82: B-

77–79: C+

73–76: C

70–72: C-

67–69: D+

63–66: D


60–62: D-

59 and lower: F


Attendance Policy and Class Participation:

Students in English 1010 develop skills that will serve them for their rest of their academic and professional lives. What’s more, no matter how well a student writes, he or she can and should always cultivate these skills yet further. To do this, students must come to class, participate in class activities, and sustain positive, productive membership in the classroom community of student-writers. Thus, attendance, as well as punctual arrival and participation are absolutely essential; moreover, cell phones must be silenced, and text-messaging and emailing are strictly forbidden, for these disruptions, as with tardiness, can be counted as absences.


When a student absence results from serious illness, injury or a critical personal problem, that student must notify the instructor and arrange to complete any missed work in a timely fashion. Students are allowed, over the course of the semester, to miss the equivalent of one week of class without penalty. Thereafter, students will lose one-third of their final grade for every unexcused absence from class. Once a student has accumulated the equivalent of three weeks of unexcused absences, he or she has automatically failed the class.
In order to enforce the attendance policy, the instructor will document the dates of every student’s unexcused absences and file an “Absence Report Form” for any of their students who accumulate four unexcused absences. These forms are sent to the student and the student’s dean (the instructor retains the third copy). If the student’s attendance problem results in his or her failing the course, the instructor should file a second “Absence Report Form” recommending that the student be withdrawn from the course with an F.
Academic Dishonesty:

This link will take you to the Newcomb-Tulane Code of Academic Conduct: http://college.tulane.edu/code.htm. All students must take responsibility for studying this code and adhering to it. We will devote some time in class to it. Our purpose, in these discussions, will be not only to teach you how to avoid plagiarism and how to cite sources but also to initiate you into the contemporary discussion of intellectual property and the nuanced dynamics between individuality, authorship, and what’s sometimes called intertextuality so that you can make informed and thoughtful choices about your writing for the rest of your university career and later in life.


The Grade of “Incomplete”:

If a student has a legitimate excuse for being unable to complete all of the work for a course, the instructor can give that student an “I” (Incomplete) on the final grade sheet. If the student does not complete the work and the instructor does not change the grade, however, that grade will revert to an F. The deadline for addressing incompletes varies each semester but is usually about one month after the final exam period. Before a student is given an “I,” the instructor will confirm with the student––in writing––exactly what the student needs to finish and retain a dated copy of this correspondence in the event that the student misses the deadline and then expresses confusion about the new grade of “F.”


Students with Special Needs:

Students who need special help with the course, such as note-taking, free tutoring, additional time, and/or a distraction-reduced environment for tests and final exams, may contact the Goldman Office of Disability Services (ODS), located in the Center for Educational Resources & Counseling (ERC). It is the responsibility of the student to register a disability with ODS, to make a specific request for accommodations, and to submit all required documentation. On a case-by-case basis, ODS staff determine disability status, accommodation needs supported by the documentation, and accommodations reasonable for the University to provide. University faculty and staff, in collaboration with ODS, are then responsible for providing the approved accommodations. ODS is located in the ERC on the 1st floor of the Science and Engineering Lab Complex, Building (#14). Please visit the ODS website for more detailed information, including registration forms and disability documentation guidelines: http://tulane.edu/studentaffairs/erc/services/disabilityserviceshome.cfm



Participation Points:

This class is a workshop; therefore, I expect to participate daily. Disruptive behavior may result in your permanent removal from the class. Unprofessional classroom behavior includes creating disturbances in class, using a cell phone (talking, texting, or surfing the web), sleeping in class (I will ask you to leave and mark you absent for the day), leaving early, and arriving late. Please be on time, be prepared, remain until I dismiss the class, and be considerate of your classmates. During each unit, I will award 1 point to reflect your participation, which will include the two peer reviews you do on each other’s major papers. The following is a general rubric for the class participation grade:




1

Student is productive and participates on a regular basis; student is prepared for class; student is a positive influence on the class.

0

Student is disruptive, disrespectful (sleeping, texting, etc), or unprepared in class; student has multiple unexcused absences; student rarely participates.


Please note that you will lose 1 point from your final essay grade if you fail to bring a rough draft of at least 3 typed pages to the peer-review workshop, so a paper awarded 14 points out of 15 would then receive a grade of 13. If you know will be absent on the day of a peer-review workshop, please make arrangements with me in advance so that your essay can still be included and you will not lose points.
Essay Submissions and Late Work Policy:

All written assignments must be typed and double-spaced. Pages (always hard copy) should be numbered and held together by a staple. Your papers must be stapled before you come to class to be accepted. Your name, my name, the name of the assignment, and the date should appear in the upper left corner of the first page of the essay, per MLA style.


