You are required to have the following two texts. These are both translations from the Greek. You must have this particular translation for the course (eBooks or PDFs are acceptable):
Both texts are included in Plato: Complete Works, if you have that text from another class.
|Assignment Name||Percentage Value||Due Date|
|Self-paced Writing Exercises||20%||Weekly|
|Position Paper #1||25%||10.15.2021|
|Position Paper #2||25%||11.05.2021|
Self-paced Writing Exercises (12)
Each week on Wednesday, you will complete a self-paced writing exercise designed to further your understanding of academic writing and prepare you for the task of completing your final research project. These exercises are in support of this courses “Writing Intensive” designation.
The list of writing exercises is at the bottom of this document.
Grading for Writing Exercises
I will be marking your writing exercises as “satisfactory” and “unsatisfactory.” A mark of “unsatisfactory” will be accompanied by comments on how to improve the exercise. If you wish to change an “unsatisfactory” to a “satisfactory,” you may revise your document along the lines of my comments and email me the updated exercise. Assuming the changes are now “satisfactory,” the mark will be changed.
Position Paper (2)
Twice (in weeks 7 and 10), you will produce a short paper (2-3 pages, double-spaced) that takes a position on a particular selection from one of the texts we have read so far in class.
These papers will cover material that has already been discussed in class but has not been covered by a position paper. The first paper, due at the start of week 6, will cover material from the first five weeks of class. The second paper will cover texts from week 6 through week 11.
These position papers ask you to show insights and raise questions in response to the reading and course discussions. Papers that merely summarize an argument or restate the selected passage will receive a failing grade. You need to explain why the passage in question is thought-provoking, or unsettling, or unclear and suggest how you respond to this challenge.
To clarify, this assignment asks you to pick one key point in the text, ideally a single quote or, if not possible, a single very specific claim that is advanced in a few places, and traces why that claim is controversial or challenging. The best papers will also articulate your opinion about the issue or explain why the issue is controversial.
This paper is not intended as a summary of the reading or an overview of the author’s life. I am looking for focused, detailed engagement with specific aspects of the text.
Several successful papers this semester have also related very specific elements of the texts in question to contemporary issues. This is also acceptable, but, again, the idea is to show me you can identify a controversial claim being made in the reading and why that claim is controversial.
For a final project, you will be asked to create an artifact that documents the research you have been doing this semester. As a baseline, the artifact should be a 10 page research paper that is well-cited and thoroughly-documented. You can treat the paper as a report-style document, often called a literature review in the business, which is a document reporting on the state of research into a particular topic. This is still a composed essay, so you will need to work out a thesis and draw conclusions.
If, however, you would like to write something more argumentative, you may also complete a thesis-driven essay that argues for a particular point. Is Apuleius more influenced by Aristotle than previously thought? Argue that! Do you see a comparison between St. Augustine and Gorgias no one has noticed before? Argue that! Is there a contemporary text or figure how reminds you of one of the ancient rhetoricians we have studied? Argue that!
Finally, if you would like to explore argumentation outside of academic prose, that is fine. Would you like to write a short story about a medieval initiate monk learning rhetoric for the first time? Cool! Do you want to make a video explaining a Cicero speech that seems relevant to contemporary topics? Do it! If you take the creative route, I would ask you submit a two page paper detailing your thinking in creating the artifact and citing some sources you based your project on.
There is a list of possible topics below, but feel free to propose via email some other topic you would like to explore in your paper.
- Hellenistic Rhetoric
- Roman Rhetoric
- Cicero, On Invention
- Cicero, On the Orator
- Cicero, Orator
- Cicero, Speeches
- Cato the Elder
- Dionysius of Halicarnassus
- Seneca the Elder
- The Second Sophistic
- Christian Rhetoric
- St. Augustine
- Gregory of Nazianzus
- Classical Tradition and Early Christianity
- Rhetorical Education in any of the above periods (BE SPECIFIC)
- Survival and Transmission of Classical Rhetoric
- Medieval Rhetorical Practice
- Early Modern Engagements with Rhetorical Theory
- Early Modern Rhetorical Education
Texts to Get Started With
- George A. Kennedy, A New History of Classical Rhetoric
- James Herrick, The History and Theory of Rhetoric
Unit 1 – First Unit
Week 1 – First Week
- Lecture: “What Is Rhetoric?”
