Reading and Writing for Civic Literacy
The Critical Citizen's Guide to Argumentative Rhetoric
This brief edition of a groundbreaking textbook addresses the need for college students to develop critical reading, writing, and thinking skills for self-defense in the contentious arena of American civic rhetoric. Designed for first-year or more advanced composition and critical thinking courses, it is one-third shorter than the original edition, more affordable for students, and easier for teachers to cover in a semester or quarter. It incorporates up-to-date new readings and analysis of controversies like the growing inequality of wealth in America and the debates in the 2008 presidential campaign, expressed in opposing viewpoints from the political left and right. Exercises help students understand the ideological positions and rhetorical patterns that underlie such opposing views. Widely debated issues of whether objectivity is possible and whether there is a liberal or conservative bias in news and entertainment media, as well as in education itself, are foregrounded as topics for rhetorical analysis.
Table of Contents
Preface for Teachers (and Curious Students) to the Brief Edition Acknowledgments PART I: INTRODUCTION Chapter 1: An Appeal to Students Chapter 2: What Is an Argument? What Is a Good Argument? Chapter 3: Definitions and Criteria of Critical Thinking Chapter 4: Semantics in Rhetoric and Critical Thinking Chapter 5: Writing Argumentative Papers PART II: ATTAINING AN OPEN MIND: OVERCOMING PSYCHOLOGICAL OBSTACLES TO CRITICAL THINKING Chapter 6: From Cocksure Ignorance to Thoughtful Uncertainty: Viewpoint, Bias, and Fairness--Culturally Conditioned Assumptions and Centrisms Chapter 7: Overgeneralization, Stereotyping, and Prejudice Chapter 8: Authoritarianism and Conformity, Rationalization, and Compartmentalization PART III: ELEMENTS OF ARGUMENTATIVE RHETORIC Chapter 9: Some Key Terms in Logic and Argumentation Chapter 10: Logical and Rhetorical Fallacies Chapter 11: Causal Analysis Chapter 12: Uses and Misuses of Emotional Appeal PART IV: THINKING CRITICALLY ABOUT THE RHETORIC OF POLITICS AND MASS MEDIA Chapter 13: Thinking Critically About Political Rhetoric Chapter 14: Thinking Critically About Mass Media Chapter 15: Deception Detection: Varieties of Special Interests and Propaganda PART V: PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER IN A LONG PAPER Chapter 16: A Case Study: Rhetoric and the Wealth Gap Chapter 17: Collecting and Evaluating Opposing Sources: Writing the Research Paper Chapter 18: Documentation and Research Resources Index Credits
"Lazere has given us a thoughtful, beautifully organized, and eminently user-friendly book that enables teachers to [give] their students a way in to some of the most important and contentious public controversies of our time."
--Gerald Graff, Professor of English and Education, University of Illinois at Chicago
"Don Lazere has produced one of the most intelligent, relevant, and important books in composition studies in the last decade. Give this to every student, adult, and citizen who believes that learning, writing, and democracy mutually inform each other."
--Henry A. Giroux, McMaster University
"What a smart book! Here is an intelligent rhetoric text that honestly faces the politics of our times. Writing teachers will benefit from the tools Lazere provides and students will benefit by becoming better writers and more informed readers of their society."
--Ira Shor, Professor of Education, CUNY Graduate Center
"Lazere's [text] is heaven-sent, and will provide a crucial link in the chain of understanding how conflicts are structured and, most important, how they can be rationally addressed-a healthy antidote to the skepticism that has become so pervasive in academic life."
--Alan Hausman, Professor of Philosophy, Hunter College, CUNY
- Download all (ZIP 286KB)
- Glossary of Rhetorical and Critical Thinking Terms
- Sample Student Paper
- Using Research Resources
- Works Cited
Read this article by the author on The Washington Post website: "Why is our political discourse so lousy? A provocative education explanation"