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What's your Problem? (English 2 Southard): Course Theme Introduction

This guide is designed to support Professor Southard's Spring 2020 section of English 2.

Introduction to the Course Theme

Buddist master and scholar Geshe Kelsang Gyatso once said “Without improving our mind there is no way to solve our human problems.” In this quote, Gyatso was speaking about the power of meditation and thoughtfulness to improve our “minds” to effectively solve human problems. While not everyone has the time or the inclination to meditate, we all have the power to improve our minds by being thoughtful about what is going on in the world, as well as our own backyards, to solve problems or at least be better informed about why and how they exist. Part of being informed is researching, analyzing, conversing and writing about differing points of view  regarding contemporaneous issues. This is the mindset for this class.

In WRT II, we will research, analyze, converse and write about 4 distinct contemporary human problems: Gun rights, Climate Change, Technology (Online Communities), and Social Inequality (Race, Gender, Socio-Economic, and Education), to get a better understanding of opposing viewpoints on these issues regarding both their origins and solutions. During the first half of the semester, we will do this by closely reading/analyzing assigned multimodal texts including both scholarly and popular articles that present different points of view. As we do this we will consider the difference between popular and scholarly articles which includes consideration of the Rhetorical Analysis Framework (purpose, audience and context). We will also consider the types of evidence (both primary and secondary) that writers use to support their arguments. We will also practice using these different viewpoints to support our own arguments. During the second half of the semester, you will continue to explore these topics  by picking one of them to be the subject of your research paper.  Using what   you learned in the first half of the semester, you will then draft a research proposal which includes your hypothesis, research scholarly and popular articles using LIU Post Library databases to find evidence to support your hypothesis, draft an annotated bibliography which documents your research findings and explains how you anticipate your research will support your hypothesis, and finally present your argument supported by your research in a paper.


Mary Kate Boyd-Byrnes's picture
Mary Kate Boyd-Byrnes
B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library
720 Northern Boulevard
Brookville, NY 11548