Hard copies of essays are due at the beginning of class on the appointed date. I accept late papers only in the case of excused absences. Any major assignment not submitted at the appointed time due to an unexcused absence will lose two points per class period it is late. That is, if you hand in work that would otherwise receive 13/15, it automatically moves to 11/15 and so forth per class period it is late. A short paper submitted late will be marked down one point per class period it is late. Note: after three class periods, a short paper that has not been submitted will receive an automatic zero. I provide minimal margin comments on late work, so please make sure to submit your work at the appointed time. “Computer malfunction,” while unfortunate, is not an acceptable excuse for late work. There are plenty of computers and printers at Howard-Tilton, so if you experience problems with your personal computer, there are many alternatives.
Writing Center:

The University provides a free Writing Center for all Tulane students interested in receiving extra, guided assistance with all aspects of the writing process. If you choose to visit the Writing Center, be sure to bring a copy of the assignment with you. The Writing Center is located on the first floor of the Mechanical Engineering Building. You should call 865-5103 to schedule an appointment.


Rubric for Analysis Paper (15 points possible)

Content:Insights are …


many, complex, ambitious, surprising, and carefully situated among readings 3

somewhat familiar, few in number, simpler, and with limited relation to readings 2

only slight extensions of class discussion without real engagement with readings 1

discernible only as repetition of class discussion without relevance to reading 0


Complexity:The paper as a whole offers …


several insights disrupt a common-sense, first-glance at what’s analyzed 3

a few insights that shift the reader’s experience of what’s analyzed 2

only one insight that offers little by way of new perspective on what’s analyzed 1

no new insights at all 0


Coherence/Arrangement:Focus is …


an elegant juxtaposition of the entity under analysis with the context enabling analysis 3

a more haphazard articulation of the dynamic between analyzed text and context 2

an awkward, even jumbled rotating between text and context 1

no discernible relation between what’s analyzed and the context enabling analysis 0


Coherence/Style:Sentences are…


varied in distinctive, consistent, original voice and memorable phrases 3

is less varied, voice less distinctive, occasional lapsing into the less-than-graceful 2

sentence-structure repetitive, dull, and often awkward 1

several sentences sufficiently ill-formed to distract reader from intended message 0


Clarity: The prose has…


No errors 3

only a few, very minor errors 2

a few errors that significantly distract the reader 1

several errors that significantly distract the reader 0


Rubric for Problem/Solution Paper (15 points possible)

Content:Ideas are …


many, complex, ambitious, surprising, carefully situated among readings 3

somewhat familiar, few in number, simpler, with limited relation to readings 2

only slight extensions of class discussion without real engagement readings 1

discernible only as repetition of class discussion without relevance to reading 0


Complexity:The Paper as a Whole Offers …


timely, passionate, uniquely voiced articulation of an intricately logical conflict 3

less urgently felt, more generalized articulation of a simpler issue 2

flat rehearsal of fairly obvious truisms 1

a complete absence of any engagement with the potentials of the assignment 0


Coherence/Arrangement: Focus is …


achieved through many subtle strategies of coherence, cohesion, and emphasis 3

sustained but a few, rather minor transitions could be improved 2

compromised by more than one very abrupt, graceless transition 1

not achieved because strategies of coherence, cohesion, and balance too seldom used 0


Coherence/Style:Sentences are …


varied in distinctive, consistent, original voice and memorable phrases 3

is less varied, voice less distinctive, occasional lapsing into the less-than-graceful 2

sentence-structure repetitive, dull, and often awkward 1

several sentences sufficiently ill-formed to distract reader from intended message 0


Clarity:The Prose has …


No errors 3

only a few, very minor errors 2

a few errors that significantly distract the reader 1

several errors that significantly distract the reader 0



Rubric for Classic Argument (15 possible points)

