1. Uncle Tom's Cabin

Download and read the excerpt from Uncle Tom's Cabin attached below. Come to class ready to discuss the ways in which this excerpt uses the conventions of literature to create specific rhetorical effects.


2. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Due: Wednesday, February 10
Use the link in the title above to visit the etext version of Douglass' Narrative. Please read at least through chapter 1 by Tuesday, then read through chapter 5 by Wednesday. In addition to reading in order to understand Douglass' argument, read with an eye on his rhetorical strategies, specifically the various ways that he builds his credibility and the ways that he seems to specifically respond to common arguments in favor of slavery (even if those arguments are unstated).

3. Douglass Reading (Continued)

Due: Friday, February 12
Sorry for the late posting! If you see this, you should complete one of these two readings before tomorrow's class:
  • Learning to Read: Chapters 6 & 7
  • First Rebellion: Chapter 10 (stop at the end of the episode involving Mr. Covey)

4. Introduction to Contemporary Slavery

Due: Friday, February 18
Next Friday, we will have a forum on the issue of contemporary slavery. You should prepare for this rotating small-group discussion by completing the note-taking and writing activities described below. You have a week to complete this work, so budget your time and do not wait until the last minute.

Visit the following websites and complete the tasks described:
1. Free the Slaves
  • Read the page on Slavery in History
    • Take notes on events that are either novel to you, connect in important ways to your prior historical knowledge, or seem to be misrepresented (bullet points, outline, or freeform writing are acceptable)
    • Take note of the overall organization and labeling of the timeline and comment on its rhetorical effect. You might consider whether the labels seem to be more logical or emotional, whether the succession of labels creates an accurate or false view of "progress," and/or how America's place in this history is implicitly characterized.
  • Read the page on Slavery Today
    • Start a page of notes entitled "Slavery Today" and take brief notes on the information presented. You will be adding to these notes from several other websites, so be sure to label the source of info for each claim/fact.
  • Go to the page of Survivor Stories
    • Choose three stories to read
    • Write a single personal reaction to these three stories, including a reflection on how the stories bring some of the facts presented on the Slavery Today page to life
2. Not For Sale
  • Navigate to "Slavery" and click on What is Slavery. Read this page and add to your notes on Slavery Today.
3. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
  • Browse the website of the US Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. There is an overwhelming amount of information here, but don't feel pressure to read all of it. Follow your curiosity. As you do, you should
    • add to your notes on Slavery Today
    • start a new set of notes on the measures being taken by the US government to prevent human trafficking
4. Google News Search
  • Do a news search for current news stories on slavery. Find at least ten. Take very brief notes on the journalistic basics -- who, what, when, and where. (When it seems appropriate, you may also want to add commentary notes involving your personal reactions or connections you notice to the other reading you've done.)
  • If you have trouble finding appropriate news stories, you can use this open-source map of slavery incidents. Most events that you can click on include a link to a news story.
5. Teaching Human Trafficking
  • Read the article and add any new claims or facts to your notes
  • When you finish, write a brief evaluation of the approach that this school took to teaching slavery. Make reference to the research you've done and the arguments you've made/read on this topic for the mid-term essay and rewrite assignment.
6. Slavery Footprint Survey (Optional)
  • If you're interested and you want to take the time, you can complete this survey to get an estimate of how many slaves it takes to sustain your lifestyle. Be warned -- the results are not for the faint of heart. If you complete the survey, you can describe your results and your reaction to them for extra credit.

5. Fishbowl Preparation

Due: Monday, February 22
We will be having a fishbowl discussion on Tuesday, February 23. In order to prepare for that discussion, we need everyone to contribute to the discussion that I've started on the home page of the wiki: what topic(s) have you found yourself most interested in as you've worked on the "Intro to Contemporary Slavery" assignment? You can be as general or specific as you want to be. You may contribute a new topic to the discussion and/or respond to someone else's topic by narrowing it down, connecting it to another topic, or simply agreeing that you would like to discuss it.

6. Emancipation and its Aftermath

Due: Tuesday, March 1
1. Read the final and preliminary drafts of The Emancipation Proclamation and write a comparative rhetorical analysis of the two forms of this document. You may write a full 2-3 paragraph analysis or you may represent the rhetorical differences in a chart (e.g. t-chart or Venn diagram) followed by a 1-paragraph analysis.
2. Read The Atlanta Compromise by Booker T. Washington and answer the following:
  • What is Washington's central argument? Name at least two examples of figurative language that he uses to illustrate this argument and explain the rhetorical effect of each one.
  • Using your knowledge of history, comment on the reasons why Washington's view of race relations might have been productive or counterproductive (and for whom).
  • Take note of the audience.
3. Read Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others by W.E.B. Du Bois and answer the following:
  • What is Du Bois' objection to Washington's "compromise"? Be sure to identify all of its parts and supporting reasons.
  • What is Du Bois' position on race relations and African American progress? Is this position explicitly or implicitly stated?
  • Having read The Atlanta Compromise, do you think that Du Bois fairly represents Washington's argument, or does he create a straw man version of the compromise to facilitate his objection? Cite specific parts of each text to illustrate your view.
4. Extra Credit: Read the poem Booker T and WEB and analyze how the author uses poetic form to reduce the views of each author to only a few brief phrases.

7. Contemporary Slavery: Small Group Discussions

Due: Thursday, February 25
If you are the reporter for one of the groups from our "lightning round" discussions, you can use the main menu on the right side of your screen to locate the page for your topic. Once you are on the appropriate page, click "edit" and type in a report of your group's discussion and findings. Once these topics are posted, ALL STUDENTS are required to post at least one reaction to a discussion board on the page of a topic for which they did not participate in the discussion.

8. The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Due: Monday, March 7
Use the link in the title above to read Coates' article. Stop at the end of every section and write a sentence or two about it's rhetorical purpose. When you finish, write a brief overview (1-2 paragraphs) of Coates' argument. An overview should progress like a poetry explication, discussing not just what was said, but how and in what order.