Communication and Culture | Argumentation and Public Advocacy
C228 | 14591 | Kathleen McConnell

MW, 1:00 PM-2:15 PM, TE F256

Fulfills COAS A&H Requirement

Professor: Kathleen McConnell
Office: Mottier Hall 252	
Office 	Hours: Tu and F, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM, Main Library Commons
Phone: 855-0844

This is a course designed to introduce students to the practical forms
and functions of public argumentation and advocacy.  Topics to be
emphasized include the differences in form and function of
propositions of fact, value, and policy; how to identify, employ, and
critique different modes of reasoning (including so-called “fallacies
of argumentation”) and the usage of evidence;  the role of advocacy in
public debate (focusing on social change, legal advocacy, and public
policy decision making); and the fundamentals of directed research
using both the library (including government documents and legal
resources) and the world wide web.

The primary goal of the course is to help students to become better
producers and consumers of arguments as they appear in the public
sphere. The course will be conducted in a lecture/discussion format.
Course assignments will include three argumentative papers (4-6 pp. in
length) plus midterm and final examinations.  Papers will emphasize
the ability to employ the skills of argumentation, while exams will
emphasize the ability to analyze and critique the usage of arguments
by others.  Class attendance is required.

Readings include Annette Rottenberg’s Structure of Arguments, 5th
edition.  A variety of additional readings (book articles, speeches,
editorials, advertisements, legal decisions, etc.) will be placed on

For more information, see the course website
( or contact Kathleen
McConnell (