- Lecture: Pericles I
- Read: Pericles, “Funeral Oration”
- Lecture: Pericles II
- Lecture: Dissoi Logoi I
- Read: Anonymous, Dissoi Logoi
- Lecture: Dissoi Logoi II
- Lecture: Gorgias I
- Read: Gorgias, “Encomium for Helen”
- Lecture: Gorgias II
- Lecture: Plato, Gorgias I
- Read: 447a-468b
- Lecture: Plato, Gorgias II
- Read: 468b-486d
- Lecture: Plato, Gorgias III
- Read: 486d-506b
- Lecture: Plato, Gorgias IV
- Read: 506b-End
- Lecture: Isocrates
- Read: “Against the Sophists”
- Lecture: Alcidamas
- Read: Alcidamas, “Against the Sophists”
- Position Paper #1 Due
- Lecture: Plato, Phaedrus I
- Read: 227a-244a
- Lecture: Plato, Phaedrus II
- Read: 244a-257c
- Lecture: Plato, Phaedrus III
- Read: 257c-274b
- Lecture: Plato, Phaedrus IV
- Read: 274b-End
- Lecture: Aristotle I
- Read: Aristotle, Book I: All Chapters
- Lecture: Aristotle II
- Read: Aristotle, Book II: Chapters 1-3, 12-13, 18-25
- Position Paper #2 Due
- Lecture: Aristotle III
- Read: Aristotle, Book III: Chapters 1-2, 13
- Lecture: Aristotle IV
- Lecture: Rhetorica ad Herennium I
- Read: Rhetorica ad Herennium, Book 1
- Lecture: Rhetorica ad Herennium II
- Final Project Introduction
- Work On Your Projects
- Work On Your Projects
- Work On Your Projects
- Final Project Due at 11:59PM
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Exercise 1 - Introductions
Introduce yourself! For this first writing exercise, please provide the following information:
- Your name
- Your pronouns
- Your major and year
- Your favorite book and briefly why
- Your interest in rhetoric or why you took the course
- Your previous experiences with rhetoric, either at Texas A&M or elsewhere
When you have answered these questions, submit your document on the dropbox on Canvas.
Exercise 2 - Definitions of Rhetoric
We talked last week about the origins of the term “rhetoric.” This course will concern itself with the mostly messy, often contradictory history of this term. One consequence of this history is that definitions of the term “rhetoric” proliferate. Here are a couple of my favorite:
- “For he is the best orator who by speaking both teaches, and delights, and moves the minds of his hearers.” (Cicero)
- The Orator is “a good man speaking well.” (Quintilian)
- “The duty and office of Rhetoric is to apply Reason to Imagination for the better moving of the will.” (Francis Bacon)
- “Rhetoric is the art which seeks to capture in opportune moments that which is appropriate and attempts to suggest that which is possible.” (John Poulakos)
For today’s exercise:
- Having read the above definitions, pick the one you find most compelling (“compelling” here can be good or bad).
- Write a few paragraphs explaining in detail what it is about this definition that compels you. Be specific
- Use Google to find out a bit about the speaker (making sure you get the correct Francis Bacon; there are two famous people with that name!)
- Note some sources you used in a paragraph, commenting on what was good or bad about the source (you don’t have to use proper citations at this point).
- Write a paragraph or two explaining if the time period or biographical information clarifies your understanding of the definition. If so, how? If not, why not?
You should have around one to two pages of double-spaced writing at this point. If not, make sure you have explained your position and your research with enough thoroughness. Then submit to the Dropbox on Canvas.
Read “The Cost of Achieving Community: Pericles’ Funeral Oration” by Jim Mackin, which concerns itself with some of the rhetorical aspects of Pericles’ speech. What, to your reading, is the most controversial claim made in the text?
Quote the claim in the text (again, not worrying yet about citing it properly). Use a block quote if the selection is longer than four lines, otherwise quote your selection using quotation marks.
After the quote, explain why you chose it as controversial? Do you agree with the claim? Do you disagree? What criteria helped you decide what was controversial? Did the author signal that this claim was controversial or are you basing your selection off of your personal interests?
Write up your answer to these questions in a 1-2 page set of notes (don’t worry about it being a formal essay) and submit to the dropbox on Canvas.
Think about three topics you could use for the first position paper and analyze them given the rubric described in the above chapter. Which do you think is most effective? Why?
Write up your answer, including the three possible topics, as a 1-2 page collection of notes and submit to the dropbox on Canvas.
Given the three topics you outlined in last week’s assignments, what kind of evidence would you need to argue for the controversial nature of each? Using the methods described in this chapter, create three rough outlines of the position paper you would write based on each claim.
Now, which one seems like the most compelling? Which will make the strongest first paper? Why?
Along with the three outlines, include some thoughts on the above list of questions and submit the whole thing to the dropbox on Canvas.