Content:Claim is …


important, delivered with sufficient warrants and evidence to be persuasive 3

not as important, nor crafted well enough to be altogether persuasive 2

delivered with an argument too flawed to be persuasive at all 1

not discernible, nor is any argumentative craft 0


Complexity:Argument …


is multi-dimensional, re: kinds of evidence, warrants, and counter-arguments 3

offers more limited evidence, warrants, counter-arguments 2

is weakened by overmuch simplicity in evidence, warrants, counterarguments 1

is missing a key element, either evidence, warrants, or counterarguments 0


Coherence / Arrangement:Argument …


follows the “they say, I say” template and larger craft with subtlety and elegance 3

follows the template and elements of craft more formulaically 2

follows the template and elements of craft almost not at all 1

is unformed 0


Coherence / Style: Sentences are …


varied in distinctive, consistent, original voice and memorable phrases 3

is less varied, voice less distinctive, occasional lapsing into the less-than-graceful 2

sentence-structure repetitive, dull, and often awkward 1

several sentences sufficiently ill-formed to distract reader from intended message 0


Clarity: The Prose has …


No errors 3

only a few, very minor errors 2

a few errors that significantly distract the reader 1

several errors that significantly distract the reader 0


Rubric for Research Paper (15 points possible)

Content:The Topic …


has been articulated as important question that the research answers 3

has either not yielded an important question or research that answers it 2

has neither yielded an important question nor any research that answers it 1

is never defined adequately nor linked to any relevant research 0


Complexity:The Research question …


has multi-dimensional, contestable answers and implications 3

has a simpler array of answers and few implications 2

has only one, incontestable answer and one implication 1

has no conclusive answer nor any clear implications 0


Coherence/Arrangement:The Movement …


from important question to researched answers is subtle and engaging 3

from important question to research answer is simpler, more abrupt 2

from important question to researched answer breaks into two halves 1

from important question to research answer is never made 0


Coherence / Style:Sentences are …


varied in distinctive, consistent, original voice and memorable phrases 3

is less varied, voice less distinctive, occasional lapsing into the less-than-graceful 2

sentence-structure repetitive, dull, and often awkward 1

several sentences sufficiently ill-formed to distract reader from intended message 0


Clarity: The Prose has …


No errors 3

only a few, very minor errors 2

a few errors that significantly distract the reader 1

several errors that significantly distract the reader 0



Readings and Assignments
This is a Tentative Schedule for the semester. It is your responsibility to know about changes to the schedule, which will be announced in class and posted to the Assignment/Announcements area of Blackboard.
Week 1

Monday, Jan. 14

Introduction to course and discussion of syllabus.



  • Homework for Wednesday: Read Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, pp. 541-545; pp. 73-75 re/logos, pathos, and ethos; pp. 37-40 re/paraphrasing vs. summarizing.


Wednesday, Jan. 16

Answer any syllabus questions. Discuss readings, figurative language (#1 p. 544), and respond in writing to #6 re/King’s speech on pp. 545.



  • Homework: Read Chris Rose’s piece, “Tutti Frutti,” posted on Blackboard. Short paper #1––Summarize the essay in one paragraph of at least 5 sentences (half a page) in which you identify his thesis. Bring to class Friday.


Friday, Jan. 18

Read several student summaries and discuss logos, pathos, and ethos in Rose essay. Discuss instructions for Analysis essay.


Week 2

Monday, Jan.21

DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., HOLIDAY


Wednesday, Jan. 23

Discuss second Chris Rose essay on post-Katrina New Orleans (to be determined.)



  • Homework: Read Tara McPherson’s “No Natural Disaster: New Orleans, Katrina, and War,” posted on Blackboard, and bring that essay to class Friday. Short paper #2––Bring a paragraph-by-paragraph summary (one page) to class Friday. Use one sentence to summarize each paragraph.


Friday, Jan. 25

Discuss McPherson’s essay and have several students share summaries.



  • Homework: Read Judith Jackson Fossett’s essay, “Sold Down the River,” posted on Blackboard, and bring that essay to class Monday. Short paper #3––Bring a one-sentence paragraph-by-paragraph summary (one page) of the essay to class Monday, along with your summary of McPherson’s essay.


Week 3

Monday, Jan. 28

Discuss Fossett essay and have several students share summaries.



  • Homework: Write a draft of analysis essay and bring to class Wednesday.


Wednesday, Jan. 30

Peer review: have a classmate read draft and answer questions.



  • Homework: Revise draft and bring new version to class Friday for peer review.


Friday, Feb. 1

Peer review: have a second classmate read draft. Discuss style and grammar basics [to be determined].



  • Homework: Revise draft and bring final version to class Monday along with A Commonsense Guide to Grammar and Usage.


Week 4

Monday, Feb. 4

    • ANALYSIS ESSAY DUE (at least 4 pages): at beginning of class.

