Sunday, November 20, 2011

And finally...

So, your final reading this term was Willa Cather's "Tom Outland's Story," which brought our study of argument back to the region, in fact the state, in which we've been studying at New Mexico Tech.  What effect did this verisimillitude of place have on you, as you worked with the text and tried to bring some of its ideas/arguments into communication with others we've studied this term. Did this "in our place," in New Mexico, component of Cather's story have any impact on your reading, interpretation, or application if it?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Readings this semester

This semester, you've read a wide array of texts, from speeches, to poems, to short stories, to polemical political essays. Of all of these, which text was your favorite and why? What did it teach you about crafting a written argument?

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Amy Tan writes about the various "Englishes" she has encountered in her life and how access to power in America -- to a stockbroker, to a doctor -- is sometimes affected by one's control over and possession of "proper English." "Proper English" is not what Tan's mother speaks; she speaks what many would call "broken English." The adjective "broken" as attached to "English" suggests that there is a "fixed" or non-broken way to speak the language. What do you think about that, especially after reflecting on Tan's examination of "Englishes" and their various powers?

Walker and "nativity"

How do you understand Walker's use of the term "native"? He uses the word "native" in the following sentence: "The population of 1790 was almost wholly a native and wholly an acclimated population, and for forty years afterwards immigration remained at so low a rate as to be practically of no account; yet the people of the United States increased in numbers more rapidly than has ever elsewhere been known . . ." (417). In reflecting on the effect of immigration on this "native stock," he later writes, "The appearance of vast numbers of men, foreign in birth and often in language, with a poorer standard of living, with habits repellent to our native people, of an industrial grade suited only to the lowest kind of manual labor, was exactly . . . [the] cause" of a population slump among the "native" population (418). What do you make of Walker's theory? Can you see any evidence that such theories persist today?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Tom Outland

Based on your reading of "Tom Outland's Story," how would you describe Tom? What features define him? What does he value?

Monday, October 31, 2011


Think about the ways in which Crevecouer's "American" does or does not resemble the "average" (whatever that is) American today. What are the key factors that have influenced major changes in this individual's identity, and thus mark the difference? In regard to similarity, what are the factors that have allowed for persistence across centuries of some of the foundational "American" features Crevecoeur highlights?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Resonance across texts

Have a group member post in response to this prompt Monday after class:

How do the arguments in Milk's and Allen's texts resonate with other themes we’ve discussed in the other readings from this section (by Jefferson, Douglass, Anthony, and Friedan)? After having written at least five sentences (but you’re invited to write more) with your group in class on Monday to answer this question, have a group member post your group’s answer here, with all group member names included.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

Hi students. So, the title of this post will resonate with all of you. Some people use this founding national idea as a means of justifying all human behaviors (as in, we can use the land as we will, despite environmental consequences, because humans in America have the"right" to pursue happiness). Given the capaciousness (look it up) of this idea, how do we balance this "right" with the rights of "other" people in our communities (think of women, or gay and lesbian Americans, as our readings have encouraged us to do) and with the "rights" (if they exist) of other nonhuman entities (animals, the air, the earth) with whom we share our lives?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Frederick Douglass

Near the beginning of Douglass's 1852 speech "What, To the Slave, Is the Fourth of July," he tells his audience that "I am glad, fellow-citizens, that your nation is so young." What are some of his reasons for being "glad"? How does he use this idea of being "glad" throughout the remainder of the speech? As he says at the conclusion, he "leaves off where [he] began, with hope," a reminder of his earlier pronouncement of "gladness."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Scholarly sources

From our experiences in class, what do you think the major differences are between "scholarly sources" and non-scholarly sources, or sources collected from sources other than our library's research databases? What is the value of a scholarly source and what is the value of a non-scholarly source? What do you think of the requirement in most college classes that you limit your research to scholarly and academic sources?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Cooper's "The Slaughter of the Pigeons"

Cooper's "The Slaughter of the Pigeons" is excerpted out of a full-length novel, yet it manages to stand alone as an effective denouncement of avaricious human practices towards innocent non-human residents in a community (in this case, the pigeons). How is it that this few-page piece can stand by itself, when you don't even know these characters or their histories? What tactics does Cooper use in this brief episode to tell you a significant amount about these characters' traits and this community's general attitude about animals and about themselves and their rights?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Logical Fallacies! PIck a group's post and identify the fallacies in your response.