This will be the final writing exercise in preparation for the first position paper. Writing Exercise 7 will be peer review for this paper.
With this exercise, we will be shifting to the research paper, to be completed at the end of the semester.
One of the first tasks of a scholar is positioning their work within the conversation. And to do that, a scholar must have some understand of the state of the field. There are many ways to do this, but a quick one is to use various reference works designed to help situate new researchers within a topic.
For this exercise, I have provided on Canvas a chapter from The Present State of Scholarship in the History of Rhetoric (3rd Edition; 2010) that summarizes work done on the classical period (Greek and Roman rhetoric, which is the topic of the research project). Read over this document, which includes an extensive bibliography, and write up some notes on two topics:
- What was it like reading this kind of document? Have you read something like this before? Did you find it helpful? Or confusing? What jargon did the document use?
- What topics interested you? What would you like to know more about? Why?
Submit your notes on these two topics to the dropbox on Canvas.
Conducting peer review is an important part of the writing process, even though it often feels like a chore. The reason being that, as we write, we often do not see the parts of our paper that don’t make sense or have grammatical errors and so forth because we are so familiar with what we are trying to say that it blocks us from seeing what we did say. Thus, getting someone else to look over our paper can greatly help clarify and improve our argumentation.
For this week’s exercise, arrange with two classmates to exchange drafts (you can do this virtually or in person) and read each others’ documents over. There is a peer review checklist posted to Canvas. You will complete this document for each of your two peers, provide copies to your two peers, and turn in the checklists you completed to the dropbox on Canvas for credit on this lab.
You have been provided a list of topics for the research paper. How are you going to choose which to write about? Becoming familiar with unfamiliar topics is key to starting the research process. Perhaps something I’ve said in class sparked your interest? Perhaps you encountered something reading from The Present State of Scholarship in the History of Rhetoric about which you’d like to know more?
In any case, for this writing exercise, spend some time researching the list of provided topics. Wikipedia is an excellent source for starting research, as is The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
If you have another topic in mind, spend some time with the list nonetheless, but also do some more background work on your proposed topic.
Write up, in the form of notes, an account of your research. What sources did you consult? What else do you want to know?
Conclude by picking a topic (I won’t hold you to it at this point) and discussing why you chose what you chose.
Now that you have a topic in mind, it’s time to start doing some research. Finding sources can be baffling at first, especially for a paper such as our research assignment.
There are a few things to remember and some tools that can help:
Kinds of Sources
When we talk about citing sources in a research paper, we mean two things: primary sources and secondary sources. Primary sources refer to texts from the period in question. So, for instance, in our course, Plato’s Phaedrus would be a primary source, as it was from ancient Greece and about rhetoric. Jacques Derrida’s “Plato’s Pharmacy” is a secondary source, as it is a work of criticism about a primary source.
We also have to evaluate the scholarly nature of our secondary sources. As a rule, we want scholarly sources that have been peer-reviewed, so books published by university presses (they mostly have “university” in the name of the publisher, though Routledge, Bloomsbury Academic, and Palgrave Macmillan are considered scholarly as well) or journals that have peer-reviewed their articles. Articles published in national news magazines (such as Time or The Atlantic) can usually be used as a secondary source. The big questions to ask when evaluating the scholarly nature of a secondary source include “who published this?,” “who wrote this (and what is their job)?,” “does this seem like an authoritative publication?,” “is the article advocating a particularly biased opinion or using a neutral tone to convey knowledge?” (the latter is preferable).
We treat our sources differently depending on their character. Primary sources are examples: they show cultural or philosophical or other attitudes at a time and a place. For instance, I could cite a science fiction novel about alien invasion as an example of Cold War paranoia but I could not cite it as an example that pod people walk among us. Secondary sources are treated as authoritative voices in our text, they support our arguments by adding the ethos of their authors, they provide a starting point (by providing our argument an entry point into the conversation), or they provide us negative examples to bounce off of (by showing how existent scholarship is wrong or incomplete).
A Note on Wikipedia
Wikipedia is often, but not always, a well-researched compendium of human knowledge. As a rule, using it as a starting place, especially in topics like the history of rhetoric and philosophy which tend to be pretty robust on the site, is advisable, but verify with a scholarly source anything you find on Wikipedia. Don’t cite Wikipedia as an authority.
The best way to find scholarly sources for your research is Google Scholar. It is a search engine for scholarly sources and indexes most academic journals and scholarly books. Use it as you would Google, though the indexing on Google Scholar does tend toward STEM fields, so sometimes you have to be creative in your terms. As this research paper draws from fairly specific classical terminology, you shouldn’t have that problem, but you will most likely want to include “rhetoric” in your search terms, so that you have some scope of the problem.