Discuss Problem/Solution instructions and cover components of P/S essays generally. Discuss example of Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson.

  • Homework: Read Peggy McIntosh’s essay, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” posted on BB. Identify and write down five problems from your community regarding race that concern you. REMINDER: This paper will serve as the genesis for your Research Paper, which you will write at the end of the semester, so pick a topic that interests you personally.


Wednesday, Feb. 6

Pick your top three topics and free write a paragraph regarding each. Share with class and discuss.



  • Homework: Pick your topic for Problem/Solution essay. Short paper #1––In at least one and a half pages, offer a solution to it (i.e., state your thesis) and bring to class Friday.


Friday, Feb. 8

Small group work: Share short papers with each other and identify a counterargument in one classmate’s paper. Present informally the counterargument you identify.


Week 5

Monday, Feb. 11

MARDI GRAS HOLIDAY


Wednesday, Feb. 13

Work on outline for P/S paper.



  • Homework: Read section on definitions and assumptions, pp. 76-82, and rational appeals, pp. 88-99. Short paper #2—Bring outline (at least one and a half pages) of P/S paper to class Friday.

Friday, Feb. 15

Discuss definitions, assumptions, and rational appeals. Introduce non-rational appeals, pp. 99-102, and discuss satire in context of a P/S paper.



  • Homework: Read Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal,” pp. 217-224. Short paper #3—Identify P/S components of Swift’s satire and bring to class Monday (one page).


Week 6

Monday, Feb. 18

Discuss “A Modest Proposal.” Work on draft of P/S paper.



  • Homework: Read Jeff Jacoby’s “Bring Back Flogging,” pp. 192-194.


Wednesday, Feb. 20

Answer question #3 on p. 194, in which you take a position pro or con re/flogging.



  • Homework: Write a draft of P/S paper and bring to class Monday.


Friday, Feb. 22

Peer review.

Homework: Revise draft and bring new version to class Wednesday.
Week 7

Monday, Feb. 25

Peer review. Sign up for mid-semester conferences with me.



  • Homework: Using classmate’s comments, revise draft and bring final version to class Friday along with Commonsense Guide to Grammar.


Wednesday, Feb. 27

  • PROBLEM/SOLUTION ESSAY DUE (4 pp). Discuss style, particularly reducing forms of “to be” and passive voice.

  • Homework: Read material on premises, syllogisms, deduction, sound arguments, and induction, pp. 82-88.


Friday, Mar. 1

Discuss examples of induction and deduction as well as instructions for Classic Argument. Sign up for mid-semester conferences with me.



  • Homework: Read Robert M. Gates’ editorial, “A Better Missile Defense for a Safer Europe” (posted on Blackboard).


Week 8

Monday, Mar. 4

Discuss Gates editorial as an example of inductive reasoning.



  • Homework: Read Ana Lisa Raya’s “It’s Hard Enough Being Me,” pp. 119-121. Short paper #1––In at least one and a half pages, answer #3 on p. 121 and bring to class Wednesday.



Wednesday, Mar. 6

Discuss Raya essay as an example of deductive reasoning and have three students volunteer to read their responses.



  • Homework: Read Toulmin section, pp. 337-342.



Friday, Mar. 8

No class: conferences in my office.


Week 9

Monday, Mar. 11

Discuss Toulmin terminology.



  • Homework: Read Susan Jacoby’s essay, “First Amendment Junkie,” pp. 342-344.


Wednesday, Mar. 13

Discuss application of Toulmin terminology to “A First Amendment Junkie.”



  • Homework: Read Michael Dukasis and Daniel J. B. Mitchell’s essay, “Raise Wages, Not Walls,” pp. 345-347. Short paper #2––Answer questions on pp. 347-348 and bring to class Friday. This should be at least one page.


Friday, Mar. 15

Discuss Toulim terminology in connection w/Dukakis and Mitchell essay.



  • Homework: Brainstorm on topic for Classic Argument using invention method of your choice. Bring to class Monday.


Week 10

Monday, Mar. 18

Writing workshop: break into small groups and share topics. Respond in writing to each other’s topics.



  • Homework: Short paper #3––Do an outline of Classic Argument (at least one page) and bring to class Friday.


Wednesday, Mar. 20

Work on draft of Classic Argument in class.



  • Homework: Revise draft and bring new version to class Friday for peer review.


Friday, Mar. 22

Peer review.



  • Homework: Revise draft and bring final version along with Commonsense Guide to Grammar to class Wednesday after Spring Break.


