Preparing for Your Editorial

Finally, what do you think about the monument debate and why?  Your first graded piece of work will be an editorial.  Below is a summary of the notes created in class and articles we have read.  You do not need to do any additional research to write your opinion piece.  You will be completing the paper in stages: planning, paper and revisions.  Due dates for each section are below.

Yesterday we made a list of the reason for removing or leaving the arguments:

Reasons to leave the Monuments Reasons to Remove the Monuments
§  Educational value

§  Honors soldiers/ancestors

§  Aesthetics

§  Historical Relevance (Past & Present)

§  Shows evolution of though (with proper context)

§  Disrespectful

§  Not educationally effective without context

§  Rallying point for white supremacists

§  Empty pedestal also makes a point

§  In the Confederacy’s own words they are for the preservation of slavery

§  Spike in monuments as response to Civil Rights movement

§  Reminders of the Lost Cause

§  No longer reflect contemporary values

§  No parallel in monuments in the north


For Oct 26:

Complete the Planning Sheet portion of this handout


“Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy” Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) April 21, 2016

“Tempers Flare Over Removal of Confederate Statues in New Orleans” Richard Fausset, May 7, 2017 New York Times

Why I Changed My Mind About Confederate Monuments” Kevin M. Levin, Aug 19, 2017 The Atlantic



What Do You Say?

Timeline of Monuments from SPLC —

After watching Mitch Landrieu’s May 23, 2017 speech on the removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans, we looked at the element of pathos in the speech – including word choices, images conjured and call outs to patriotism.  In class this week we will look at the facts around these statues.  Where are they?  How many?  When were they put up?  Who’s idea was it? Get ready you will be making your own argument for or against monument removal after this!

For Oct 19:

  • Read the two reports on the mayor’s speech that you took home: “NOLA Mayor: Civil War Monuments Caused a ‘Great Migration’ Out of the City” and “New Orleans Mayor’s Message on Race”
  • Complete the questions about the two articles found HERE



Jonathon Haidt’s TED Talk The Moral Roots of Liberals and Conservatives .

Example of reciprocity between mountain lions

Wondering about concrete examples and implications?  Of course you were.  Read more about framing HERE



Monuments. Should They Stay or Should They Go?**

From The Atlantic “Why I Changed my Mind About Confederate Monuments”

Yesterday’s discussion was good and I hope you all have a good notion for assessing a writer’s reliability.  In addition to being a thorough discussion, it was long.  So this week will have us viewing the Mitch Landrieu speech then evaluating it’s tone and effectiveness.  And we will read two reviews of the speech also evaluating them for tone and effectiveness.

By Oct 14:

-Read The Case Against Vandalizing the Confederate Monuments by Kevin Levin, The Atlantic, Dec 21, 2011

-Read Why I Changed My Mind About Confederate Monuments by Kevin Levin, The Atlantic, Aug 19, 2017

-Write a summary of “Why I Changed My Mind About Confederate Monuments” using the template.  Under File do a ‘save as’ or ‘copy’.  Put in your own document to cut and paste with abandon.  (Optional: Write a second paragraph your opinion or the I Say part.)

-Read They Say/I Say pages 30-40 (Yes, I know I skipped a section.  We will come back to it)


Tools of Rhetoric video

** Should I Stay or Should I Go 

Hero Today, Gone Tomorrow

Franklin statue tipped over by a loose tent in Boston in 2016. source

When we start a topic we need to consider stakeholders, motivations, meanings and options.  Today we will break it all down for the confederate monument debate.  As we watch Mitch Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans, speech in May of this year, we will look for the rhetorical devices he used.  And we will compare different news outlet summarized his speech.

By Oct 5:


Podcast from BackStory Radio, Contested Landscape



Contemporary American Issues – Welcome!

I’m glad you are here.  The next ten weeks are going to be a great exploration of some contentious current events: confederate monuments, gun control and immigration.  We will examine many of the stakeholders and perspectives around each topic as well as historical context.  Along the way we’ll become more critical readers learning about ethos, logos, pathos, logical fallacies and elements of propaganda.


Here is how the class will work.  Each Friday morning I will post the assignment for the next week’s class. You will be expected to complete the reading/watching/listening task as well as the writing.  Please print a hard copy of your writing and bring it with you to class.  You will need it for discussions and as we move into editing and revising of your assignments.  There will also be times when you will be expected to conduct some research and bring your findings to class.  Stay tuned!

As an added bonus I always find more resources than we need for class. I tuck these down below under procrastination.  Procrastination items do not need to be read or watched though you may find them interesting or entertaining.


  • Read “The Case for a Later Start to the School Day”, Aaron E. Carroll New York Times, Sept 14, 2017 pB3 – ADDED: Please print this article out – we will be highlighting it together in class.
  • List all the reasons given by the author for starting school later. Print/write out and bring with you to class
  • In a paragraph, identify which you think is the most compelling reason and explain why.  Print/write out and bring with you to class.


How To Argue Crash Course (Remember these can be slowed down under the Setting button on the lower right of the youtube screen)

Social Movements

Prohibition Silent Civil Rights March Suffragettes

This week we will examine the elements of a successful social movement and practice reading research articles.  Bring a laptop if you can.

Before Apr 27:


Writing Tips infographics


Health, Socially Defined and Unequally Distributed


The way we view dying and death is, not surprisingly, culturally determined.  Are we open and accepting?  In denial? Staving it off for as long as possible? We will spend the first hour considering death and dying in America through a discussion of the short film Northfound.

Our second hour we will look at mental illness in the United States.  How it is defined and who is affected.

For April 20:


Part 2 of the different high school videos,

One of the first social epidemiology studies and a great read, The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson.  Describes the effort to understand and stop a cholera epidemic in 19th century London.

A prime example of social definition of illness in The Spirit Catches You and Then You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman.  Presents California doctors trying to treat epilepsy in a young Hmong patient.

FOLLOW-UP from class:

Mental health Quiz

TED talk on stigma of mental illness.

Health Powerpoint