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Week 1 - Assessing Writing Situations - Part 1

Week 1 - Assessing Writing Situations - Part 1 - Week 1...

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Week 1: Assessing Writing Situations - What is rhetoric?
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Introduction Regardless of the writing task, whether it’s a business memo, research essay, cover letter, police report, or instructional guide, writers must understand the rhetorical context of a situation. Too often students launch themselves into writing tasks to please themselves. In doing so, they neglect their composition’s purpose, their audience, and a series of important questions that must be answered before one word is written. This week we’ll begin exploring what rhetoric is and establish a foundation for our semester.
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Consider these questions for reflection… What is rhetoric? In what contexts to do we hear the word “rhetoric”? What connotations does the word “rhetoric” carry?
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Consider these questions for reflection… Why is the word “rhetoric” so frequently misunderstood? How do you get people to cooperate with you? When was the last time you persuaded someone? How did you persuade that person?
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Some connotations of the word “rhetoric” Ahhh…that’s just empty rhetoric. The Declaration of Independence is a great example of rhetoric. Well, that’s a rhetorical question that can’t be answered. John’s sister is studying classical rhetoric at Harvard. UB offers a class in visual and verbal rhetoric. The candidate’s rhetorical skills mesmerized the audience.
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Why is “rhetoric” so often misunderstood or confused? The word carries different denotative meanings. Rhetorical contexts are at least partially determined by one’s culture. Therefore, such contexts are dynamic and constantly changing. The study of rhetoric has a long history reaching as far back as ancient Greece and Rome. Contemporary scholars are constantly molding the study of rhetoric. The academic discipline of rhetoric has been consumed by other academic departments such as English Departments.
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What is rhetoric?
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