Week 11

Monday, Mar. 25

SPRING BREAK



Wednesday, Mar. 27

SPRING BREAK


Friday, Mar. 29

SPRING BREAK


Week 12

Monday, Apr. 1

SPRING BREAK


Wednesday, Apr. 3

  • CLASSIC ARGUMENT DUE (4 pp.). Discuss Research Paper instructions as well as source citation, plagiarism, and the Newcomb-Tulane Code of Academic Conduct.

  • Homework: Do online plagiarism quiz and send a screen shot of results to me.


Friday, Apr. 5

Discuss parenthetical citation, MLA format, and the Works Cited page.


Week 13

Monday, Apr. 8

Library visit for research tutorial.



  • Homework: Print and bring to class seven possible sources for research paper. Short paper#1––Write a one-sentence summary (half a page) of each source and bring to class.



Wednesday, Apr. 10

Pick which five sources you plan to use and write down why/how each one pertains to your thesis.



  • Homework: Short paper #2––Do an annotated bibliography of at least three sentences (half a page) for each source and bring to class Friday along with Commonsense Approach to Grammar.


Friday, Apr. 12

Work on incorporating sources into Paper #2.



  • Homework: Read James Baldwin’s “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?” and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.,’s “Whose Culture Is It, Anyway?” (both posted on BB). Short paper #3––Compare and contrast Baldwin and Gates’ essays (at least one page) and bring to class Monday.


Week 14

Monday, Apr. 15

Discuss Baldwin and Gates essays.



  • Homework: Read Arundhati Roy’s “The Algebra of Infinite Justice” (on BB).


Wednesday, Apr. 17

Discuss Roy essay.



  • Homework: Read Edward Said’s “Blind Imperial Arrogance” (on BB).


Friday, Apr. 19

Discuss Said essay.



  • Homework: Read excerpt from Lawrence Powell’s book, The Accidental City (on BB).


Week 15

Monday, Apr. 22

Discuss Powell piece.



  • Homework: Write a five-page draft of research paper and bring to class Wednesday.


Wednesday, Apr. 24

Peer review.



  • Homework: Revise draft and bring new version to class Friday.


Friday, Apr. 26

Peer review.



  • Homework: Revise draft and bring final version to class Monday.


Week 16

Monday, Apr. 29

  • RESEARCH PAPER due (6 pp.). Have a great break!

Appendix: Freshman Writing Essay Outcomes
In this course, students should learn how to write a superior paper suitable for their course-work in the university.  All superior papers demonstrate a preponderance of the attributes listed below.  The difference between an A and a B paper will depend upon the degree to which the paper achieves these outcomes.  An inferior paper exhibits relatively few of these attributes.  The difference between a C, D, or F paper depends upon the degree to which the paper fails to achieve these outcomes.  Each instructor will elaborate a grading rubric based on this framework.

 1.  The paper is organized around an arguable thesis statement.  It uses textual analysis or scholarly research to pinpoint a controversial or inadequately understood problem. The introductory paragraph indicates the purpose of the argument for specific audiences and suggests the significance of the problem. In other words, if the paper is for the analysis unit or the research unit, rather than the argument unit, it should nonetheless present and support a contestable thesis, for all academic writing constitutes ‘argument’ in this broad sense. In the argument unit itself, papers will develop arguments in more narrowly defined, formal ways of the sort associated with the major templates for arguments (Toulmin, Graff-Berkenstein). 

 2. The thesis statement guides the development of the argument in a logical way.  The topic sentences of the paragraphs supporting the thesis statement articulate the logical steps in the argument.

 3. Each paragraph develops a step in the logic of the argument and moves the discussion to the next step.  Paragraphs are unified around a topic sentence, and the topic sentences of the paper, taken together, form the spine of the argument.   

 4.   The argument develops by taking into account objections and counterarguments that add complexity.  Claims are substantiated by valid warrants, from expert sources as required. Complexity is also achieved through a sustained engagement with various invention strategies, so that arguments are rich, nuanced, and thoughtful, not superficial or formulaic.

 5.  The conclusion to the paper may have been telegraphed in the introduction, but this paragraph synthesizes and summarizes the findings of the essay, while indicating their significance. Ideally, it will indicate some avenues for further research and discussion.



 6.  All papers are expected to conform to MLA style and to avoid grammatical and stylistic errors. 

In addition to the four major essay assignments, instructors will assign short assignments to improve student facility with one or another of the building blocks of the superior paper.


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