argument

What IS An 'Academic' or 'Historical' Argument? (And What Is It NOT?)

Argumentative WritingIn an academic context, argument isn't a bad thing at all. In fact, it's crazy beneficial. It's how science is supposed to work - great minds doing research and writing papers primarily so other great minds can criticize and question everything about them and explain why they're flawed or incomplete. It's our preferred format for difficult legal questions, whether determining the constitutionality of a company policy or trying to figure out if you actually stole that car before or after the body was stuffed in the trunk.

And it's how history and its interpretation(s) get sorted out. At least, that's how it's supposed to work...

Writing With Brownies In A Box

TypingIf you ever want to have real fun, start talking about the 'correct' way to teach writing with any group of teachers. For serious fireworks, try it with AP History folks after you've all had a drink or two. Better you stick with safer, less provocative topics like abortion, religion, or the validity of comic books and superhero movies as cultural touchstones.

The Power of Persuasion (To Prove or To Move?)

Measuring TapeSometimes we have to consciously decide whether we’d rather be right or be effective. Standing our ground on moral absolutes is all well and good – and sometimes the only acceptable choice if we’re to live with ourselves. But are there pathways to positive change that don’t require either the complete submission of our adversaries or sacrifice of our own foundational values?

Pages