Creating America: Reading and Writing Arguments (4th Edition)

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9780131443860: Creating America: Reading and Writing Arguments (4th Edition)

Thematic argument reader with rhetoric (writing guide) on arguments presents selections and images that depict the political and social changes in America from the Revolutionary War to the twenty-first century. Its argumentative focus will teach readers how to persuade others through written words and visual ideas. High Interest topics including 27 new essays, 4 films, and 10 advertisements/pieces of art; information on visual arguments and online research; an in-depth examination of one country's culture within a range of cultures over time. For persuasive writers.

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CREATING AMERICA, FOURTH EDITION, presents readings and JOYCE MOSER & images that depict the political and social changes in America from the Revolutionary War to the twenty-first century. Its argumentative focus will teach you how to persuade others through written words and visual ideas.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

We developed the fourth edition of Creating America to provide a book that focuses on argumentation and persuasion in the context of American history and tradition: a book that brings together materials about issues that have always concerned Americans and that Americans continue to revisit and reinterpret. This edition maintains the focus of the previous three editions on argumentation in context. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the structure of the book, we will review it and follow with the most significant additions and changes. Part I, Contexts for Reading and Writing Arguments, is composed of four separate chapters. Chapter One, "Arguments in American Cultures," is an overview of the historical scope, design, and intent of the book.

Chapter Two, "The Art and Craft of Persuasion," is a three-part assessment and analysis of distinct persuasive components. The first part of the chapter, "Persuasion and Audience," provides the rhetorical underpinning for argumentation, with explanations-and examples of the relationship between rhetoric and audience, the purpose and effect of Aristotelian appeals, and common uses and abuses of logic. The second section in this chapter, "Persuasion in Diverse Genres," discusses specific genres included in the text—essays, legal cases, fiction, poetry, film, advertisements, speeches, and so on—and illustrates the persuasive elements they share as well as those advantages that are unique to each of them. The final part of the chapter, "Elements of Persuasion," concentrates on those components that all writers use to some degree, such as assertions, examples, assumptions, definitions, and refutations, and that constitute the practical continuum of those underlying rhetorical assumptions discussed in the first part of the chapter. Chapter Two also contains student essays as illustrations: an analysis of visual persuasion in a famous Vietnam War photograph, an analysis of refutation in the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, and an analysis of an advertisement.

Chapters Three and Four are devoted to different but related aspects of essay writing. Chapter Three, "Writing Essays," moves students through the whole writing process, from strategies for prewriting to developing a thesis, organizing an essay, and shaping an argument. In order to concretize these suggestions, we have also included, under the sections which discuss expository, analytical, and argumentative writing, examples of each kind of essay, followed by discussion of their rhetorical and developmental strategies. The expository essay, from the 1920s, is a paean to New York energy by a Korean immigrant—"A Korean Discovers New York." The analytical essay is a student's deconstruction of a well-known Vietnam antiwar poster which plays off the very famous James Montgomery Flagg World War I poster of Uncle Sam. And in the argumentative essay, a philosopher makes the case for "Affirmative Action in Context."

Chapter Four, "Research," is about integrating research into writing. Building on Chapter Three, it guides the student through all the steps of the research process: approaching a topic and gathering information (including online information); strategies for Internet research, search engines, ways of evaluating Web-based information, and sample Web sites; detailed discussions and samples of library sources; and sections on drafting, revision, and documentation.

The revisions of Part I include the following:

  • an alternative rhetorical table of contents for instructors who want to assign particular modes of discourse or expression, or varied strategies of development;
  • new photographs and images to illustrate Aristotelian appeals;
  • an expanded section on visual rhetoric, including revised sections on paintings and posters;
  • enlarged sections on photography and advertisements;
  • a new student essay analyzing a contemporary fashion ad;
  • a new section on film techniques and vocabulary to enable students to analyze the persuasive nature of our most pervasive visual idiom;
  • new Web sites devoted to visual persuasion;
  • a revised section on plagiarism; and
  • an expanded section on Internet and Web sources, including examples of Web-site sources that offer guidelines for MLA and APA style, and Web sites helpful to student writers.

Teachers integrating the rhetorical material with readings, as well as teachers wishing to use the readings alone and to teach with a different model of argument, such as the Toulmin model, will find a rich range of materials in Part II, "Argument in the American Tradition."

Part II offers textual and visual arguments for analysis and discussion. Chapter 5, "Identities," includes a range of materials from early discussions of what is uniquely American to contemporary struggles of building community yet maintaining cultural identity. Chapter 6, "American Dreams," includes selections on both political and material dreams and success. Chapter 7, "Images of Gender and Family," offers different perspectives on what makes a family and what constitutes the particular roles and rights of men, women, and children. Chapter 8, "Work and Play," looks at the business of Americabusiness; and at the business of play, or contemporary American sports. Chapter 9, "Justice and Civil Liberties," brings together core readings and images of American freedoms and the struggles that precede and accompany them. Chapter 10, "War and the Enemy," offers visual and textual arguments about how we idealize our friends and demonize our enemies. Chapter 11, "Frontiers," analyzes both the idea and the reality of the frontier and the West.

Each chapter includes an introduction to the core theme or issue. Selections follow, with headnotes for context and background information; journal prompts to guide reflective writing; and questions for discussion and writing, with a focus on analysis and argumentation. In each chapter we include a recommended film that should be available as a video or DVD rental in most colleges or communities. Most chapters also include at least one student essay, generally written in response to a chapter writing suggestion; inclusion of these essays is based on the premise that student Writing is an appropriate focus for analysis and discussion.

Part II, Argument in the American Tradition, includes the following revisions and additions:

  • Chapter 5, "Identities," incorporates new selections on American patriotic images, diversity, and hegemony, as well as a new film selection, to give a broader perspective about American identity in the world and to provide a context for discussion.
  • Chapter 6, "American Dreams," has updated articles and illustrations on the American search for happiness, a contemporary look back at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, "I Have a Dream" speech, the American search for community, and a new film selection.
  • Chapter 7, "Images of Gender and Family," incorporates recent articles that provide a historical context on women and gender from both dominant and nondominant cultures and a recent student essay on marginalized groups.
  • Chapter 8, "Work and Play," includes new illustrations and new articles on office work, minimum wage work, the work of a high school basketball coach, and the future of Title IX.
  • Chapter 9, "Justice and Civil Liberties," includes a new film selection and articles on technological conflicts with constitutional rights, especially with regard to the Internet.
  • Chapter 10, "War and the Enemy," returns to its focus on war and conflict, and responds to the events of 9/11 and the war on terrorism; it also has a new film selection.
  • Chapter 11, "Frontiers," includes a new painting, an excerpt from Lewis and Clark, nature writing by Edward Abbey, and an article on the development of gambling casinos on American Indian lands.

Creating America, fourth edition, is designed for use in a first-year course in composition, particularly one emphasizing argumentative writing. The underlying pedagogy is based on an Aristotelian model, but it is informed by the theories of Kenneth Burke, Carl Rogers, and feminist critics. Our premise is that people use, to quote Aristotle, "all of the available means of persuasion" to argue a point; therefore, we do not treat argument and persuasion separately. Rather, we focus on the appeals to ethos, pathos, and logos, introducing induction and deduction under logos as the basic principles by which to evaluate and through which to develop arguments. The selections represent a range of arguments, from rather combative debate to more dialogic, narrative explorations of difficult questions and complex issues.

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