Notes on Logical Fallacies
Tyler Cecil, Bryce Carson, Whit la Torra, and Spencer Brown
August 31, 2011
1. That speech was good. A person who made good speeches was Hitler.
2. While Charlie Chaplin was considered a great comedian, we cannot ignore his Hitler mustache.
3. Obviously the pyramids were constructed recently! Hitler said it, so it must be true!
4. If this person makes one more veiled threat, I fear they will not last the week.
5. My opponent believes that Adolf Hitler is an important political figure.
6. Adolf Hitler was a painter before his rise to power. Therefore, I propose that we put all painters in internment camps for our protection.
7. Support me, or support Hitler.

Group: Jeff Mills, AJ Burns, Tracy Sjaardema, Melanie Palmer
1. If we don't write logical fallacies we will fail the class.
2. If we can land on the soon then we should be able to work together as a society.
3. If we all read through assigned definition hand out, we will all be able to write essays with perfection.
4. Want to know how our powers will take over the universe? Try the Dark Side Cookies.
5. Sanity is like a parachute. Just because you lost yours doesn't mean you can borrow mine.
6. Come to the Dark Side; the Light Side hates cookies.
7. So many people like crack it must be amazing.

William Rosenberger, Zack Wallace, Jerric Jaramill and James Hopper
1. "Everyone is switching to Droid phones now a day. Why are you still using that ancient Blackberry?"
2. "He did a really bad job during basketball, so please don't choose him for our baseball team."
3. "Dr. Newmark is obviously to pretty to be an experienced or competent professor"
4. "Because continuous gravitatioinal pull from the moon causes tides to go in and out, we cannot reasonably expect the stocks from Dessert Corporation to remain constant"
5. "Abraham Lincoln is not a good role model because in his earlier years he spent a lot of time in the company of a certain Adolf Hitler (citation needed)"
6. "If you don't vote for Dr. Julianne Newmark for U.S. Senate, then we might have to have a little 'talk' (if you know what I'm saying, *wink wink*)"
7. "If we in-force the death penalty, crime rates will drop."

Tim, Russel, David, and Ashlynne

1. This candidate is not fit to be president because he is married to antiamerican protester.
2. We should not trust this pothead!
3. I am Troy Polamalu, the superbowl athelete, and I use Head & Shoulders.
4. Have you seen the new Ipad, everyone has it, do you?
5. If you do not vote for Obama, you will be labeled a racist.
6. All we have done in this class is write about fallacies, this class is going to be such a breeze.
7. All I need to do is to pass this finial inorder to pass this class.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tannen and "argument culture"

Beyond military metaphors, which Tannen argues drive our "argument culture," what kinds of metaphors might we more usefully employ? What do military metaphors cause? From your perspective, is this a problem?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Welcome to English 112, Section 06!

Hello students! I am excited to meet you next week on our first day of classes! This semester you will read various kinds of written arguments, some of which have had a significant effect on the American social climate and on American political policy over the last two hundred years. We will also find ways to consider arguments across genres -- from poetry to essay to short story to visual images to written reports. We will end the course with a reading from a famous Southwestern American literary text that we will analyze amply in class. Then, you will write a ten-page research paper that will include an original thesis statement of your own; within this paper, you will show your skill at weaving together types of argument from many different academic and public argument genres. On our way through the semester, we will read broadly and you will write various kinds of essays, from two-page responses to five-page formal thesis-driven papers. You will also have the opportunity to use this blog to comment further on our class readings. I will look forward to hearing what you have to say in class and to reading what you write here and in your formal papers. Let's have a great Fall semester!