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ERIC Number: ED409568
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Pages: 11
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Writing and Social Justice: Analyzing Representations of Homelessness in Rhetoric and Composition Courses.
Allen, John
Although the topic of homelessness receives a great deal of attention in journalism and throughout popular culture, the discourse of homelessness remains largely unexamined and unquestioned. This discourse creates stereotypes and perpetuates homelessness by portraying it as an inevitability rather than a contingency. Rhetoric and composition courses can be used to analyze the construction and effect of texts about homelessness. In a course taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, students were asked to do rhetorical analyses of essays from a variety of perspectives to see the range of options and to test the validity of certain positions. Readings included historical documents, sociological texts describing the current situation, articles by journalists in national publications, texts based on moral or religious prescriptions, and literary texts dealing with homelessness. Works written by homeless or formerly homeless people were also assigned. Students were also responsible for choosing reading or viewing material for certain class meetings. Students applied rhetorical analysis to the texts, identifying and evaluating the 3 Aristotelian appeals (logos, pathos, ethos), the use of claims and evidence, logical fallacies, and the author's purpose. By analyzing how this discourse represents homelessness and homeless people, students can begin to see how these texts influence individual prejudices, stereotypes, beliefs, and, in turn, laws and public policies regarding the homeless. (CR)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A