You may also want to think about related searches as you conduct research. Are their particular people associated with your topic who you could also search for? Are their concepts related to your topic that you could also search for? Can you find general information about the period in a more broadly scoped textbook to include? Get creative with the searches you are conducting!
Sources indexed by Google Scholar may not necessarily be open access, so the task falls to you to acquire the pieces you have found. Thankfully, Texas A&M Libraries makes this fairly easy.
As an example, I’m going to search for phaedrus rhetoric in Google Scholar. It produces several results, which you can see below:
The four results are:
- The Rhetoric of Morality and Philosophy: Plato’s Gorgias and Phaedrus by S. Bernadete
- “Plato’s Denunciation of Rhetoric in the Phaedrus” by B. McAdon
- Rhetoric and Reality in Plato’s “Phaedrus” by D.A. White
- “Disputation, Deception, and Dialectic: Plato on the True Rhetoric (‘Phaedrus’ 261-266)” by J.S. Murray
Results 1 and 3 are tagged
[BOOK] by the results, so we can assume they are printed books. Results 2 and 4 are not tagged at all, so we know they are journal articles. Below the titles, the publication information is listed. Result 2 was published in Rhetoric Review in 2004 and Result 4 was published in Philosophy & Rhetoric in 1988.
So, how to get those?
We are in luck, as Result 2 (the McAdon article) has “Full View” as a link option to the right of the main result column. That means Google Scholar has found a copy of the article on the web. We can click it and read about denunciation (though, being a journal article, the piece will likely have an abstract, which we should read first to determine its relevance to our research).
However, Result 4 (the Murray article) does not have a “Full View” option. To access it, we must turn to the library’s page, specifically the list of electronic journal. We can search for “Philosophy and Rhetoric,” which produces the following results:
The first result reads:
JSTOR Arts and Sciences VIII open_in_new Available from 1968/01/01 volume: 1 issue: 1 Most recent 4 year(s) not available
And the second reads:
Project Muse Premium Collection open_in_new Available from 1999 volume: 32 issue: 2
Both results list the restrictions on that particular collection. JSTOR does not have recent articles, which does not matter to us because our article was published in 1988. Project MUSE has recent articles but does not have anything before 1999. So, it looks like we should click on the JSTOR result.
On the JSTOR page for Philosophy & Rhetoric, we find the list of all issues, expanding on “1980s” and finding four issues for 1988. If we click on all of them, we eventually find the Murray article in Vol. 21, No. 4. We can download the PDF of the article or read it online, as we prefer (though the PDFs let you highlight and copy text, so they can be useful for transcribing quotes).
Note: If you cannot find access to a journal through the A&M library, you can use ILL (discussed below to get a copy of the journal article from another library).
Finding a Book
Now that we found a journal article in one of Texas A&M’s library databases, how to find the book? We have two options:
- Go to the library
- Use ILL to access the book
Finding Books in the Library
To find out if A&M owns the book in question and if the book is not checked out, search in the catalog using the search box provided on the front page.
If I search for our third search result from Google Scholar (Rhetoric and Reality in Plato’s “Phaedrus” by D.A. White), I get the following:
I get two results. The first is listed as an eBook and the second is a book.
So it looks like, if I want, I can avoid going outside today and just get the eBook. But, say I really want to smell old paper and feel the rough pages of the book as I read. The second result indicates the book is available (Green status with “Available”) and that the call number is B380 .W48 1993 in Evans Library.
When I get to Evans, I would consult the guide by the elevators to know which floor I need to go to (I believe B is on Floor Six) and head out for my book.
You may check out books at the circulation desk on the ground floor of Evans library or at any of the self-checkout kiosks throughout the library. If you decide you don’t want a book, find the re-shelving areas around the library and a library worker will re-shelve the book for you. Never re-shelve a book yourself, that’s how books get lost.
There are also scanners and photocopiers available around Evans, if you would like to make a digital or paper copy of part of the book.
We used the third result, because the first result from Google Scholar (The Rhetoric of Morality and Philosophy: Plato’s Gorgias and Phaedrus by S. Bernadete) produces the following results:
The first two results are listed as “Academic Journal Articles.” These are book reviews, which are other scholars discussing the merits of a work. Results like this mean A&M does not own the book in question.
To access it, we would need to use the Interlibrary Loan (or ILL) service. A&M can get most anything through ILL, if you are willing to wait for it. To access ILL, click here and log in. Once you are connected, in the left sidebar, you will see a number of options under “New Requests.”
