Professional and Public Writing: A Rhetoric and Reader for Advanced Composition

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9780131838857: Professional and Public Writing: A Rhetoric and Reader for Advanced Composition

This book introduces readers and writers to the techniques of discourse analysis, genre theory, and primary (including ethnographic) and secondary research. It also engages learners in extensive practice and a sequence of increasingly complex and comprehensive “Writer's Profiles,” ending with a researched literature review and argument. Two casebooks offer illustrative and thematically-linked readings from a wide variety of public and professional sources. The bonk contains a broad-based sampling of academic writing, and professional and public genres—journal essays, fact sheets, newsletters, Web sites, and proposals. For individuals taking stock of their acquired personal skills and those required of professionals in the writing careers to which they aspire.

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From the Back Cover:

Professional and Public Writing: A Rhetoric and Reader for Advanced Composition offers you the rhetorical knowledge and research practices needed to write successfully for any discourse community within which you might find yourself—as students, professionals, and citizens.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

College students are projected to make several career changes within their working lifetimes. These transitions and the challenges of their complex personal and public lives will require informed flexibility. Professional and Public Writing: A Rhetoric and Reader for Advanced Composition is designed to guide students through the writing required of them as students, professionals, and citizens. Its two central goals are:

  • To help advanced students become confident, refined, and effective writers through an active critique of their undergraduate writing practices and of the writing requirements of their academic majors.
  • To prepare students for the work required of professional and public writers in their varied discourse communities, each of which operates from distinct cognitive assumptions and within specific rhetorical contexts.

Two core strategies are used to achieve these goals:

  • Review of and in-depth engagement with the rhetorical principles introduced in the students' earlier composition courses
  • Introduction to and application of the principles and techniques of discourse analysis necessary for success in academic, professional, and public writing

Instructor Expertise

Because few English teachers are fully familiar with the many styles and genres required of student writers in their various majors, let alone the full range of demands made on all professional and public writers, Professional and Public Writing depends primarily on instructor expertise in teaching the fundamental rhetorical and research skills that enable any writer to enter a discourse community and identify its cognitive assumptions (values, interests, etc.) and rhetorical features (genres, style, design, etc.). The book provides guidelines and extensive materials for meeting these instructional goals.

Student Readiness

Although students are introduced to key concepts in freshman writing courses, they come to Advanced Composition actively pursuing a major and consciously moving into their professional and civic lives. This timing provides them with significant motivation and interest in refining their current academic skills and understanding the value of applying these skills to real-life situations. Professional and Public Writing is grounded in the assumption that these students can be taught the advanced rhetorical knowledge and research practices needed to write successfully for any discourse community within which they might find themselves. This same proficiency is of immediate use in completing the writing required by their advanced college courses.

Writing Assignments

The text is structured around extensive "Writing Activities" and sequenced assignments that meet the needs of students from a range of disciplines and with diverse learning styles and interests. As part of the process, students are asked to keep a "Writer's Notebook" and to engage in collaboration, peer review, and both primary and secondary research. Formal assignments include three increasingly complex and comprehensive "Writer's Profiles," a critical discourse analysis of a student-selected professional essay, and an argument based on a researched literature review. Each chapter also contains genre- and theme-based "Writer's Workshops" that provide additional writing opportunities.

Genre Modeling

Samples of academic writing from a range of disciplines are used throughout the text for purposes of illustration and practice. In addition, two casebook chapters provide students the opportunity to read and analyze thematically linked readings:

  • Professional Writing: "Privacy in the Information Age" and "Weight, Body Image, and Identity"
  • Public Writing: "Targeting Discrimination" and "Responding to Homelessness"

The readings represent genres employed by public and professional writers from diverse discourse communities—for example, a proposal by a grassroots community organization, a case study by a sociologist, fact sheets prepared by the government for educators, a Web site for homeless advocates, a position paper by a professional nursing organization, a literary essay published in an interdisciplinary humanities journal, and a researched journal article written for a law journal. Extensive reading apparatus prompts students to apply the concepts of discourse and genre analysis introduced in the opening chapters.

Additional Features

  • Frequent activities that encourage students to explore the correlation between their personal skills and those required of professionals in the careers to which they aspire
  • Illustrations and readings from Across the Curriculum, including illustrative "Writers on Writing" selections in Chapters 1-3
  • An opportunity for students without a major to explore possible careers through research and writing
  • An appendix on basic Web use and site construction that offers students and instructors options for research and publishing
  • The nuts and bolts of both print and electronic research from project start to finish, including the skills necessary to evaluate and select appropriate sources
  • Two complete sample student research projects illustrating MLA and APA styles and varied structures for argument
  • Suggestions for formal oral presentations
  • An appendix that describes the basic procedures and forms for citing and documenting sources according to MLA, APA, CMS, and CSE styles

Although Professional and Public Writing is indebted to research in the areas of advanced composition, writing across the curriculum, ethnography, genre theory, discourse community analysis, and multiple literacies, chapters are written in a clear and engaging tone, introducing appropriate jargon only when it supports more conscious understanding of a practice or concept.

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