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Our two main papers ask you to do additional research on an area of interest, with each extending a concept and/or theory learned in the first and second half of the semester, respectively. For Paper One, select one of the main theories or key concepts discussed from Classical Rhetoric through class coverage of nonhuman rhetorics. For example, if you are interested in Kenneth Burke, focus on a concept like identification or the pentad. This assignment, like the second paper, tasks you with expanding your knowledge of the theory/ concept selected, and adding to that knowledge, or to the insights offered by the theory/concept, by applying its research findings or focal points to a concrete, socially relevant, (relatively) current example. We can workshop ideas in class. Overall, answer: How has a theory/concept been applied, extended, or reconsidered, and what is beneficial for this line of thinking to public life?
This essay must research at least three outside scholarly readings that define or extend the use of your theory/concept. For instance, to stick with the example of the pentad, you might read Burke’s original discussion in Grammar of Motives and then seek out two scholarly, peer reviewed articles that utilize the pentad. (Your textbook names one classic example, “Hunting and Heritage on Trial;” see p. 189); alternatively, you could draw from three scholarly applications of pentad and rely on the textbook to offer an overview of the concept. If you instead focus on Burke and identification, just make sure that you still find three outside sources, or three sources not assigned for class. In that scenario, your paper might have five citations: Borchers and Hundley; Hess; and the three sources you researched and engaged.
Essays should be 1500–2000 words in the body of the essay, which will end up being about 5–6 pages. Also, and not a part of the word count, include a reference or works cited page at the end. Use proper in-text citations (quotations, author names, page numbers, etc.), and format using Times New Roman, 12-point font, double-spaced, one-inch margins. Cover the following:
An introduction that explains the value of your focus and outlines the rest of the essay;
A summary of the key components of your theory or features of your concept (you may draw from class readings or your researched sources);
A summary of your researched articles, with a clear explanation as to how, in concrete terms, these sources extend (and/or challenge) understandings of your theory/concept;
A summary of your applied example, with a detailed breakdown of how the evolution of the theory/concept helps one make sense of the example (or perhaps hinders understanding); and
A conclusion that summarizes the main points and offers the reader suggestions for how these insights might be further applied, or what additional research might offer our understandings of rhetoric and public life.
You may draw upon primary sources (e.g., Scott’s 1967 article on rhetoric as epistemic) and/or scholarly applications (e.g., finding articles that have extended and contested Scott’s arguments). Make sure any of these sources are in the rhetoric discipline, or written by rhetorical scholars. It will also serve you best to find articles that discuss that theory/concept in-depth. The depth of your three sources will aid your ability to write a 5–6-page paper and, as such, depth (and potential difficulty) should be approached as an asset. Feel free to check in with Dr. Cozen for early feedback regarding the quality and usefulness of sources you are finding.
On Gathering Sources: Going to Communication & Mass Media Complete (see communication database:, and searching the keywords “[theory or concept]” and “rhetoric,” is a good start for articles. (Use the filter for “peer reviewed” to ensure you receive academic or scholarly articles.) It may also help you to specify the name of the original theorist (e.g., Burke and terministic screens). As you search for sources, see what you find and consider how you can further narrow or expand your focus. You will be able to find many sources through Fresno State portals: either in the library or through library catalogues. You do not need to purchase any materials. If an article or book is not housed here, you can order them through interlibrary loan. Start this process early enough so that the orders come in on time.

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