ILL has many options for getting text. If you would like another library to send you a print book, click on “Book.” If you have access to the table of contents and know which section you would like (say one chapter or one article in an edited collection), click on “Book Chapter.” If you need a journal article, click on “Article.”
You will be taken to a form that will ask you some minimal information about the book. When you have completed it, the ILL office (who are amazing) will get on finding your text.
A couple of things to note:
- ILL is totally free for you to use
- You can access anything via ILL, not just stuff at other libraries
- They can pull books from the stacks and store them for you at the front circulation desk
- They can also scan chapters from books owned by A&M
- Electronic copies of articles or book chapters are always much faster than getting the physical book
- I have received requested chapters within 4 hours when the book is in A&M’s collection
Now that you know a bit about finding resources at A&M, begin to do some research for your paper. Identify four potential sources you would use based on the topic you have already selected. Write up how you can access them (if you need to go to the library or use ILL, you may want to start the process), so that you have them on-hand, as we will be working with these sources in Exercises 11 & 12.
Submit a 1-2 page document covering your sources, how you found them, and a paragraph or two about additional research you need to conduct for the research paper.
We will be conducting peer review for the second position paper this week. Once again, work with two other classmates to evaluate and improve one another’s work.
You will have the same peer review checklist as in Writing Exercise 7 on Canvas.
In addition to the two reports, you will also submit a document—one or two short paragraphs—, detailing what strategies you adopted this time, if any, to improve your peer review experience, either in soliciting feedback or giving better feedback. What else would you like to try?
Submit this reflection along with the two checklists you completed for your peers to the dropbox on Canvas.
Now that we have identified a number of sources, we need to focus on summarizing our sources. Summarizing is the process of condensing an argument into a focused set of sentences. These sentences need to be our own words, but can use light quoting, especially for key concepts introduced by the author of the text. Summarization serves a number of purposes, but the main one is reminding us of our own reading, answering “what was this article about, again?” Additionally, we can use these summaries we write in our own writing.
A summary needs to have two parts: an overview of the entire argument and an account of that argument’s use for our current research project. So, for instance, imagine you were reading an encyclopedia entry by a Dr. Joseph Palpatine on the topic of ancient rhetoric. The article has some particularly good stuff on the second sophistic, which is the topic of your research paper. You might write the following summary:
Palpatine offers a rich and detailed account of rhetoric in ancient Greece and Rome, paying special attention to Rome and both the republic and imperial periods. Palpatine places particular interest on rhetorical education and the ways in which young orators attained their training.
The entry offers a particularly good discussion of this period and it’s educational methods. Palpatine has a particularly striking defense of Philostratus, which will help in the section on the veracity of Lives of the Sophists. He suggests that while the lives may be based on heresay, they are our only source for information on the period and ignoring the accounts offered there will do more damage.
The first paragraph in my summary gives an overview of the article. The second focuses on what I’m interested in it for (the defense of Lives of the Sophists).
We write summaries in the way I described above because we need two things from them: to introduce a general summary of the work and to highlight what we are specifically interested in.
When I went to talk about Lives of the Sophists, I might add the following: “Palpatine, in an encyclopedia article on ancient rhetoric, defends Philostratus on the grounds that Lives of the Sophists is often our only source for information from the period.” So, I used my introductory paragraph to remind my readers what the overall argument of the piece was and to provide my particular interest in it.
If I had a source I wanted to discuss at more length, say some of the entries in Lives of the Sophists itself, I might need a longer summary, but I would still want to rely on my overall summary to frame the text when I first talk about it. This helps establish ethos by explaining to our readers what the text is and why they can trust what it says.
Taking the sources you find in the previous exercise, write short summaries for each. Try to give an account of what the article is about, including its most important claims. Remember that the summary needs to brief (4-5 sentences at most). Try to also include a second paragraph explaining your own interest in each source.
Submit these summaries to Canvas.
The final step to incorporating research material is citation. Citation practices are often discussed as a means of preventing plagiarism, which they are, of course, but, more importantly, citations allow later scholars to trace source material, verify our claims, and to extend the scholarly conversation we are participating in.
Purdue University’s OWL is one of the best resources on academic research writing. Review the following pages on the OWL covering MLA 9 citations:
- In-text Citation
- Formatting Quotations
- Pay special attention to the differences between block and inline quotes
- Endnotes and Footnotes
- Footnotes are often useful to quickly summarize a lot of research, especially when it isn’t directly relevant to your writing
- Works Cited Pages: Basics
After you have finished that reading, produce a works cited page for the sources you have been working with in the last few exercises. Submit this to Canvas.