2020 – Fall
The Art of Argument and Polemic
Course Number: JOUR-GA 1182.011
Day & Time: Thursday, 9:45am-1:45pm [In-Person]
Location: 7th floor Library
Instructor: James Traub
How does one enter a cultural debate? How does one construct a stylish and effective opinion piece? How does one shake up received ideas and get the reader to look at something in a new way? This course will examine the art of opinion writing or polemic from Milton’s Satan to Christopher Hitchens. We will read various spectacular & skillful & odious polemics, with close attention to how they work rhetorically. Writing assignments will emphasize building a persuasive and charismatic argument, and honing one’s voice to most effectively build an argument and enter the controversies of the day. We will examine various kinds of authority and how one projects them. This is both a rigorous writing and reading class; both an academic exploration of the uses of rhetoric and a practical class in the skills of persuasion.
CRC Priority / Instructor Approval Required